Culture medium extracts obtained from 115 culture media of 35 different microalgae species were screened for the presence of algicidal compounds, in particular for compounds which are cytotoxic to Arthrospira (Spirulina) laxissima. In agar plate diffusion tests and in a test system combining thin layer chromatography (TLC) with the use of an aqueous suspension of living A. laxissima cells as spray reagent, 14 microalgae species were found with cytotoxic activity of different intensity to A. laxissima. In a so-called TLC plate diffusion test, using A. laxissima and other microalgae as test organisms, the culture medium extracts of Nodularia harveyana and Nostoc insulare possessed the highest strength and range of algicidal activity. The algicidal compound in the culture medium extracts of Nodularia harveyana was shown to be norharmane (9H-pyrido(3,4-b)indole), a known indole alkaloid. The main algicidal compound in culture medium extracts of Nostoc insulare was identified as 4,4'-dihydroxybiphenyl. The possible applicability of both compounds as therapeutics or as useful agents for removing cyanobacterial water blooms or for developing new antifouling systems is discussed.
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