CIIMAR continues to build its globally recognised cyanobacteria collection for more than 30 years

  • Article




The past 13th April saw the celebrations of the 30 years that the LEGE-CC collection of cyanobacteria and microalgae started at the Interdisciplinary Centre of Maritime and Environmental Investigation (CIIMAR). Recognised globally, the LEGE-CC collection features over 1200 samples of cyanobacteria and microalgae, with a technological interest.

Current CIIMAR director and professor at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, Vítor Vasconcelos started this collection of marine and fresh water organisms in 1990, setting up what is today known as the LEGE-CC collection. Between 1991 and 1994, the researcher isolated 44 strains of national tocix cyanobacteria, especially the Microcystis aeruginosa type and set up the so called “LEGE-CC embryo”. Also, in 1994, the first article on the collection is published.

Currently, the LEGE-CC is more than a collection as it garnishes biotechnological potential to make it an important source of resources for pharmaceutical applications, human nutrition and nutraceuticals, cosmetics, agriculture and naval industry. This is also an important resource to study microbial infections, cancer, parasitoses such as malaria, obesity, cardiovascular and neurological diseases, as well as dietary supplement, sun block and antiaging, among other.

In 2015, the LEGE-CC – Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology Culture Collection was registered in the World Federation of Culture Collections (WFCC) and, three years later, in 2018, in the European Culture Collections Organization (ECCO).

The collection is stored at the CIIMAR’s headquarters, at the Leixões cruise terminal, which include an isolation room, two collection rooms, a grow-room, incubation chambers and 10 photo bioreactors that allow to maximize the grow conditions. Around 93% of the strains filed in the collection are of national origin (Mainland Portugal, Azores and Madeira), and the other 7% come from the countries that participated in international projects, such as FARCYANO (Dominican Republic), EMERTOX (Portugal, Cabo Verde, Morocco) and TOXICROP (Portugal, Colombia, Peru, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia).