Cyanobacteria-from the oceans to the potential biotechnological and biomedical applications

Shaden A. M. Khalifa*, Eslam S. Shedid, Essa M. Saied, Amir Reza Jassbi, Fatemeh H. Jamebozorgi, Mostafa E. Rateb, Ming Du, Mohamed M. Abdel-Daim, Guo-Yin Kai, Montaser A. M. Al-Hammady, Jianbo Xiao, Zhiming Guo, Hesham R. El-Seedi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic prokaryotic organisms which represent a significant source of novel, bioactive, secondary metabolites, and they are also considered an abundant source of bioactive compounds/drugs, such as dolastatin, cryptophycin 1, curacin toyocamycin, phytoalexin, cyanovirin-N and phycocyanin. Some of these compounds have displayed promising results in successful Phase I, II, III and IV clinical trials. Additionally, the cyanobacterial compounds applied to medical research have demonstrated an exciting future with great potential to be developed into new medicines. Most of these compounds have exhibited strong pharmacological activities, including neurotoxicity, cytotoxicity and antiviral activity against HCMV, HSV-1, HHV-6 and HIV-1, so these metabolites could be promising candidates for COVID-19 treatment. Therefore, the effective large-scale production of natural marine products through synthesis is important for resolving the existing issues associated with chemical isolation, including small yields, and may be necessary to better investigate their biological activities. Herein, we highlight the total synthesized and stereochemical determinations of the cyanobacterial bioactive compounds. Furthermore, this review primarily focuses on the biotechnological applications of cyanobacteria, including applications as cosmetics, food supplements, and the nanobiotechnological applications of cyanobacterial bioactive compounds in potential medicinal applications for various human diseases are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number241
Number of pages35
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2021


  • cyanobacteria
  • clinical trials
  • antioxidant
  • antiviral
  • COVID-19
  • dietary supplements
  • biotechnological applications
  • total synthesis


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