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Biotechnol Adv. 2009 Jul-Aug;27(4):521-39. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2009.04.009. Epub 2009 Apr 22.

Biotechnological and industrial significance of cyanobacterial secondary metabolites.

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1
Laboratory of Photobiology and Molecular Microbiology, Centre of Advanced Study in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-221005, India.

Abstract

Cyanobacteria are considered to be a rich source of novel metabolites of a great importance from a biotechnological and industrial point of view. Some cyanobacterial secondary metabolites (CSMs), exhibit toxic effects on living organisms. A diverse range of these cyanotoxins may have ecological roles as allelochemicals, and could be employed for the commercial development of compounds with applications such as algaecides, herbicides and insecticides. Recently, cyanobacteria have become an attractive source of innovative classes of pharmacologically active compounds showing interesting and exciting biological activities ranging from antibiotics, immunosuppressant, and anticancer, antiviral, antiinflammatory to proteinase-inhibiting agents. A different but not less interesting property of these microorganisms is their capacity of overcoming the toxicity of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) by means of UV-absorbing/screening compounds, such as mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) and scytonemin. These last two compounds are true 'multipurpose' secondary metabolites and considered to be natural photoprotectants. In this sense, they may be biotechnologically exploited by the cosmetic industry. Overall CSMs are striking targets in biotechnology and biomedical research, because of their potential applications in agriculture, industry, and especially in pharmaceuticals.

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