Scytonema hofmanni, a filamentous freshwater cyanobacterium (blue-green alga), produces secondary metabolites which inhibit the growth of other cyanobacteria and green algae. A rapid, qualitative assay for this inhibition has been developed with Synechococcus as the test organism. This assay procedure has led to the isolation and characterization of an antibiotic (named cyanobacterin) from Scytonema. The antibiotic has a molecular weight of 430 and an empirical formula of C23H23O6Cl and contains a gamma-lactone and a chlorinated aromatic nucleus. It inhibits the growth of various algae but has limited effect on nonphotosynthetic bacteria or protozoans and thus may have potential use as a specific algicide.