• Home
  • Ordering & Shipping FAQs | NCMA at Bigelow Laboratory ncma.bigelow.org

ORDERING & SHIPPING FAQ

  1. How dense are the cultures or, how many cells are in a culture?
  2. How much biomass/DNA/RNA can I expect from harvested cells?
  3. How do you ship harvested cells and/or RNA?
  4. Can I order culture volumes greater than 1L?
  5. How do I choose a strain?
  6. Can I use an image from your website?
  7. Why can’t cultures be shipped by ground?
  8. What can be shipped by ground?
  9. How are cultures packaged?
  10. Can I order cultures on agar plates?
  11. What do I do when my strain cultures arrive?
  12. My cultures were dead on arrival, can I get replacements?
  13. Do you offer an academic discount?
  14. Some of my cultures will take longer to grow than others, can I get multiple shipments?
  15. I’m ordering a kit and/or seawater as well as live cultures – can I get the kit and seawater shipped in advance?
  16. I’m going to need cultures in a few months – can I order them now?
  17. Can I pick up my cultures at your lab?
  18. Can I buy your cultures and products from a distributor?
  19. How are cold strains shipped?
  20. Can I order cold strains with non-cold strains?
  21. Can I place a rush order?
  22. How soon can my order be shipped?
  23. Why does it take so long?
  24. Can you tell me the transit time from East Boothbay, Maine to my location?
  25. Why don’t you use DHL?
  26. Why don’t you ship cryopreserved material?
  27. Can I cancel my order?
  28. My institution requires a proforma invoice, how do I get one?
  29. Can I get a quote?
  30. Can I place a purchase order?
  31. Can I pay by check?
  32. Can I pay by bank transfer (wire)?
  33. Can I pay by American Express or Discover cards?
  34. Can I get MSDS sheets?
  35. Can I get a health certificate?
  36. Who pays duty fees/taxes/VAT?
  37. What documents are required for shipments to locations outside the US?
  38. What documents are required for shipments to Hawaii?

  1. How dense or how many cells are in a culture?We do not conduct routine cell counts. Since we are transferring and microscopically observing cultures once every 2 - 8 weeks, we typically have good assessment on their health without counting. The NCMA ships starter cultures of strains. The culture can then be subcultured and grown for particular needs. The goal is for cultures to arrive to the customer alive. Once the shipment leaves our facility, we cannot guarantee the health or cell count of our strains since the cultures in the shipment can be subjected to environmental stress. E.g., Darkness for at least 24 hours, Temperatures ranging from very cold (in a cargo hold in an airplane) to very hot (sitting on a loading dock or in a truck in a warm climate). We do not ship at high density because dense cultures do not respond as well to stress as less dense cultures. This is the reason why the cultures may look very dilute when you receive them.
  2. How much biomass/DNA/RNA can I expect from harvested cells? Each strain (even strains of the same species)grows differently. Therefore yields cannot be provided. If we have repeated experience in harvesting a particular strain, we may be able to provide a rough estimate but cannot make any guarantees. There will be an additional charge of $125 for each mass culture you would like lyophilized.
  3. How do you ship harvested cells and/or RNA? We ship harvested cells and RNA on dry ice. Dry ice is an additional $5 per pound plus additional fees to be determined by the courier. Please note: not all countries will accept shipments containing dry ice and you will need to verify if your country allows dry ice imports.
  4. May I order culture volumes greater than 1L? Yes, please contact ncma@bigelow.org for more information on mass cultures and other custom orders.
  5. How do I choose a strain? You may have a specific need when ordering a strain- perhaps a geographic need, or wish to purchase an authentic strain or one that has a publication record. These are searchable attributes. Relative ease of growth is being developed as a searchable parameter on our website. We can tell you more details about growth habits, isolation details, taxonomic assignment over time, etc. of specific strains. Please contact us by email at ncma@bigelow.org for more in- depth information.
  6. May I use an image from your website? We charge $25 for a high resolution image. All uses of our images must be accompanied by an acknowledgement stating: “Courtesy of the Provasoli-Guillard National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA) https://ncma.bigelow.org/”
  7. Why can’t cultures be shipped by ground? Live cultures must ship the fastest method possible in order to optimize viability upon arrival. The NCMA is located in a relatively remote location and shipping anywhere outside of New England by ground will take more than a one-day transit.
  8. What can be shipped by ground? Medium kits, prepared medium and seawater can be shipped by ground since these items are not time and temperature sensitive
  9. How are cultures packaged? Starter cultures are shipped in sealed tubes or tissue culture flasks wrapped in bubble wrap and placed in either a Styrofoam box packed with newspaper or a cardboard box that is insulated with GreenLiners. The IPC GreenLiner is a collapsible insulation liner that is made of relatively dense polyurethane foam and is 100% recyclable. An online database can be used to find a recycling depot near you. Warm packs and cold packs are used as necessary depending upon the strain and/or the outside temperature. Larger orders (16 or more tubes, mass cultures, etc.) or orders including media kits, prepared media and seawater will be shipped in larger containers or multiple boxes.
  10. May I order cultures on agar plates? No, all cultures are shipped in liquid.
  11. What do I do when my strain cultures arrive? Read the strain information sheet included in the shipment. This sheet has information regarding culture medium and culture temperature. Place your strain culture at the appropriate temperature and in subdued light for 12 hours or more to allow it to stabilize. Then remove about half the biomass that was sent from each tube and place that in fresh medium. Inoculate into a small volume medium (a ratio of 5-10 mls of culture to 100mls of medium is a good place to start). Retain the unused part of your cultures until you are certain that you have the strain growing in your medium At that time, examine your culture with a light microscope. Check for intact cells and, where appropriate, swimming cells. In a day or so, move the culture to appropriate light levels. Watch your newly transferred material over the next several weeks to see if it grows in your medium.
  12. My cultures were dead on arrival, may I get a replacement?We will replace/reship cultures that arrive in a completely nonviable state (dead) for the price of shipping and handling on the reshipment. However: we must be notified in writing that it did not survive within two weeks of delivery, our free culture replacement policy is for viability at the shipped location, and free cultures will be re-shipped only once. Our free culture replacement policy is VOID if the customer/recipient uses their own shipping company, the order is shipped via ground service, the order is moved to a location other than its shipped location, and/or there is a delay in the shipment (the order is held in customs, etc.). Before we make arrangements for a reshipment, you will need to answer the following questions. via email: 1. Can you tell us what the temperatures were when you received them? Could they have overheated or frozen in transit or while sitting on a loading dock? Are you aware of any delay in delivery of the strain? 2. Can you tell us what you did with them upon arrival? 3. Did you examine them with a microscope when you received them? 4. Please tell us what medium, temperature and light conditions you are using to grow the culture. 5. When did you subculture them? 6. Can you provide us with the specifics of the media you used? 7. What was the salinity of the media? 8. the order number and the strain you would like reshipped.
  13. Do you offer an academic discount? ** Due to the escalating costs of doing business, we will be increasing the price of all of our products on January 1, 2018. Kindly note that our last price increase was in 2013. ** The prices of our starter cultures are as follows: $150 for USA non-profit institutions, $160 for international non-profit institutions, $175 standard price. We do not offer any discounts on all other products or services. Due to the stipulations of our non-profit grant funding (we are a non-profit institution) this discount is available only to other non-profit institutions. If you are purchasing these cultures on behalf of a USA non-profit institution, you will need to provide an explanation and/or evidence of the non-profit qualification/status.
  14. Some of my cultures will take longer to grow than others. May I get multiple shipments? Yes, you will need to pay full shipping and handling fees for each separate shipment.
  15. I’m ordering a kit and/or seawater as well as live cultures. May I get the kit and seawater shipped in advance? Yes, we will ship kits and seawater in advance. However, you will need to pay full shipping and handling fees for each separate shipment
  16. I’m going to need cultures in a few months. Mayan I order them now? Yes. Please indicate in the comment field of your order when you would like your cultures to arrive. We will do our best to accommodate your request.
  17. May I pick up my cultures at your lab? Yes. We will refund the shipping fee; however, you will still be charged the $10 handling fee.
  18. May I buy your cultures and products from a distributor? No, we do not have any distributors. All orders need to be placed through the NCMA and are grown and shipped by the NCMA curators from our state-of-the-art facilities, located in East Boothbay, Maine. We do not provide guarantees to the quality or authenticity of CCMP-designated strains obtained from anywhere other than the NCMA.
  19. How are cold strains shipped? The strains are shipped with refrigerated cold packs. We do not ship on ice or with dry ice.
  20. May I order cold strains with non-cold strains? Maybe, it depends on the strains and the transit times.
  21. May I place a rush order? No. All cultures are grown to order with the exception of our aquaculture express strains.
  22. How soon will my order be shipped? WARNING: Live cultures MUST ship OVERNIGHT. (Ground shipment of live culture orders is only available to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.) Kits, Prepared Medium and Seawater can ship by ground to any location (if service is available). Aquaculture express strains may be shipped on Mondays through Thursdays. Non-aquaculture strains (not including cryopreserved strains) take at least two weeks from a Monday (for international orders)or Wednesday (for domestic orders). Cryopreserved strains will ship after it is successfully revived. The growth rate of these strains are anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. We do not ship any starter cultures on Fridays. However, if you would like a Saturday delivery day, you will be charged additional fees. In addition, we do not ship on the following holidays: New Year’s Day (January 1); Martin Luther King Day (3rd Monday in January); Washington’s Birthday (3rd Monday in February); Patriot’s Day (3rd Monday in April); Memorial Day (last Monday in May); Independence Day (July 4); Labor Day (1st Monday in September); Veterans’ Day (November 11); Thanksgiving (4th Thursday in November); Day after Thanksgiving (4th Friday in November); December 24 and December 25. A holiday that falls on a Saturday will be observed on the preceding Friday. A holiday that falls on a Sunday will be observed on the following Monday.
  23. Why does it take so long? We custom subculture every order as it is received except for aquaculture express strain. Some strains take longer to grow up to an appropriate shipping density than others. Some strains are stored as only cryopreserved material, cryopreserved strains can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months to grow. We generally ship Mondays (for international orders) and Wednesdays (for domestic orders) to avoid shipments being delayed in distribution facilities over weekends. Each day that a photosynthetic organism is deprived of light will reduce its viability. The strain will be adversely impacted even more if the strain is temperature sensitive
  24. Can you tell me the transit time and shipping & handling cost from East Boothbay, Maine to my location? Kindly send us an email with your complete shipping address.
  25. Why don’t you use DHL? We are a remote pick-up site for DHL. They may add additional shipping days which will adversely affect the viability of algal strains shipped.
  26. Why don’t you ship cryopreserved material? Cryopreserved material is time sensitive. It requires dry ice to ship and, should it be delayed in transit, and it thaws, the material will be non-viable. It is time consuming to create cryopreserved material, and should the shipment be unsuccessful, an additional sample will need to be removed from storage. Instead we thaw and grow on site. It is less expensive to ship without dry ice. Should a shipment of live material be delayed, it has a better chance of survival than cryopreserved material. Should the shipment totally fail, there is viable material on site here to reship.
  27. Can I cancel my order? Our starter cultures are grown to order and thawing cryopreserved strains is particularly time and resource consuming. Please email us as soon as possible at NCMA@bigelow.org if you need to cancel the order. The following fees will be assessed: $75 restocking fee (not including aquaculture express strains that have not yet been placed in the shipping box) for orders cancelled within five (5) business days of placing the order. 50% cancellation fee of the price of the product(s) ordered for orders cancelled after five (5) business days of placing the order. All shipped orders are considered final. We cannot accept returns on any products including, kits, seawater and prepared medium.
  28. My institution requires a proforma invoice, how do I get one? Proceed through the online ordering and check out process. You will have the opportunity to select “Proforma Invoice” as payment option during the check-out process. This will generate a proforma invoice in a PDF format. A $30 bank transfer fee will be included in the total.
  29. May I get a quote? Yes, our quotes are valid for 30 days.
  30. May I use a purchase order to place an order? Yes, if you are a US based customer with pre-approval and the order is being shipped to a US address. Terms of sale are net 30 days.
  31. May I pay by check? We only accept check payments from US customers .
  32. May I pay by bank transfer (wire)? Yes, there will be an additional $30 bank processing fee added to your order.
  33. May I pay by American Express or Discover cards? No, we can only accept Visa or MasterCard at this time.
  34. May I get an SDS sheet? SDS sheets for our starter cultures and kits will be included in the shipping box
  35. MayI get a health certificate? No, we do not provide health certificates. We will provide our own Sanitary Certificates and/or a Certificates of Origin upon request. Certificates of Origin are signed by the Boothbay Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Other documentation provided by the customer may be signed by the NCMA on a case-by-case basis. Additional administrative fees may apply.
  36. Who pays duty fees, taxes, VAT, etc.? The customer pays all fees relating to the order and are not included in NCMA invoices.Many customs agencies require payment of these fees before they clear the shipment through customs. We are not responsible for the viability of the cultures if the order is delayed in customs and is not delivered on time. Refunds will not be issued and we refuse all return shipments.
  37. What documents are required for shipments to locations outside the US? International customers should request any necessary documents (i.e. import permit) from their appropriate government agency. You will need to provide these documents prior to the expected ship date if these documents will need to be included in the shipment.
  38. What documents are required for shipments to Hawaii? The importation of algae into the State of Hawaii requires an import permit from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. It is the responsibility of the customer in Hawaii to obtain the permit and provide a copy to NCMA in advance of shipment. For further information, please visit the State of Hawaii Plant Quarantine Division. Additional questions and application requests should be referred to: State of Hawaii, Plant Industry Division, 1849 Auiki Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819, Phone: (808) 832-0566, Fax: (808) 832-0584.