Microalgae and Cyanobacteria

The cyanobacteria and eukaryotic microalgae collections contain over 1889  strains and form France’s biggest collection of freshwater phytoplankton.


The Muséum’s live collections of freshwater eukaryotic microalgae and cyanobacteria comprise 922 and 967 strains respectively, mainly in liquid form, maintained by by serial e transfers. These collections are regularly enriched, particularly through field sampling in France and abroad. They are housed in the "Molecules and communication and adaptation of Micro-organisms" laboratory (UMR 7245 MNHN/CNRS) ("Cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins and environment" research team).


The Muséum’s live microalgae collection was created in the late 20s by Professor P. Allorge and M. Lefèvre. The cyanobacteria collection was added from 1997 onwards, under the guidance of Professor C. Bernard. They currently constitute two separate collections, one exclusively containing eukaryote microalgae and the other cyanobacteria and prokaryotes.


The eukaryotic microalgae and cyanobacteria collections have mainly been assembled as part of various research programmes. They are used to find answers to scientific questions relating to phylogeny, toxic metabolite production, physiology, etc. They are also a precious teaching aid as they provide strains to several French universities, and are used as biological objects around which educational scientific projects are based.

These collections are also open to external parties: around 200 strains are sold, donated or exchanged every year. Thus, these collections also constitute:

  • a bank of reference strains used for standardised ecotoxicology tests (NF EN ISO 8692, 2012).

  • a reservoir of active molecules (the collection was partially screened in 1997 and 2009 by the Thallia Pharmaceuticals and Phycosource companies),

  • a precious resource for various iprojects (agri-food industries, substrata colonisation ability, bioremediation capacities, etc.).


A list of strains from the eukaryotic microalgae collection is currently available by request to Sahima Hamlaoui (sahima.hamlaoui [@] mnhn.fr).

The content of the cyanobacteria collection can be consulted on the laboratory website.

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