Algal biotechnology is an exciting field of applied phycology and CCAP is extending its services to accommodate this growing area. In 2021 we will be expanding our service with a new facility for users. The Algal Research, Innovation and Environmental Science Centre (ARIES) will offer new analytical capability with the capacity to grow and harvest 100s of litres of culture and carry out metabolomic and genomic analyses.
Algae are an integral part of the UKRI green growth and blue economy, net zero carbon and environmental and ecological science initiatives and calls. In the past 20 years this has been a growing area of research, with 220 NERC awards granted to the value of £50,835,420 (Since 2018 there have been 12 awards so far worth £5m). CCAP is hosted at SAMS (www.sams.ac.uk/) who are at the leading edge of algal research: this encompasses topics from ecology (micro and macro algae biodiversity, harmful algal bloom dynamics, interaction of algae and bacteria & pathogens), biotechnological innovation for green growth (using algae to bioremediate environmental pollutants and plastics, sequester carbon) and sustainable resources such as high value compounds, materials, fuel and feed stocks to environmental and physical research capacity developing algae-colour remote sensing drones and validation of satellite data. The core remit of the expanded CCAP-ARIES facility is to complement the culture collection and centralise research and service provision around increased cultivation capacity of algae, enhance the on-site analytical, genomic and metabolomic capability that supports algal research in the user community, and deliver advanced training to UK and international researchers (both academic and industry collaborators) to those at SAMS.
Medium Scale Algal Production System (MAPS):
This cutting-edge facility will enable CCAP to cultivate, harvest, preserve, research and provide cultures at medium (10 litres) to large volumes (300 litres) to UK and international academic and industry researchers. To ensure best science practice in scale-up we are requesting four photo bioreactors. This will enable comparative studies, and increase flexibility of scale.
New and enhanced genomic capability:
New molecular labour saving tools will support CCAP’s core single gene strain barcoding work for collection and user strains and enhance technological advances to include collaboration with whole genome sequencing projects. Offered services are: Algal/protist barcoding or meta-barcoding, DNA extraction, shotgun metagenomic analyses, microbiome analyses, eukaryote whole genome sequencing, transcriptomics and/or RNA extraction, and consultancy.
New and enhanced metabolic capability:
Additional analyses will provide researchers with metabolic information on algal strains derived from all scales of growth at CCAP (from small aliquots of algae kept on slopes or well plates to algae grown in the larger MAPS bioreactors). These services include FAME analysis, pigment analysis, metabolomic screening profile and analysis of smaller hydrocarbons.