Characterization of Cyanobacteria Isolated From Biofilms on Stone Monuments at Santiniketan, India

Biofouling. 2013;29(5):525-36. doi: 10.1080/08927014.2013.794224. Epub 2013 May 16.


Cyanobacterial biofilms occurring on the exterior of three stone monuments at Santiniketan, India were analyzed. Species of Scytonema and Tolypothrix were the major components of these biofilms. Identification was obtained by morphometric procedures and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Biofilms cultured for prolonged periods revealed the presence of several other cyanobacteria belonging to 14 different genera. Cyanobacteria on stone in the tropical environment of India formed a distinct cluster that was quite different from that of cyanobacteria reported for a similar substratum in temperate regions. Absorption spectra of the organisms from Santiniketan showed a high quantity of scytonemin, mycosporine-like amino acids, and carotenoids. All of the organisms survived in a desiccated state and rapidly revived after wetting. The organisms were heterocystous and nitrogenase activity was reactivated within 24 h of wetting by which time heterocysts in their filaments had also appeared.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms
  • Biofouling*
  • Cyanobacteria / classification*
  • Cyanobacteria / genetics
  • Cyanobacteria / physiology
  • India
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / chemistry
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S