Microalgae are one of the most biologically important elements of worldwide ecology and could be the source of diverse new products and medicines. COBRA (The COnservation of a vital european scientific and Biotechnological Resource: microAlgae and cyanobacteria) is the acronym for a European Union, RTD Infrastructures project (Contract No. QLRI-CT-2001-01645). This project is in the process of developing a European Biological Resource Centre based on existing algal culture collections. The COBRA project's central aim is to apply cryopreservation methodologies to microalgae and cyanobacteria, organisms that, to date, have proved difficult to conserve using cryogenic methods. In addition, molecular and biochemical stability tests have been developed to ensure that the equivalent strains of microorganisms supplied by the culture collections give high quality and consistent performance. Fundamental and applied knowledge of stress physiology form an essential component of the project and this is being employed to assist the optimisation of methods for preserving a wide range of algal diversity. COBRA's "Resource Centre" utilises Information Technologies (IT) and Knowledge Management practices to assist project coordination, management and information dissemination and facilitate the generation of new knowledge pertaining to algal conservation. This review of the COBRA project will give a summary of current methodologies for cryopreservation of microalgae and procedures adopted within the COBRA project to enhance preservation techniques for this diverse group of organisms.
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Document Type: Regular Paper
June 1, 2005
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CryoLetters is a bimonthly international journal for low temperature sciences, including cryobiology, cryopreservation or vitrification of cells and tissues, chemical and physical aspects of freezing and drying, and studies involving ecology of cold environments, and cold adaptation
The journal publishes original research reports, authoritative reviews, technical developments and commissioned book reviews of studies of the effects produced by low temperatures on a wide variety of scientific and technical processes, or those involving low temperature techniques in the investigation of physical, chemical, biological and ecological problems.