NCMA sharing expertise and knowledge


The National Center for Marine Algae and Microbiota (NCMA) is up to its algal ears in projects. Summer ended with Director Mike Lomas' presentation at the Maine Seaweed Festival on the Southern Maine Community College's campus on Saturday, August 30 about resources that NCMA and Bigelow Analytical Services can provide to benefit the macroalgae industry. The Festival was designed to highlight the diverse uses and benefits of seaweed and to bring parties together to create a viable and vibrant seaweed industry in Maine. Lomas was joined by Dr. Steve Archer, Tim Pinkham, and Sara Yentsch, who staffed a Bigelow Laboratory booth at the daylong event.

Fall revved up executing a contract with Michigan-based Health Enhancement Products, Inc. (HEPI), a firm that develops and commercializes natural compounds and bioactive molecules derived from algal and bacterial hosts. NCMA is helping HEPI source the bioactive agent to use in HEPI's nutritional supplement by growing several of their strains in mass culture. This entails growing algae in large volumes of liquid and then shipping it to HEPI to continue product development at the other end. NCMA is also holding HEPI's cultures in its Private Collection to ensure a backup is always available.

Late September brings with it more events. Dr. Pete Countway will be presenting at the semi-annual meeting of the U.S. Culture Collection Network, which coordinates research initiatives of members within the network. Countway will address the interactions between culture collections and their users with a specific focus on molecular biological research done with culture strains at the September 23-34 meeting at the Phaff Yeast Culture Collection at the University of California, Davis.

Countway and Yentsch will again be on the road from September 29-October 3 representing NCMA at the 8^th annual Algae Biomass Summit in San Diego, CA. The Summit is the world's largest algae event and a nexus of innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and policy makers attend. This large event provides a platform to learn about new research and technology at every level of the supply chain in the algae industry. The NCMA will be promoting the diversity of its culture collection, its expertise in culturing algae, and collaborations with industry. To draw visitors to its booth, the NCMA will raffle off a chance for 50 percent off the cost of tuition for its next Algal Culturing Techniques course that will take place May 31-June 6, 2015.

All of these initiatives are designed to share NCMA's knowledge, expertise, and products and match the needs of research, industry, and academic partners and potential collaborators. Photo Caption: NCMA's contract with HEPI, Inc. requires growing vast amounts of algae in equally vast amounts of water, which is then filtered to concentrate algal strains. Mike Preston is filtering the water.