The BMCC of UPV/EHU presents its collection with the launching of its new website

The Basque Microalgae Culture Collection (BMCC), of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), maintains more than 600 strains of marine and freshwater microalgae and cyanobacteria, mainly from the Basque Country, although counts with species collected in different parts of the world.

This collection was registered within the World Federation for Culture Collections (WFCC, World Federation for Culture Collections) in 2020 and is part of the Spanish Network of Microorganisms (REDESMI). Among its taxonomical groups that can be found in collection in BMCC we can find different species of haptophytes, cryptophytes, dinoflagellates, chlorophytes, diatoms and cyanobacteria.

BMCC is part of the Plentzia Marine Station (PiE-UPV/EHU), which is one of the operators of the Spanish node of European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC-ERIC) and a partner in European Blue Biobank (EBB) project. BMCC facilitates access to biological resources with great biotechnological potential for both private and public companies or institutions. Moreover, the strains held at BMCC may play a pivotal role in biotechnological developments or be research focus leading to patent generation or scientific publication. Culture collections also play an important role preserving biodiversity, mission that has been recently underpinned under the biodiversity goals of the Convention of Biological Diversity and the entry into force of its Nagoya Protocol and its associated Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regulations.

In addition to supplying isolated algal strains already identified, the BMCC offers additional services such as the isolation and identification of species, the production and supply of culture media, the possibility of depositing strains in the collection or the characterization of some compounds present in microalgae. Such services are available for companies or researchers, both for basic and applied research.

This collection opens its doors to the rest of the world through its new website, which has an access portal that has been funded by EBB project, and that can be visited in this link

Workshop: “How to Do Nagoya: access to marine genetic resources in compliance with ABS regulations”

Last Friday, January 29, as part of the agenda of Assemble Plus 2021 Conference, members of the EBB project, together with the ABS Working group of EMBRC, organized and held an online event where the main outputs and results of the EBB project were launched.

The EMBRC Executive Director, Nicolas Pade, introduced the workshop and its objectives. He explained the role of Biological Resources Centres (BRCs) in helping researchers to carry out their “due diligence” regarding Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) legislation. He also presented the work that EMBRC is doing to bring its BRCs up to date and in compliance with ABS regulations. Finally, he presented the members of the ABS Working group of EMBRC.

The first part of the workshop was dedicated to present two outputs developed in the frame of the EBB project.  Anne Emmanuelle Kervella, from CNRS and Station Biologique de Roscoff, presented “The EBB | EMBRC guide to ABS compliance”, which provides recommendations to institutions with collections and users of marine biological resources to comply with the ABS legislation. She briefly introduced the Nagoya Protocol, the European ABS Regulation and the marine genetic resources in scope of these regulations. She highlighted that the implementation of all the requirements in institutions and biobanks produce an impact on the activities, policies and organization of the research institutions. Then, she provided an overview of the structure and main contents included in “The EBB | EMBRC guide to ABS compliance”.

Then, Ian Probert, from the Station Biologique de Roscoff, presented a step-by-step guide which is a practical to-do-list for individual scientists from academia or private sector conducting research on “marine genetic resources”. This document recommends users to follow a 6-step iterative process by answering some questions in an iterative way. The guide presents action and provides tips for each of the 6 steps.

A round of question-answers followed these presentations to close the first part of the workshop.

The second part of the workshop was dedicated to showcase research projects that have taken into practice the indications appearing in the EBB/EMBRC guide to ABS compliance. First, Arnaud Larroquette, EMBRC ABS Compliance Officer, started a round table entitled “How to take all this into practice”, showing the results of an audit of the genetic resources held in EBB collections.

Then, three use cases of users of services and resources at marine biological stations were presented. Christian Galasso (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn), Daniel García Souto (CiMUS, University of Santiago de Compostela) and Fernando Reyes (Fundación Medina) shared their experiences as users of marine genetic resources from different European countries. The three short presentations were followed by a section with questions and answers, with participation of researchers, managers of research institutions and even ABS national focal point representatives.

Fiz da Costa from ECIMAT-Marine Research Center of the University of Vigo and Ibon Cancio from PiE-UPV/EHU of the University of Basque Country were the moderators of this successful event, with participation of more than 70 persons of different nationalities.

The video recording of this event is available on the EMBRC YouTube channel at this link.