new zealand

The Cawthron Institute Culture Collection of Micro-Algae is a nationally significant living collection which contains nine classes of micro-algae. Several species are unique to New Zealand or have properties not found in overseas isolates;

1. The collection is the only one of its kind in New Zealand, and highly ranked in the Asia-Pacific region, where it is a member of the Asia Oceania Algae Collection network.
2. The collection underpins many of Cawthron’s research programmes and is also crucial to understanding harmful algae blooms (HABs) identified as a major risk to the shellfish industry. Many strains are now backed up by cyropreservation.
3. The collection supports identification of algae in routine water samples giving industry and public health regulators advance warning of HABs. This has recently been extended to include fresh water bodies that may be contaminated by cyanobacteria.
4. Many of the micro-algae marine biotoxins that have been mass produced for the development of reference standards for regulatory authorities. Examples of the toxins produced by micro-algae in the collection include neurotoxins and diarrhetic toxics such as: 

– saxitoxin
– domoic acid
– palytoxin
– okadaic acid

5. The collection houses micro-algae with the capability to produce valuable bioactive compounds and some of these have only been identified and isolated from New Zealand waters. Pharmaceutical, nutriceutical and agricultural/horticultural uses of these compounds are being investigated.

The micro-algae may be purchased via the Cawthron Collection Curator ( Krystyna Ponikla)

Collection catalogue [PDF 538kb]