• Institution: SAG Culture Collection
  • Acronym: SAG
  • Location:
    Nikolausberger Weg 18
    D- 37073 Goettingen
  • Website: http://www.epsag.uni-goettingen.de
  • Correspondent:
    Prof. Thomas Friedl (Director) & Dr. Maike Lorenz (Curator)
    Tel.: +49 (0) 551 39 5740
    Fax: +49 (0) 551 39 7871
    e-mail: sag@eccosite.org

Members holdings

The SAG Culture Collection is a living resource of culture material of algae serving research, teaching and biotechnology communities worldwide. The SAG is a non-profit making organization and is maintained by the University of Göttingen.

The SAG Culture Collection of Algae primarily comprises microscopic algae and cyanobacteria from freshwater or terrestrial habitats, but also marine algae are available. The collection covers an extremely broad taxonomic range with algae and cyanobacteria originating from an equally diverse variety of geographical and ecological niches.

With presently over 2400 strains (representing 538 genera and 1424 species) the SAG is among the three largest culture collections of algae in the world. Various research projects are closely linked with the SAG culture collection.

Services offered

SAG provides living cultures of algae primarily for research purpose, but also for education and environmental applications. The culture strains are available for use by all interested individuals and organisations. As an important service culture collection, the SAG dispatches about 2500 cultures per year. Customers are scientists world wide from various types of institutions, industry, environmental research agencies. About half of the orders from within Germany are from Universities for teaching purposes. The SAG is part of the Georg-August University of Göttingen, which covers all staff costs and provides culture rooms and laboratories, but the running costs of the collection are exclusively financed by the dispatch of culture strains.


The research focus of the department is on microscopic algae. Algae represent an enormously diverse group of phototrophic primary producers with key roles in carbon fixation and oxygen production, abundant in almost all ecosystems on earth. The extent of the diversity of microalgae, from the prokaryotic cyanobacteria to the closest relatives of higher plants, is still only little understood. To investigate their phylogenetic relationships and to assess their diversity, molecular analyses are performed at the department. At present, a team of 14 researchers and technicians is working on the following topics.

Molecular Evolution

  • Sequence analysis of certain marker molecules (genes of ribosomal RNAs) are used to assess the phylogenetic relationship of certain algal groups, including green algae, diatoms and cyanobacteria.

The use of genetic fingerprints for characterisation of microalgal strains-an important molecular tool to determine the biodiversity on and below species level.

  • A precise genetical characterisation of raw material is one important criteria of quality for many biotechnological applications.

Assessment of biodiversity from biofilms that are dominated by algae by molecular methods

  • DNA fingerprints, Clone libraries, Sequence analysis of ribosomal DNA and denaturated Gradient-Gelelectrophoresis (DGGE) are used to detect microalgae, which are only present in traces and hard to cultivate.

Cryoperservation and Conservation of microalgae

  • Development of protocols for cryopreservation of microalgae in ultra low temperatures (Cryopreservation)
    Effects of cryopreservation on phenotypic stability involve physiological and biochemical tests.
    Development and assessment of genotypic & phenotypic post-preservation stability tests. Test for genetic stability of cryopreserved and cultured strains using molecular approaches, i.e. rDNA-sequencing, AFLP- and Hip1 fragment analyses.