General FAQs

How much does a culture cost?

All cultures are the same price, except for cultures ordered through Algae Express. All US academic and US government users are charged US $60 per tube and all other users are charged US $120 per tube. Algae Express cultures cost $180 per tube.

Academic and Government Institutions within the United States should enter one of the following discount codes at the checkout screen. You must include the name of the institute you are affiliated with under the 'Company' field in order to qualify. 

  • US Academic: us/acad
  • US Government: us/gov


What does the prefix 'LB' mean?
LB liquid, xenic culture
B agar, xenic culture
(no prefix) agar, axenic culture
How much is it to ship to my country?
$25 USD Continental USA
$45 USD Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, & Puerto Rico
$55 USD South America
$60 USD Europe, Australia, & New Zealand
$65 USD Asia
$75 USD South Africa
When will I receive my order?

Regular Orders (non-Algae Express)
Orders are shipped on a weekly basis. Regular (non-Algae Express) orders placed by Wednesday, 5 pm CST, are shipped the following Monday. If there is a U.S. national holiday that falls on a Monday, orders will be shipped the next business day.

Algae Express Orders
Algae Express orders are only available to ship within the continental United States via UPS Next Day Air. Ordering deadlines for this service are Monday-Thursday (excluding U.S. Holidays) between 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM (Noon) CST. Orders placed on Fridays will not ship out until the next available business day. Algae Express is currently not available for international orders and U.S. customers outside of the contiguous United States. UTEX continues to look into expanding the availability of this service to our customers outside of the continental United States.

What strains can you recommend for biodiesel?

We are not currently studying this topic. You should check publications for information: Algal Oil Yields.

How can I get my culture to grow faster?

We do not aim for optimum growth here at UTEX. Investigators are urged to consult the available literature for alternative media, shaking, or CO2 infusion if optimum growth is an important consideration in their research.

How long will the living algal strain last?

Cultures should last for a few weeks, maybe months, depending on the strain as long as the culture has proper care.

How do I care for my culture once I receive it?

The screw-cap should be loosened, not removed to allow for gas exchange and if this practice is not customary in your laboratory a note next to the culture may be a good idea. Place the culture tube in an appropriately lighted room or incubator and provide a photoperiod of 16 hours light: 8 hours dark. The culture should be kept at room temperature or 20 °C unless noted in the culture notes.

Those who receive cultures are encouraged to duplicate within reason the conditions used in the Collection, when handling newly acquired cultures, to reduce the chance of losing the culture. After a stock culture is established, subcultures may be used for testing other conditions. Visit the UTEX Culture Maintenance page for additional information and specifications utilized at UTEX.

How do I find cultures with specific characteristics?

Search for desired characteristics in the Search box.

I cannot find a UTEX culture?

UTEX algal cultures are living organisms whose availability can change from week to week. Cultures are removed from the online catalog if they are not considered healthy or if they are being cleaned of contamination. Recovering a culture, or bringing a culture back to health again, is labor intensive. It can take anywhere from 4 weeks to a few months before an organism is successfully recovered.

You can request to be placed on a notification list for any particular UTEX strain that is not currently available for ordering. When the strain is recovered, UTEX will send an email notifying you of the update.

Ordering & Shipping FAQs

Ordering Policies

Individuals/Commercial Companies
Orders that are purchased by individuals or commercial companies are required to pay in advance. Any exception must be approved in writing (fax or contact form) by UTEX before the order can be processed.

Academic/Government Institutions
Academic or government institutions are requested to pay before their order is processed. However, institutions that maintain separate shipping and billing addresses may pay after receipt of their order. A purchase order number and the address to which the bill should be sent must be provided (preferably by fax) on a business letterhead with the order. Full payment is due within 30 days of receipt of the order.

Replacement Policy

All requests for replacement strains must be submitted to the UTEX Culture Collection Manager within 48 hours of receiving your package.  Visit the Shipping and Replacement Policies page for additional information.

Replacement Request Form
Shipping Policy

Orders are only shipped on Mondays (or Tuesday following a Monday holiday). No cultures are shipped during the weeks of Christmas and New Year's Day. Visit the Shipping and Replacement Policies page for additional information.

Preparation of Shipment

Agar and liquid cultures for an order are packaged within a Styrofoam™ box and shipped on the same day they are packed. UTEX makes no attempt to quantify the number of organisms or other characteristics of the culture. UTEX only guarantees the identity of the organism as specified in the strain history.

Agar Cultures
Aliquots of algal strains that are maintained on agar slants are transferred to the surface of fresh slants in 20-mm diameter glass screw-cap tubes in preparation for shipment. The fresh inocula are grown in a diurnal light cycle for at least 3 days until a macroscopically visible lawn appears.

Liquid Cultures
Approximately 15 mL aliquots of strains that are maintained as liquid cultures are transferred to screw-cap tubes on the day of shipment.