Training in culture and isolation methods

Custom-designed workshops of 1-3 days providing basic training in culturing algae and cyanobacteria are offered on demand throughout the year. The length of the workshop depends on your needs and previous experience. Typically the workshop will cover sterile technique, media preparation, culture procedures, isolation and purification techniques but this can be modified according to your specific requirements.

Introduction to culturing algae and cyanobacteria

The aim of this introductory course is to provide general training in culture techniques for freshwater/marine microalgae and cyanobacteria. Basic techniques for green algae, cyanobacteria, diatoms, cryptophytes and chrysophytes will be covered according to the needs of the participants. Possible topics include the following:

  1. Preparation of appropriate types of liquid and solid media for freshwater/marine algae and cyanobacteria including: nutrient stock solution preparation and storage, autoclaving, trouble-shooting problems with media
  2. Preparation and storage of agar plates and slants
  3. Cleaning glassware to culture specifications
  4. Sterile technique, including laminar flow hood maintenance
  5. Handling and maintaining axenic cultures; sterility testing
  6. Sub-culturing and maintaining stock cultures over long periods. Factors affecting culture health, such as light, temperature, pH, nutrients and aeration
  7. Trouble-shooting problems with growth of the cultures; possible solutions
  8. Assessment of cultures by microscopic analysis, including cell counts
  9. Techniques of isolation and preparation of clonal cultures from field samples using single cell washing
  10. Introduction to algal identification via microscopy
  11. Introduction to cryopreservation of algae and cyanobacteria

The course may be modified according to the specific requirements of the participant(s). For experienced participants, many of the topics could be covered in one day. For others a 2-day workshop is highly recommended. The workshop will be conducted at the CPCC facility and will be taught by the Technical Curator, Heather Roshon, although the former Curator of the CPCC, Judy Acreman may also be available for those topics requiring greater expertise (e.g., cryopreservation). The course will begin at approximately 9:00 AM with a lunch break around noon and end at approximately 5:00 PM. Accommodations and meals are not included; students may bring their own bagged lunches or purchase them from various vendors on campus. If interested in learning single-cell isolation, students are encouraged to bring their own field samples.


Please see the list of fees for pricing. An extra person from your institution or company can be included for an additional charge of 50%. Workshop fees are subject to 13% HST. A certificate of participation and a culturing handbook written by Judy Acreman will be supplied to each student.


Dates for the workshop can be arranged by contacting the CPCC by phone or email at least 1-2 months in advance of the requested date for the training. If an already booked workshop is cancelled by the customer within two weeks prior to the date of the workshop, a $200 cancellation fee will apply. There will be a maximum of 3 participants in the course in order to provide hands-on training. Preferred days of the week for workshops are Thursdays and/or Fridays. Wednesdays may also be accommodated.