The cellular fatty acid content of 22 cyanobacterial strains belonging to the genera Anabaena, Aphanizomenon, Calothrix, Cylindrospermum, Nostoc, Microcystis and Planktothrix were analysed. The identities of the major peaks were confirmed by MS. Correspondence analysis of the data revealed three distinct groups formed by the Microcystis strains, the Nostoc/Planktothrix strains and the Anabaena/Aphanizomenon/Cylindrospermum strains. The Calothrix strain did not cluster with the other heterocystous cyanobacteria, supporting its morphological classification separate from the Nostocaceae family. The presence of large amounts of the fatty acids 18:30omega6,9,12c and 18:0 iso distinguished the Microcystis strains from the other cyanobacteria studied. The high content of 16:1omega7c grouped the Nostoc strains with the Planktothrix strains. A free-living strain of Nostoc contained 16:1omegao5c and 16: 1omega7c (about 1: 1), separating it from the symbiotic Nostoc strain and the Planktothrix strains. the strains of Anabaena, Aphanizomenon and Cylindrospermum grouped tightly and were characterized by the presence of 16:1omega9c and 16:0 anteiso fatty acids. Correspondence analysis of Anabaena, Aphanizomenon and Cylindrospermum showed that all hepatotoxic Anabaena strains grouped together, whereas the non-toxic and neurotoxic Anabaena strains grouped with the non-toxic Aphanizomenon strains.


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