Laboratory of Algal Biology (Algo-Lab)

Keywords: microalgae, cyanobacteria, algal cultures, harmful algal blooms, toxic algae, mucilage, secondary metabolites, allelopathic substances, algal biotechnology


The laboratory of Algal Biology, located at the BiGeA UOS section of Ravenna, via Sant' Alberto 163, is specialized in the study of photosynthetic microorganisms and macroalgae.

The laboratory provides a wide collection of over a hundred strains of microalgae and cyanobacteria, mostly isolated from natural samples, which have been kept in culture since 1992. The research, teaching and third-party activities of the lab concern the interactions of algae and cyanobacteria with humans and the environment.

Studies focus on:

  • Investigation of phytoplanktonic organisms that cause blooms with negative impacts on the ecosystem, human health and/or economic activities;
  • allelopathic interactions between algae and zoo-benthic communities;
  • algal biotechnology, for the cultivation, growth optimization, and scaling-up in photobioreactors and pilot open ponds of micro and macroalgae biomass and biomolecules (i.e. carotenoids, fatty acids) for industrial exploitation.


Instrumentation available to the laboratory

In addition to the basic equipment, the Laboratory is equipped with the following instruments:

  • 1 refrigerated floor centrifuge;
  • 1 vertical autoclave
  • 2 inverted optical microscopes;
  • 1 inverted optical microscope equipped with fluorescent lamp and an image capturing system;
  • 1 sterile laminar flow hood;
  • 3 thermostatic chambers for microalgae cultures;
  • 2 x 70 L anular photobioreactors;
  • 1 elemental analyzer (CHNS-O);
  • 1 dual beam UV/VIS spectrophotometer;
  • 1 PAM fluorometer;
  • 1 HPLC - DAD;
  • 1 GC - MS;
  • Instrumentation for field sampling and analysis: Niskin bottle, phytoplankton net, integrated water column sampler, PAR light meter, multiparameter water probe.


Didactic, training and research activities

The laboratory offers its own resources to support: 

  • Practice for Bachelor and Master degrees in: Environmental Sciences (BSc); Environmental Assessment and Management (MSc); Marine Biology (MSc).
  • Preparation of BSc, MSc, and PhD theses;
  • Development of research projects


Services and consulting activities

The laboratory offers the following service activities, consultancy, and technology transfer for individuals and companies in the sector, regulated by a specific price list:

  • Quantitative and qualitative determination of phytoplankton in water samples;
  • Isolation, purification and supply of algal strains/cultures;
  • Analysis of algal biomass in terms of proteins, polysaccharides and lipids content;
  • Determination of pigments (chlorophyll a, carotenoids and phycobiliproteins)
  • Feasibility studies for algal cultivation


Thermostatic chamber containing the culture collection of microalgae and cyanobacteria of the ALGOLAB

70 L anular photobioreactors

Inverted optical microscope

Elemental analyzer (CHNS-O)