Konopka, Allan E. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington.
Last reviewed:March 2021
- General characteristics
- Form and structure
- Specialized cells
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A large and heterogeneous group of photosynthetic microorganisms, formerly referred to as blue-green algae. Cyanobacteria (see illustration) are microscopic bacteria capable of photosynthesis. Originally and inaccurately termed blue-green algae, cyanobacteria had been classified with the algae because their mechanism of photosynthesis is similar to that of algal and plant chloroplasts (cell plastids). However, the cells of cyanobacteria are prokaryotic, whereas the cells of algae and plants are eukaryotic. Thus, the name cyanobacteria emphasizes the similarity in cell structure to other prokaryotic bacteria. See also: Algae; Bacteria; Cell plastids; Cyanophyceae; Prokaryote
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