Development of the polysaccharidic matrix in biocrusts induced by a cyanobacterium inoculated in sand microcosms

Gianmarco Mugnai, Federico Rossi, Vincent John Martin Noah Linus Felde, Claudia Colesie, Burkhard Büdel, Stephan Peth, Aaron Kaplan, Roberto De Philippis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soil inoculation with cyanobacteria (cyanobacterization) is a biotechnological method widely studied to improve soil quality and productivity. During their growth on soil, cyanobacteria excrete exopolysaccharides (EPSs) which glue trichomes to soil particles, in a three-dimensional extracellular polymeric matrix. EPS productivity is an important screening parameter to select proficient inoculants and is affected by growth conditions and abiotic stresses. In this study, we evaluated the capability of the cyanobacterium Schizothrix cf. delicatissima AMPL0116 to form biocrusts when inoculated in sand microcosms under stressing conditions, and the characteristics of the synthesized polymeric matrix. In parallel, we evaluated the characteristics of exopolysaccharidic exudates of the strain when grown in liquid culture, under optimal growth setting. Our results pointed out at significant differences of the exopolymers produced in the two conditions in terms of monosaccharidic composition and molecular weight distribution, and proved the capability of S. cf. delicatissima AMPL0116 to form stable bioaggregates on sandy soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-40
Number of pages14
JournalBiology and Fertility of Soils
Issue number1
Early online date1 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Biocrusts
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Cyanobacterization
  • EPSs
  • Extracellular polymeric matrix
  • Microcosm inoculation

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