About Us


Mailing Address

UTEX Culture Collection of Algae
205 W. 24th St, Biological Labs 218
The University of Texas at Austin (A6700)
Austin, TX 78712 USA

Business Office

Hours: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM CST
Monday-Friday (excluding Holidays)
Phone: (512) 471-4019
Fax: (512) 471-0354

History, Structure, and Purposes

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 Dr. Jerry J. Brand became the Director.

The principal resource of UTEX is its extensive collection of living algae. Over 3,000 different strains of algae, representing approximately 200 different genera, are provided to the public for a modest charge. The Collection maintains an especially strong representation of freshwater and soil algae. Green algae and cyanobacteria are prominent, but UTEX contains representatives of most major algal taxa, including 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 for public distribution are unialgal.

The Culture Collection of Algae is administrated as an Organized Research Unit of the University of Texas at 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 cultures available at modest cost to a user community worldwide. Cultures in the Collection are used for research, teaching, water quality assessment, biotechnology development, food for aquatic animals and a variety of other purposes. UTEX does not impose restrictions regarding the use of purchased cultures and does not assume any responsibility for cultures that are sent away from the facility.

Principal financial support for UTEX is obtained through the sale of cultures and other goods and services to the user community. Additional support is provided through the U.S. National Science Foundation and the College of Natural Sciences of The University of Texas at Austin.

UTEX Culture Collection of Algae | Fall 2015
UTEX Culture Collection of Algae Staff | Fall 2015

Dr. David R. Nobles, Curator

Dr. David R. Nobles, Jr. earned a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. He studied under Dr. R. Malcolm Brown, Jr., a noted phycologist, microscopist, cell biologist, and leading cellulose researcher. During his time in the R. Malcolm Brown, Jr. Laboratory, Dr. Nobles became familiar with diverse algae via the study of cell wall biosynthesis. His doctoral research focused on the cell biology, molecular biology, and biotechnological aspects of cellulose biosynthesis by cyanobacteria. He received the Outstanding Dissertation Award for his dissertation entitled "Cellulose in the Cyanobacteria". His postdoctoral research focused on the development of cyanobacteria as sources for biofuel feedstocks. To date, he has developed methods for the cyanobacterial production of cellulose, glucose, and sucrose. Dr. Nobles is a co-author of multiple patents based on this research and is a founding member of Phykotek, Inc., a startup company dedicated to the production of cyanobacterial feedstocks. His current research interests include expanding the number of sequenced algal genomes; the development of novel algal systems for genetic and metabolic engineering; utilizing the amazing diversity of algae for biotechnological applications including the production of pharmaceuticals, biomass, and biofuels; and the use of algae for CO2 mitigation.

Selected Publications

McCluskey K, Bates S, Boundy-Mills K, Broggiato A, Cova A, Desmeth P, DebRoy C, Fravel D, Garrity G, Jiménez Gasco M, Joseph L, Linder D, Lomas M, Morton J, Nobles D, Turner J, Ward T, Wertz J, Wiest A, and Geiser D. (2014) Meeting Report: 2nd Workshop of the United States Culture Collection Network. May 19-21, 2014, State College, PA, USA. Standards in Genomic Sciences 9(1):27.

Brand J, Nobles D, Andersen R. (2013) Maintenance of Microalgae in Culture Collections in Handbook of microalgal culture: applied phycology and biotechnology. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, p 80.

Monteiro C, Saxena I, Wang X, Kader A, Bokranz W, Simm R, Nobles D, Chromek M, Brauner A, Brown RM Jr, Römling U. (2009) Characterization of cellulose production in Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 and its biological consequences. Environmental Microbiology 11:1105.

Nobles D and Brown R. (2008) Transgenic expression of Gluconacetobacter xylinus strain ATCC 53582 cellulose synthase genes in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus leopoliensis strain UTCC 100. Cellulose 15: 691.

Nobles D and Brown R. (2007) Many Paths up the Mountain: Tracking the Evolution of Cellulose Biosynthesis, in Brown, RM Jr. and Saxena IM eds., Cellulose: Molecular and Structural Biology. Springer, The Netherlands, p 1.

Nobles D and Brown R. (2004) The Pivotal Role of Cyanobacteria in the Evolution of Cellulose Synthases and Cellulose Synthase-Like Proteins. Cellulose, 11: 437.

Nobles D, Romanovicz D, Brown R.(2001) Cellulose in the Cyanobacteria. Origin of Vascular Plant Cellulose Synthase? Plant Physiology, 127: 529.


Title Patent Number Year Filed Inventors
Expression of Foreign Cellulose Synthase Genes in Photosynthetic Prokaryotes (Cyanobacteria)
R. Malcolm Brown, Jr.
David R. Nobles, Jr.
Transgenic cyanobacteria: A novel direct secretion of glucose for the production of biofuels
R. Malcolm Brown, Jr.
David R. Nobles, Jr.
Controlled, direct secretion of sucrose by cyanobacteria for the production of biofuels and plastics
R. Malcolm Brown, Jr.
David R. Nobles, Jr.
A cellulose producing marine cyanobacterium for ethanol production
R. Malcolm Brown, Jr.
David R. Nobles, Jr.

Dr. Schonna R. Manning, R&D

Dr. Schonna R. Manning began her career in phycology more than a decade ago investigating harmful blooms and toxic polyketide metabolites from golden algae (Prymnesium parvum, Haptophyta). She earned a Ph.D. in Plant Biology and was presented the Research Excellence Award for her dissertation, “Molecular and phytochemical investigations of the harmful, bloom-forming alga, Prymnesium parvum Carter (Haptophyta)”. During a Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dr. Manning aided with the development of novel methods for the extraction, separation and identification of lipids relevant to the production of microalgae for biofuels and high-value natural products.

Dr. Manning oversees CCA research, education and development projects related to microalgal strain selection, biochemistry and the analysis of biomass composition. Her research integrates metabolomics-based techniques to unravel the synthesis of unique biomolecules, intersecting disciplines of biochemistry, molecular biology and analytical chemistry. Her group investigates diverse strains of microalgae to elucidate the structure, assembly and potential roles of bioactive compounds, as well as practical applications of microalgae, including fuels, feedstocks and specialty chemicals. Related projects include photobioreactor optimization for the large-scale cultivation of microalgae at the Welch Greenhouse and pilot-scale Algae Culturing Facility. Dr. Manning also assists with the development and instruction of educational workshops at UTEX, and she is currently appointed the Co-Director of the ASU-ATP3 Education and Training Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Selected Publications

Talarski AE, Manning SR, La Claire JW. In press. Transcriptome analysis of the euryhaline alga, Prymnesium parvum Carter (Haptophyta): effects of salinity on differential gene expression. Phycologia.

La Claire JW, Manning SR, Talarski AE. 2015. Semi-quantitative assay for polyketide prymnesins isolated from Prymnesium parvum (Haptophyta) cultures. Toxicon 102 (2015), 74-80.

La Claire JW, Manning SR. April 2015. Ichthyotoxins, In: Phycotoxins: Chemistry and Biochemistry, 2nd edition (Eds. L. Botana and A. Alfonso), Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, US. ISBN: 978-1-118-50036-1, 552 pages.

Manning SR, La Claire JW. 2013. Isolation of polyketide toxins from Prymnesium parvum Carter (Haptophyta) and their detection by LC/MS metabolic fingerprint analysis. Anal Biochem 442 (2), 189-195.

Jones J, Manning SR, Montoya M, Keller K, Poenie M. 2012. Extraction of algal lipids and their analysis by HPLC and mass spectrometry. J Am Oil Chem Soc 89 (8), 1371-1381.

Manning SR, La Claire JW. 2010. Prymnesins: toxic metabolites of the golden alga, Prymnesium parvum Carter (Haptophyta). Mar Drugs 8(3), 678-704.

Manning SR, La Claire JW. 2010. Multiplex PCR methods for the species-specific detection and quantification of Prymnesium parvum (Haptophyta). J Appl Phycology 22 (1), 587-597.