ABSTRACT Cyanobacteria possess metallic ion interaction properties that should be explored with the aim of recovering arsenic (As) contaminated areas. Contamination of As is an issue of worldwide concern due to the risk of human chronic intoxication and negative environmental health effects. In this study the potential decontamination of As(III) and As(V) using cyanobacteria cultures was assessed. Microcystis novacekii (Komárek-Compere, 1974) showed normal growth in concentrations of As(V) similar to those found in natural environments contaminated with As, demonstrating its resistance to As(V). Growth rates gradually decreased upon exposure to high As(V) concentrations from 600 to 5630 mg.L-1 while As(III) affected growth from 14.7 - 85.7 mg.L-1. The As(III) EC50 value (41.0 mg.L-1) was 140-fold lower possibly due to differences in As(III) and As(V) absorption pathways. Upon exposure to 14.7 mg.L-1 As(III), 21.2% of As was removed from culture medium. The absorption capacity (12000 mg.kg-1) remained constant with increasing As(III) concentrations in a dose independent effect. The potential of M. novacekii for As decontamination was demonstrated in this study. This microorganism is recommended in As bioremoval studies due to its autotrophic-mixotrophic growth, low nutritional requirements and high As(III) absorption capacity.