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Facilities

The NCMA houses the largest and most diverse collection of marine algae in the world and is situated on the first floor of the Norton Center for Blue Biotechnology (NCBB). It is a secure area that can only be entered by swipe card access of authorized personnel. It contains 6 walk-in illuminated growth rooms, 4 at permanent temperatures of 2°C, 14°C, 20°C and 24°C; and 2 that can be booked for growth at any temperature; there are also 8 reach-in cooled illuminated incubators for housing back up stocks (3 of which are kept off site). We utilize a light:dark cycle of 13:11 to grow our algal strains.  There is a culture transfer area that has 4 laminar flow hoods; a secure cryopreservation facility that houses a control rate freezer and 5 MVE liquid nitrogen storage tanks; a standard laboratory area that is used for molecular work and generating cell pastes for customers; glass wash and autoclave facility; growth media preparation area; shipping preparation area; seawater hall that contains large scale growth facilities (Kalwel tubes, SeaCAPS systems and mesocosms) that allow growth up to 3,000L batches which can be harvested by continuous flow centrifugation. The seawater facility houses a state-of-the-art, continuously flowing seawater system, that supplies both sand-filtered and “raw” seawater to a seawater suite and for use by individual laboratories for scientific experimentation. A wide range of pumps are used to facilitate the flow of seawater, from the initial floating dock and screened intake site in the bay adjacent to the Laboratory, through three bag filters into a 3,000 gallon holding tank at a shore facility; there, two variable frequency drive (VFD) pumps to move the water up to the seawater suite. When a seawater valve is opened there is a drop in pressure, after which the pump ramps up to maintain pressure and increase water volume. In addition, the system uses electricity generated by photovoltaic cells (solar panels) that supply up to 20kW of energy to help power the system. Once resident in the seawater suite, seawater is continuously piped to individual laboratories and a wide range of experimental tank systems. In addition, there is a pasteurization system to ensure a clean supply of seawater. All waste seawater is contained prior to UV treatment, filtration, chlorination and de-chlorination, and then finally discharged back into the adjacent bay.

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