The University of Toronto Culture Collection of Algae and Cyanobacteria (UTCC): a Canadian phycological resource centre
Acreman, Judy C.
The University of Toronto Culture Collection of Algae and Cyanobacteria (UTCC, http:/ /www. botany. utoronto. ca/utcc/index. html), established in 1987, is unique in Canada. Prior to the opening of this facility, no service culture collection of freshwater algae and cyanobacteria existed in the country, even though Canada has extensive freshwater systems with diverse algal and cyanobacterial communities. Of the 6000 species of algae and cyanobacteria recorded from freshwater and marine systems in Canada, only a few hundred were being maintained in the Northeast Pacific Culture Collection of marine phytoplankton, and in research and teaching collections. The UTCC was established in response to the need for a facility that would serve as a phycological resource centre focusing on freshwater species, particularly those that are from areas of environmental concern or that are causes of environmental problems. The facility currently maintains 434 isolates, of which 308 are microalgae, 115 are cyanobacteria and 11 are aquatic vascular plants. Most of these isolates originated in central Canada; about 70% are unique to the UTCC and approximately 30% are axenic. The UTCC provides research-quality cultures and related services e. g. custom-isolation, technical training and Safe-Deposit to users in academic, government and commercial laboratories worldwide. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada provides funding for basic maintenance of the collection and user fees cover additional costs. Future directions for the UTCC include expansion and diversification of the collection, cryopreservation, purification and further taxonomic verification of as many isolates as possible.