• antioxidant enzymes;
  • blue-green algae;
  • esterase;
  • growth;
  • light;
  • pigments;
  • protease;
  • temperature tolerance


The present study describes a strain of Gloeocapsa sp. designated as Gacheva 2007/R-06/1, originally isolated from a geothermal flow located in Rupite, Bulgaria. To evaluate whether this cyanobacterium is locally adapted to hot environment or has the ability to tolerate lower temperatures, its growth, biochemical composition, enzyme isoforms and activity of the main antioxidant enzymes and proteases were characterized under various temperatures and two irradiance levels. The strain was able to grow over the whole temperature range (15–40°C) under two different photon fluence densities – 132 μmol photons m−2 s−1 (unilateral, low light, LL) and 2 × 132 μmol photons m−2 s−1 (bilateral, high light, HL). The best growth occurred at either 34°C and LL or at 36°C and HL, but significant growth inhibition was noted at 15°C and 40°C. Low temperature treatment (15°C) resulted in higher levels of total protein and an increased activity of manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) and glutathione reductase, as compared to optimum growth temperatures. After simultaneous exposure to 15°C and HL, increases in lipid content and activity of iron superoxide dismutase and catalase (CAT) were also observed. Cultivation of cells at 40°C enhanced MnSOD, CAT and peroxidase activities, regardless of irradiance level. Increased total protein content and protease activity at 40°C was only associated with the HL treatment. Overall, these results indicate that Gloeocapsa sp. strain Gacheva 2007/R-06/1 used different strategies to enable cells to efficiently acclimate and withstand adverse low or high temperatures. This strain obviously tolerates a wide range of temperatures below its natural habitat temperature, and does not seem to be locally adapted to its original thermal regime. It behaved as a thermotolerant rather than a thermophilic cyanobacterium, which suggests its wider distribution in nature.