The BCCM/DCG public collection is the only culture collection worldwide specialized in diatoms, the most species-rich and ecologically important algal group. Other microalgae interesting from an applied perspective are included in the collection as well. Strains are kept as safe deposits or are publicly available for the scientific community. These are distributed worldwide as research or reference material to scientific institutions and companies.
The BCCM/DCG collection is hosted by the Laboratory for Protistology & Aquatic Ecology (PAE, Gent University, Belgium), internationally renowned for its research on diatom taxonomy, evolution, ecology and life cycles, for which routinely diatom cultures are established and experimentally manipulated. The interaction between the host laboratory and the culture collection offers a large added value to the collection as it ensures a detailed characterization of the strains and the necessary expertise for long-term storage of diatom strains and species. This has resulted in a unique collection of model diatoms for both fundamental and applied research. More recently, applied research including other microalgae has become a focus at PAE, and the scope of BCCM/DCG has widened accordingly to include these as well.
The host laboratory makes intensive use of the diatom and other microalgae strains in the culture collection for its research projects, and contributes to the collection by depositing well-characterized strains interesting for future research and applications. The following research topics are addressed using a range of different approaches, including morphology, DNA sequences, transcriptome and genome studies, ecophysiological studies, crossing experiments, pedigree analyses,... :
- Population genetics
- Speciation and (cryptic) species diversity
- Niche divergence and evolution
- Competition and facilitation
- Diatom-bacteria interactions
- Molecular basis of the diatom life cycle
- Species screening and growth optimization for aquaculture
Scope of the biological material
The BCCM/DCG collection was originally initiated and developed by Dr. V. A. Chepurnov (former PAE member) since 2000. The collection currently consists of 351 strains belonging to 39 species most of which are cryopreserved. All strains are living monoclonal cultures that can be grown in standard liquid culture media (WC medium for freshwater diatoms, f/2 for marine, see Mann DG & Chepurnov VA, 2004, Nova Hedwigia 79:237-291).
The selection of strains for the culture collection is based on their ease of use for experimental manipulation. As most diatoms have an obligatory sexual stage in their life cycle, knowledge of the life-cycle is vital for the long-term maintenance of diatom cultures. Therefore, information on mating system, cardinal points in the life cycle and valve measurements is present for each of the strains, making the PAE diatom culture collection unique in its kind. Other microalgae have been screened for traits interesting for industry.
The purpose of the culture collection is to make diatom and other microalgae strains available for both academic and industrial partners to conduct fundamental and applied research. As such, the strains/taxa are or have been intensively used in the PAE lab and elsewhere for diatom genomics research, cell-and life-cycle investigations, determination and comparison of (eco)physiological properties, studies of ecological interactions, and research on diatom population genetics, evolution and diversity.
Distribution of strains
Strains of the public collection are accessible under the conditions of the BCCM Material Transfer Agreement (MTA). For more information on ordering microbial resources click here.
See also the price list
Consult the BCCM/DCG catalogue to search the strains you require.
Accession, control, preservation, storage and supply of diatoms and related information in the frame of public deposits are ISO 9001:2008 certified.