Combating Algae Blooms

Analyzing the Viability of Cecropin A for Anti-Bloom Applications


  • Ethan Talley Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts
  • Whitney Holden Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts



Biology, Microbiology, Harmful algae blooms, HABs, Cyanobacteria, Microcystis aeruginosa, Cecropin A, E. coli


Microcystis aeruginosa is a common freshwater cyanobacterium that can form toxic algal blooms that harm other species and the environment. This project studied the effects of the antimicrobial peptide Cecropin A on the growth of M. aeruginosa to assess Cecropin A’s effectiveness as a tool to combat algal blooms and limit their environmental impacts. In this study, different concentrations of Cecropin A were tested on M. aeruginosa, the growth of which was then measured using a plate count. Each concentration of Cecropin A tested resulted in a significant decrease in M. aeruginosa growth compared to the control group, indicating the effectiveness of this peptide at inhibiting M. aeruginosa. Because Cecropin A is a peptide, bacteria can be genetically engineered to produce it for anti-algal applications. This study also analyzed the effects of Cecropin A on the non-pathogenic E. coli K12 in order to study development of antibiotic resistance in this bacterium and determine its feasibility for anti-algal applications such as producing or distributing Cecropin A. The effects of Cecropin A were tested on successive generations to determine if this strain of bacterium can build up a resistance to Cecropin A that would make it a suitable candidate to produce large quantities of this peptide. The results over three 24-hour periods of exposure to Cecropin A seem to indicate a development of resistance to Cecropin A by E. coli K12, suggesting that this bacterium may be suitable for production and/or distribution of Cecropin A for anti-bloom control efforts.


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Author Biographies

Ethan Talley, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts

Ethan Talley is an alumnus of the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts. He is currently attending the University of Arkansas and majoring in biology.

Whitney Holden, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts

Whitney M. Holden, Ph.D. is a Life Science Specialist at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts. She brings her research expertise to the classroom where she teaches classes in biology and infectious disease while mentoring students in individual Capstone research projects each year.

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How to Cite

Talley, E., & Holden, W. (2021). Combating Algae Blooms: Analyzing the Viability of Cecropin A for Anti-Bloom Applications. Journal of Student Research, 10(2).



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