About Lege

Collecting samples since 1991


Blue Biotechnology and Ecotoxicology Culture Collection (LEGE-CC) is a biological resource centre located at Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR), that comprises more than 1000 different cyanobacterial and microalgae strains.

Isolates have been obtained since 1991, from samples collected in different environments and locations. LEGE-CC strains were mainly isolated from Portuguese ecosystems (including Madeira and Azores Islands) but also from other countries worldwide (e.g. Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Morocco, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cape Verde).

The fact that most part of our strains were obtained from Portugal associated with rich phylogenetic diversity among cyanobacteria and microalgae groups confers uniqueness to LEGE-CC.

Our strains are being screened over the years for a diverse range of purposes and targeting different applications and activities (e.g. anti-cancer, anti-biofouling, anti-microbial, anti-biofilm, anti-obesogenic and related diseases, cosmetics, food, etc.).

several studies demonstrated that our LEGE-CC stains have potential and effective capacity to produce a diverse array of metabolites, including toxins (e.g. microcystins, anatoxin, cylindrospermopsin and BMAA) or newly discovered molecules (Portoamides, Hierridin B and C, Bartolosides, Nocuolin A, etc).

LEGE-CC is member of World Federation for Culture Collections (WFCC), European Culture Collections Organisation (ECCO) and it is also part of the Research Infrastructure EMBRC.PT

As other biological resource centres worldwide, LEGE-CC seeks to provide several services (e.g. provision of starter cultures for diverse purposes, isolation and identification of strains, cyanotoxins analysis, cryopreservation, training courses, etc.).

Meet the team


Vitor Vasconcelos

BSc in Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto | PhD in Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto

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

BSc in Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto | MSc in Biology and Water Quality | PhD Student in Marine Biotechnology and Aquaculture

Originally from Viana do Castelo, 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 Biology and Water Quality 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 management and 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, EBB, etc.


Flavio Oliveira

BSc Biological Sciences, Faculty Anhanguera de Bauru | MSc in Biology and Water Quality, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto

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


Raquel Silva

BSc in Applied Biology, University of Minho | MSc Molecular Biology, Biotechnology and Bioentrepreneurship in Plants, University of Minho | Pos-Graduated Quality Control, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto

I initiated my academic path at University of Minho, where I completed my BSc degree in Applied Biology. Having developed particular interest on the medicinal uses of plant bioactive compounds. Thereafter, I enrolled the master course in Molecular Biology, Biotechnology and Bioentrepreneurship in Plants, in University of Minho, where I acquired valuable knowledge on plant molecular biology, plant secondary metabolic pathways, plant tissue culture and engineering, and industrial biotechnology. Having developed great affinity towards understanding plant responses to environmental stress on a genetic basis, I initiated my master thesis on the “Genetic basis of ABA-GA hormonal cross-talk in the control of flowering time in Arabidopsis”, under the supervision of Professor Lucio Conti from the Department of Biosciences of Università degli Studi di Milano part of the ERASMUS+ program. During this project I had the opportunity to improve techniques including in vitro culture, genetics and transcript/protein analyses and also computational/statistics among other molecular and biochemical approaches. Currently I am working on LEGE-CC maintenance, mostly on a molecular level with the identification of strains.