[24th, Aug 2013] The Culture Collection of Algae at the University of Texas at Austin, herein designated as “UTEX”, has been in continuous operation since 1953. It was established by Richard C. Starr at Indiana University… and was moved to its present site in 1976. Dr. Starr was the Director of UTEX from its inception until his untimely death in February of 1998, at which time Jerry J. Brand became the Director.
The principal resource of UTEX is its extensive collection of living algae. Nearly 2,800 different strains of algae, representing approximately 200 different genera, are provided to the public at modest charge. The Collection maintains an especially strong representation of freshwater and edaphic green algae and cyanobacteria, but includes representatives of most major algal taxa, including many marine macrophytic green and red algae. All strains in the Collection were obtained as isolates from natural sources, and no genetically altered strains are maintained. Approximately half of UTEX strains are axenic and all cultures are unialgal.
The Culture Collection of Algae is administrated as an Organized Research Unit of the University of Texas in Austin through the College of Natural Sciences. Its principal administrative officer is a Director who is responsible for establishing and enforcing policies regarding the management of UTEX. The resources of UTEX are managed through a Curator. The primary duties of UTEX staff are transferring cultures to fresh media on regular schedules, shipping cultures to users, keeping records related to sales and inventory, preparing media, and managing glassware.
The principal function of UTEX is the maintenance of its diverse stock of living algae, in order to make these algal strains available to a user community worldwide at modest cost. Cultures in the Collection are used especially for research, but also for biotechnology development, teaching, water quality assessment, food for aquatic animals, and a variety of other purposes. UTEX does not impose restrictions regarding the use of cultures that are purchased and does not assume any responsibility for cultures that are sold and sent away from the facility.
UTEX is a nonprofit organization. Principal financial support is obtained through the National Science Foundation of the U.S.A. Additional support comes from the College of Natural Sciences of The University of Texas at Austin and through the sale of cultures to the user community.
The Culture Collection of Algae at the University of Texas at Austin, herein designated as “UTEX”, has been in continuous operation since 1953. It was established by Richard C. Starr at Indiana University and was moved to its present site in 1976. Dr. Starr was the Director of UTEX from its inception until his untimely death in February of 1998, at which time Jerry J. Brand became the Director.
A major research interest of Jerry Brand is the mechanism of freezing damage in algal cells and processes that protect them from chilling and freezing damage. Studies are directed toward the development of improved processes for cryopreservation (freezing and storing for an indefinitely long period of time at liquid nitrogen temperature) of living algae. These studies have led to the development of protocols to that have facilitated the successful cryopreservation of nearly 2/3 of the strains in the Culture Collection of Algae at the University of Texas. Jerry Brand studies metabolic processes in cyanobacteria that influence their physiological characteristics and ecological distribution. Research in this laboratory is directed toward characterization of a recently discovered cyanobacterium that produces multicellular “nodules” and is capable of dinitrogen fixation in the absence of heterocysts. Additional work is directed toward nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria in microbial mats and methods that selectively inactivate or insert genes at specific sites in cyanobacterial genomes, using “Targetron” methodology. J. Brand interacts extensively with the community of scientists, engineers and business interests that is developing new commercial uses of algae, especially as a source of transportation fuel.