• Institution: Culture Collection of Cryophilic Algae
  • Acronym: CCCryo
  • Location:
    Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology
    Branch Bioanalytics and Bioprocesses IZI-BB
    Extremophile Research & Biobank CCCryo
    Am Muehlenberg 13
    14476 Potsdam
  • Website: Institutional website: www.izi-bb.fraunhofer.de
    CCCryo online catalogue: http://cccryo.fraunhofer.de
  • Correspondent:
    Dr. Thomas Leya
    Phone: +49 331 58187-304
    e-mail: thomas.leya@izi-bb.fraunhofer.de

Members holdings

The CCCryo and its workgroup Extremophile Research has a strong focus on cryophilic (= cold-loving) freshwater microalgae, i.e. snow and permafrost algae from polar and alpine environments. Both are located at the Fraunhofer IZI-BB in Potsdam. Fraunhofer is a non-profit research organisation. The CCCryo currently holds 524 strains from 177 species in 101 genera. We cover mainly freshwater microalgae but also maintain cyanobacteria and a minor number of fungi, eubacteria and mosses. Strains from cold habitats are cultured at +2 °C, other strains at +15 or +32 °C in the case of e.g. thermophilic cyanobacteria. The algal classes of the Chlorophyceae and Trebouxiophyceae dominate the CCCryo, however, also many Cyanophyceae, Zygnematophyceae, Xanthophyceae and Bacillariophyceae have been isolated from snow and ice. The CCCryo with its specialisation on cryophiles is unparalleled in its scope and diversity and serves the worldwide scientific community.

Services Offered

The CCCryo provides living cultures of microalgae and other extremophiles for research purposes to non-profit or profit-oriented institutions. The use of strains is not restricted for non-profit studies, however, when a commercial application is intended a one-to-one-contract has to be negotiated (Fraunhofer has the proprietary rights on approx. 80 % of the strains of CCCryo). We dispatch strains worldwide. We also culture live depositions of authentic strains from new taxonomic types, but do not act as a safe depository for type material. We also take care of customers' strains e.g. as a backup facility against a fee. Once deposited strains are released to the public we do not charge the original depositor any more. We also offer isolation and identification services against fees as well as courses on the cryopreservation of microalgae.


Most of the over 500 strains have been isolated from own field samples in the Arctic (mainly Spitsbergen) and Antarctic. After we have established stabile lab cultures we provide unialgal strains to the scientific community together with initial information on taxonomy and culture requirements. Cryophilic algae are exposed to a variety of extreme environmental stress factors in their natural habitats. First and foremost, these include low temperatures, intense light and UV radiation, dehydration and greatly varying nutrient and salt contents. CCCryo bioresources are used to study their taxonomy and phylogeny as well as their various adaptation strategies, also e.g. on transcriptome, proteome or metabolome level. Though we are performing many basic research studies, our aim is to identify strains for an industrial application e.g. in the cosmetics, aquaculture, food processing or nutraceutical sector.

Quality Management System

CCCryo is known for the high quality of its strains. Strains are transferred to fresh agar slants every 1-12 months depending on their specific growth rate. Before each serial transfer the "old" agar slant is inspected using a binocular to detect obvious contaminations. At least every 2 years each strains is tested on bacterial test medium rich in organic components (beef extract, yeast extract, glucose, proteose peptone) and when in doubt, further light microscopical inspection is performed. Contaminated strains are purified applying single cell isolation, streaking, spraying or dilution techniques. Only in very rare cases we apply antibiotics. Approximately 2/3 of our CCCryo strains are unialgal and axenic (free from contaminating bacteria and fungi). Nearly 80 % of our strains are cryopreserved in our own cryopreservation facility (not all have been tested for survival though - that is why we rely on a live biobank). Of those cryopreserved strains we have a backup at the Fraunhofer IBMT in Sulzbach (Germany).