BCCM/ULC Cyanobacteria Collection

BCCM/ULC is a small and dedicated public collection, currently containing one of the largest collections of documented (sub)polar cyanobacteria worldwide.


The BCCM/ULC collection is hosted by the Centre for Protein Engineering (the Unit) of the University of Liège. The host Unit is very active in research projects concerning the cyanobacterial diversity and biogeography, with a focus on polar biotopes. The approach used is polyphasic, including the isolation of strains and culture-independent methods (DGGE, clone libraries, pyrosequencing based on the ribosomal operon sequences). The participation to field expeditions in the Antarctic and Arctic has enabled to collect samples in many locations. Moreover, taxonomic research is carried out by the host Unit to improve the classification of the cyanobacterial phylum. It is based on a polyphasic approach combining the morphological and molecular characterizations of the strains.

Main research topics are:

  • Evolution of the cyanobacterial phylum;
  • Improvement of the taxonomy of the cyanobacterial phylum;
  • Phenotypic and genotypic diversity of cyanobacteria worldwide, with a focus on polar regions;
  • Biogeography of cyanobacterial taxa;
  • Diversity of secondary metabolites in cyanobacteria;
  • Diversity and toxigenicity of bloom-forming cyanobacteria in Belgian lakes;
  • Genome sequences of Arthrospira strains


Scope of the biological material

The host laboratory has one of the largest research collections of documented (sub)polar cyanobacteria worldwide, with more than 100 strains characterized by phenotypic (morphology based on microscopic observations) and genotypic (16S rRNA and ITS sequences) analyses. The three most important orders of cyanobacteria  (Chroococcales, Oscillatoriales, Nostocales) are represented. The strains are unicyanobacterial, but not axenic. They are available as living cultures, and the majority is also cryo-preserved (-70°C).

BCCM/ULC is progressively incorporating the most interesting strains from the research collection of the host Unit into the public collection. In addition, ongoing research and public deposits from other (more temperate) geographical areas enrich progressively the variety of proposed strains. The public collection now includes the type strain of the recently described species Plectolyngbya hodgsonii (Taton et al., 2011, Polar Biology, 34: 181-191).




We accept public deposits of cyanobacterial cultures which will be visible in the BCCM/ULC cyanobacteria catalogue. Deposits of strains for public access are without costs for the depositor.

In addition, we take deposits that are not catalogued under safe deposit. Safe deposit is charged to the depositor. See also the price lists


Distribution of strains

Strains of the public collection are accessible to the scientific community under the conditions of the BCCM Material Transfer Agreement (MTA), if necessary amended with additional conditions possibly already attached to the biological material. For more information on ordering microbial resources click here.

Consult the BCCM/ULC catalogue to search the strains you require.
See also the price list

Accession, control, preservation, storage and supply of cyanobacteria and related information in the frame of public deposits are ISO 9001:2015 certified.



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