microalgae flasks

Flasks of living microalgae at the ANACC.

Australian National Algae Culture Collection

This unique bank of Australian biodiversity contains marine and freshwater microalgal classes sourced from tropical Australia to Antarctica.

  • 10 June 2010 | Updated 5 July 2012

Australian National Algae Culture Collection

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The Australian National Algae Culture Collection (ANACC) is housed at the Hobart laboratories of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research.

The collection consists of 1000 strains of more than 300 microalgae species. These are listed in the Collection Strain Database.

What are microalgae?

Microalgae are microscopic plants inhabiting the world’s oceans and other aquatic environments.

They are responsible for at least half of global primary productivity, converting solar energy to organic energy and fixing carbon dioxide in the process.

They are the world’s fastest-growing plants and can double their biomass daily, providing essential nutrition for aquatic animals, including omega-3 oils and other lipids, proteins and carbohydrates.

Microalgae are rich in bioactive compounds and a source of genes for unique biosynthetic pathways, yet are a largely untapped resource, with only 10 per cent of some 40 000 species isolated and cultured.

They are a renewable resource for human nutrition, medical and biofuel and other industrial applications and can be mass-produced with appropriate growth technologies: photobioreactors, ponds and fermenters.

CSIRO Microalgae Supply Service

Aligned with the collection is the CSIRO Microalgae Supply Service which provides microalgal strains as ‘starter cultures’ to industry, research organisations and universities in more than 50 countries. The service is the supplier of starter cultures to the Australian aquaculture industry, for which microalgae are the essential first foods for larval and juvenile animals.

Culturing microalgae

ANACC uses a range of different Algal Culture Methods.

A microscope image of A marine microalgae, Pavlova salina.

A marine microalgae, Pavlova salina.