Cryo-injury in the Preservation of Algae Stock for Biofuels

(De Gruyter) – Algal biotechnology requires stable, function-fulfilling stock-cultures. Conventionally microalgae and cyanobacteria are transfered to fresh medium and held under controlled environmental conditions. Cryopreservation at ultra-low temperatures is the only methodology that can provide this level of security to master stock-cultures; however, many algae are recalcitrant to cryopreservation with low or no survival.
Extending the knowledge on acclimation potential across key algal groups could lead to improved cryopreservation outcomes by developing cryopreservation protocols that embrace reversible  environmentally regulated changes in algae able to mitigate against cryo-injury and/ or stress. Considerable methodological development is still needed to increase the diversity of taxa to which cryopreservation is applicable and to ensure that recovered material remain functionally and genetically representative of the original sample.
As the method becomes a mainstay of the biotechnology sector, it will need to scale up to ensure the consistency of batch-to-batch production. For the foreseeable future the authors conclude that cryopreservation employing colligative approaches will continue to be the preferred method of conserving both master- and working-cultures of biotechnologically exploited/exploitable algae. This is because it is procedurally less complex and the frozen material is less sensitive to temperature fluctuations.
Microalgae Biotechnology. 1, 2015, 1–11.

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