Difference between Cyanobacteria and Bacteria

Cyanobacteria and bacteria are both prokaryotic single celled microorganisms, but cyanobacteria are a specific group known as blue-green algae. The primary difference is that cyanobacteria can perform photosynthesis due to their chlorophyll-containing cells, while typical bacteria cannot. This ability allows cyanobacteria to produce oxygen and is responsible for their characteristic blue-green colour. This article discusses the similarities and difference between Cyanobacteria and Bacteria.

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Difference between Cyanobacteria and Bacteria

PhotosynthesisCapable of oxygenic photosynthesis, producing oxygen as a byproduct.May or may not be photosynthetic; if photosynthetic, they use different mechanisms than cyanobacteria.
PigmentsContain chlorophyll-a as the primary photosynthetic pigment, along with accessory pigments.May contain various pigments depending on their metabolic capabilities and environmental adaptations.
Oxygen ProductionOxygenic photosynthesis produces oxygen gas as a byproduct.Most bacteria do not produce oxygen as a result of their metabolic processes.
HabitatFound in a variety of habitats, including freshwater, marine environments, and terrestrial ecosystems.Ubiquitous and found in almost all habitats, including extreme environments.
Cell ArrangementMay form colonies or filamentous structures.Can exist as single cells, chains, or clusters.
Nitrogen FixationSome cyanobacteria can fix atmospheric nitrogen, converting it into a usable form for plants.Some bacteria, including certain species of Rhizobium and Clostridium, are known for nitrogen fixation.
ReproductionReproduce primarily through binary fission or fragmentation.Reproduction occurs through various mechanisms including binary fission, budding, and sporulation.
Cell Wall CompositionHave cell walls made of peptidoglycan and unique lipopolysaccharides.Cell walls can vary widely in composition, including peptidoglycan, lipopolysaccharides, or no cell wall at all.
Glycogen StorageMay store energy in the form of glycogen.Bacteria may store energy in various forms such as glycogen or lipid droplets.
HeterocystsSome cyanobacteria have specialized cells called heterocysts for nitrogen fixation.Heterocysts are absent in bacteria
Endospore productionCyanobacteria does not produce endosporesBacteria may have specialized cells like endospores for survival under adverse conditions.
Oxygen SensitivityGenerally, not sensitive to oxygen due to their oxygenic photosynthesis.Many bacteria are sensitive to oxygen and can be categorized as aerobic, anaerobic, or facultative anaerobic.
Antibiotic ProductionSome cyanobacteria produce natural compounds with antibiotic properties.Some bacteria are known for producing antibiotics with medical and industrial applications.
Role in EcosystemsImportant primary producers in aquatic ecosystems; contribute to oxygen production and nutrient cycling.Play diverse ecological roles including decomposition, symbiosis, and pathogenesis.
ExtremophilesSome cyanobacteria can tolerate extreme conditions, including high salinity and extreme temperatures.Many bacterial species are extremophiles, adapted to survive in extreme environments.

Similarities between Cyanobacteria and Bacteria

Ø  Prokaryotic: Both groups are prokaryotes, meaning their genetic material is not enclosed within a nucleus.

Ø  Cellular Structure: Cyanobacteria and bacteria are single-celled microorganisms with a simple cellular structure lacking a membrane-bound nucleus.

Ø  Cell wall: Both possess cell wall made of peptidoglycan.

Ø  Reproduction: Both cyanobacteria and bacteria reproduce through binary fission, dividing into two identical daughter cells.

Ø  Sexual reproduction: Sexual reproduction is completely absent in both groups

Ø  Plasmids: Both groups usually possess extra nuclear genetic material (plasmids).

Ø  Metabolism: Both obtain energy through various metabolic processes, including fermentation and respiration, depending on the specific type.

Ø  Habitats: Both can thrive in diverse environments, including soil, water, and extreme conditions like hot springs.

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Difference between Cyanobacteria and Bacteria

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