Culture collections of microalgae in Brazil: progress and constraints
Lourenço, Sergio O.; Vieira, Armando A.H.
Almost 30 years after the foundation of the first culture collection, there are currently 37 laboratories and institutions where cultures of microalgae (including cyanobacteria) are kept in Brazil. In addition, there are three culture collections of macroalgae in the country. Most of these collections hold small numbers of strains, and only five of them have more than 150 strains. An increasing interest in microalgal cultures has been experienced in Brazil, especially due to the development of aquaculture, use of algae in ecotoxicity tests, and monitoring of harmful algal blooms. In addition, the provision of financial support by governmental agencies has stimulated the growth of aquatic sciences, including uses and applications of cultivation of microalgae. The continental dimension and variety of environments in Brazil mean that there is an enormous microalgal biodiversity to be assessed, especially in freshwater habitats. Brazilian culture collections are concentrated in the South and Southeast regions of the country and mainly hold local strains. Efforts must be done to create culture collections in other regions and a network of researchers to isolate and cultivate strains from different parts of the country. The ongoing expansion of the Elizabeth Aidar Microalgal Culture Collection, Federal Fluminense University, represents the start of the organization of a national reference center for cultivation of marine microalgae.