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Private Collections

Private Collections:Private Collection

The NCMA holds private collections of algae and bacteria for off-site redundant storage, risk management plans, and/or curation of your company’s valuable biological strains. Algal strains will be kept perpetually cultured in liquid medium in the extensive pre-existing conditions of the NCMA and/or cryopreserved, which is the preferred option when possible, depending on depositors' preferences.  All private collections are completely confidential and made available only to the depositor, unless specified in writing that a third party should be allowed access to a strain(s).   Private strains are not displayed on our public website.  Secure login to a personal ‘My Accounts’ page is provided and contains information about your private collection strains, including how to order subcultures of your strains, through our website.  Depositor subscriptions also can be viewed on the ‘My Account’ page by clicking the ‘My Subscription’ link on the sidebar.  Annual fees are paid directly through the website.



Deposit your Private Collection:

Prior to shipping, those wishing to deposit a private strain must submit a private collection form for each strain to be shipped and become familiar with and sign and return our Terms and Conditions. Depositor's are responsible for the cost of shipping the cultures to the NCMA at the address listed below. When strains are received, the NCMA curator checks them for obvious contamination and confirms the organism matches the description provided by the customer. Strains with obvious fungal contamination are not accepted for perpetual culturing or cryopreservation. For this initial assessment, a one-time fee of $50/strain is required before shipment of the strain(s). If the strain passes this initial assessment, it will be handled as stated in the Private Collection deposit form and as agreed to by the customer and the NCMA for the stated term of the agreement. Customers will be billed, based upon the requested deposit option, upon NCMA's acceptance of the strains in the Private Collection.

Private Collection holding options for algal strains include:

A) Maintenance of perpetual liquid culture: $1,000/strain/year when the strain can be grown at standard NCMA conditions (Incubators at 2 ºC, 14 ºC, 20 ºC, and 24 ºC.  Light :dark cycle is 13:11).  Our media are listed on our website.

B) Storage in LN2 vapor of previously cryopreserved material shipped to the NCMA on dry ice: $350/strain/year (no check on cell viability is conducted by the NCMA)

C) Cryopreservation of a liquid culture conducted by the NCMA: $1,000/strain/first year and a storage fee of $350/year for each subsequent year. Feasibility of cryopreservation will be discussed with the customer. If it is decided to cryopreserve a private strain, the NCMA will choose a protocol based on its experience. Ten vials will be cryopreserved, and an additional three will be cryopreserved to be used to test for the viability of the cryopreservation.  Viability test vials will be thawed upon the completion of each protocol and re-growth will be monitored. The NCMA will prepare a complete report of protocols used and results obtained for the depositor.  NCMA is willing to continue additional cryopreservation protocols with any species, as long as the customer understands the feasibility of success.  Additional attempts will be treated as a ‘research project’ and billed on a time and materials basis.  Details are provided in our cryopreservation strategy.

Returning Private Collection strains to their depositor:

Private strains should be ordered from the depositors secure website.  Once the request has been made, the NCMA will start the process of sub-culturing, or thawing and obtaining dry ice, depending on the state of the culture.  Growing material can take one to four weeks depending on the strain. The depositors account status must be in good standing at the time of the request.

The cost structure is as follows:

If the strain is maintained in liquid culture only, the NCMA will ship it to the depositor, a $50.00 handling fee will be applied per strain requested, one time per annual billing cycle. The customer is responsible for shipping.  Any additional requested shipments in the same billing cycle are at the standard NCMA starter culture rate.

If the strain is cryopreserved, and the depositor wishes the NCMA to thaw it, grow it, and ship it to them, the NCMA will ship it to the depositor, a $50.00 handling fee will be applied per strain requested, once per annual billing cycle. The customer is responsible for shipping.  Additional shipments in the same annual billing cycle are at the standard NCMA starter culture rate.

If the strain is cryopreserved, and the depositor wishes to receive frozen material, the NCMA will ship up to five (5) vials of cryopreserved material per year. There will be a $50.00 handling fee per strain per shipment. There will be an additional fee for dry ice of $5/pound.  The customer is responsible for shipping charges. Once five (5) vials of cryopreserved material are shipped the customer will be notified.  If the customer wishes to continue to maintain material at the NCMA, two options are available; Option B if the material was provided in a cryopreserved state originally, Option C if NCMA conducted the cryopreservation.  In this case, the remaining five (5) vials are used as “seed” vials for the subsequent round of cryopreservation.  Further details on the NCMA cryopreservation strategy can be found here.

To deposit a strain to a private collection, please review the NCMA Private Collection terms and conditions.



Shipping address:

NCMA Curator
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
60 Bigelow Drive
East Boothbay, ME 04544


Bacteria Private Collections:

The NCMA is also currently offering the service of holding private collections of cryopreserved bacteria. Please contact us and provide the details of the collection that you would like to deposit.

Please click here for our business overview.


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