About Lege

Collecting samples since 1991


LEGE is the acronym for the Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology Culture Collection at CIIMAR, Portugal. It comprises more than 380 cyanobacterial strains, several of them unique among the phylogenetic diversity of the group. LEGE is a comprehensive Biological Resource Centre of living culture material of cyanobacteria. Strains currently at LEGE were primarily isolated by members from the Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology lab group, at CIIMAR. They have been obtained since 1991, from samples collected in different environments and locations mainly in Portugal (including Islands).

LEGE is member of World Federation for Culture Collections (WFCC, WDCM #1089), and it is also part of EMBRC.PT, the Portuguese node of the research infrastructure European Marine Biological Resource Centre.

LEGE seeks to provide products (i.e. strain cultures), services and expertise to national, regional and international stakeholders, for different aims (e.g. R&D in academia and industry; science education & dissemination).

Meet the team


Vitor Vasconcelos

And all started with the first Microcystis aeruginosa strains isolated since 1991 from several water bodies in Portugal during my PhD thesis in Toxicology of cyanobacteria at the Faculty of Sciences of Porto University, with some work done also at the University of Helsinki (Finland) and at the Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio (USA). My research interests were initially the toxins produced by cyanobacteria and their impact in environmental and human health and resulted in the first Monitoring Program of Toxic Cyanobacteria in Portugal together with the General Directorate of Health. But cyanobacteria produce much more than just toxins and lately my research interests also deal with unraveling bioactive compounds produced by cyanobacteria using genomic, proteomic and bioassay guided approaches. The Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology Culture Collection has expanded to more genera, species and environments (marine, brackish and freshwater, soil), and I am interested to find new bioactive compounds with pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, nutraceutical and antifouling properties. Recent projects like MARBIOTECH (ON2), NOMORFILM or BLUEandGREEN (H2020) are recent examples of such applications.


João Morais

Originally from Viana do Castelo (north of Portugal), I completed a degree in Biology at University of Porto. In 2006 I have joined the Laboratory of Ecotoxicology Genomics and Evolution (LEGE), nowadays designated as Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology (BBE) to work with cyanobacteria, theirs toxins and possible implications in the environment and human health. After this I completed a MSc in Water Management under the supervision of Vitor Vasconcelos by research the assessment of cyanobacterial toxinogenic genotypes and estimation of toxin content in urban lakes, also at University of Porto. My job within the Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology Culture Collection (LEGE-CC) is the maintenance of the collection and strain holdings data, legislation related issues such as Nagoya Protocol, management of LEGE-CC database and website. I also contribute to increase the biodiversity by isolating and identifying new strains of microalgae, mainly cyanobacteria. I am also collaborator in several national and international projects, such as NOMORFILM, CYANCAN, NOVOMAR, EMBRC, EMERTOX, etc.

Diogo Cruz

José Diogo Cruz holds a MSc in Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology, from Aveiro University. During that moment, he won the “Technological-Based Entrepreneurial Skills” program (Iberian CEBT, 2015). Then he did an internship to work in the EU project SPLASH in AlgaePARC at Wageningen and Research University, Netherlands. Currently, he is a research fellow at Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology (BBE) group, working in the Interreg EnhanceMicroAlgae project. He is also involved in the curation of the Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology Culture Collection (LEGE-CC). He is highly interested on the scientific and entrepreneur approach for microalgae cultivation, PBR operation and downstream processing.

Flávio Oliveira

Originally from Pederneiras, Brazil, I completed a degree in Biological Sciences course in 2015 at Faculty Anhanguera de Bauru. In Portugal, I completed my master’s degree in Biology and Water Quality Management at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto. In 2017 I joined the Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology (BBE) group to develop the experimental work: ‘Physiological responses of the marine mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis exposed to toxic cyanobacteria Microcystis aeruginosa and Chrysosporum ovalisporum‘. I am currently working on the NOMORFILM project – Novel Marine Biomolecules against Biofilm – Application to Medical Devices. In this project, my main activities are the cultivation of microalgae and the extraction of bioactive compounds from selected cyanobacterial strains that will be tested for antibacterial and antibiofilm potential. At this moment (2019), I start the work at LEGE CC to give technical support for maintenance of the strains