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Culturing, Isolation and Identification Services


Commission NCMA to isolate new strains for proprietary use by your company. We have in-house experience for isolating and characterizing new strains from either i) samples sent to NCMA from locations of your choice, or ii) samples collected by NCMA staff from a range of locations. We use common isolation practices such as single cell picking, serial dilution and flow cytometric isolation depending upon which is most relevant for the organism you are trying to isolate into culture. In addition, we can attempt to make any isolated strains axenic using antibiotic treatments. Please contact us at ncma@bigelow.org with details on the isolation project and we will provide you with an estimate based on time and meterials.  A NDA can be executed by both parties prior to detailed discussions if requested by the customer. 


Taxonomic Identification

For UNIALGAL cultures:

    We can conduct a basic microscopic analysis to get a provisional morphological ID (this is easier for the larger microalgae). COST $175/strain
    A firmer ID can be obtained from 18S rRNA gene analysis (COST $750/strain), but we would typically recommend a 3-gene screen (18S rRNA; ITS and COX or 28S), this will give an ID to species level with high confidence - taxonomists prefer this level of confidence; COST $1500/strain.

For MIXED cultures:

    We can conduct a basic microscopic analysis and determine relative proportions of the most abundant genera in the culture by morphology. COST $225/strain
    We can also use flow cytometry to sort individual cells or streak a sample on an agar plate (assuming they can grow on a plate)and pick individual colonies followed by molecular taxonomic analysis. For molecular analysis, please reach out to NCMA to discuss your project needs and determine costs.


Mass Culturing 

Do you need milligrams to grams or more of algal biomass? Do you need larger volumes than a starter culture to do your science? NCMA can help you in your research. If you need living cells, NCMA can grow (and ship) up to a 1L living culture for your research. This service, and the 20L harvested mass culture can be ordered directly online from the strain product page. If you need even more material, NCMA has the systems in place to grow up to several 400L cultures under ambient environmental conditions that we can concentrate via continuous centrifuge. Please contact us at ncma@bigelow.org to inquire about costs associated with contracting the NCMA to scale up to these larger volumes.


Culture Clean Up

Commission the NCMA to clean up algal cultures contaminated with either: non-algal protists; other algae; bacteria; fungi (prices will vary based on time spent and materials used).  Plating, dilution and/or antibiotic techniques are charged at $175/hour plus materials. Flow cytometry sorting techniques, and subsequent culturing, start at $800/culture plus materials.  Please contact us at ncma@bigelow.org to inquire about this service.

Contact us if you have any questions

Please send any questions to ncma@bigelow.org.