Banco Español de Algas









1985.- The embryo of the Group of Applied Algology, from the old Polytechnic University of the Canaries, started up with the motto "sun and seawater can grow more than tourists. "

1995.- The Center of Applied Algology -ULPGC (now the BEA-ULPGC) creates a collection of microalgae in 1995 thanks to a generous donation from Dr. Ziiadine Ramazanov (scientist in the former USSR at the Soviet Academy of Science’s Institute of Plant Physiology and Astrobiology, who worked in the IAA in 1995-96), who gives his personal collection of microalgae to the IAA, thus helping to introduce us to the field of biotechnology of microalgae. Before that date, the applied phycology group only worked with macroalgae in the fields of in vitro cultures, population genetics and intensive cultures.

1996.- The CBM-BEA loses most of its microalga collection due to a  5-month electrical outage. Dr. Ramazanov emigrates to the USA, publishes several books and creates a successful plant biotechnology company.

1998.- The paperwork is started to obtain WIPO accreditation for the BEA as an International Depositary Authority pursuant to the Budapest Treaty. The OEPM (Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, and the Spanish Type Culture Collection (, University of Valencia) provide us with invaluable help in the cumbersome proceedings to achieve international accreditation for the BEA, a process that lasts until 2005.

1999.- Letter of support from the Council for Scientific Research (Dr. Miguel García Guerrero, CSIC- MEC) to consolidate the BEA (after an inspection visit to the facilities of what was then called the Centro de Algología Aplicada (Applied Phycology Center) – ULPGC).

 Letter of support from the Spanish Phycology Society to consolidate the BEA (after an inspection visit to the facilities of what was then called the Centro de AlgologĂ­a Aplicada (Applied Phycology Center) – ULPGC).


 The Board of the ULPGC signs an agreement to break up the CBM-BEA . Following arduous litigation, which ended in 2003 with the final ruling from Spain’s Constitutional Court, the CBM-BEA is left intact.


2000.- The BEA is accepted as a member of the ECCO (European Culture Collection Organization)


2001.- Spain’s Parliament (Draft Law 161/000706 of 30 April 2001-Series D, No. 170) urges the government to establish the Spanish Algae Bank at the ULPGC’s Applied Phycology Center and to accredit it as an International Depositary Authority pursuant to the Budapest Treaty.


2003.- The BEA becomes a member of the WFCC (World Federation of Culture Collections) and receives registration number 837 in the WFCC-MIRCEN World Data Center for Microorganisms  (

 The ULPGC endorses the CBM’s bylaws, which define the BEA as one of the two Services (the other being Flow Cytometry) offered by the Spanish Bank of Algae – ULPGC. The CBM and the BEA are finally recognized by the ULPGC.

2004.- Spain’s Ministry of Education and Science (MEC) awards the first and only financial grant conceded to the BEA prior to 2010 (every other local, regional and national grant request was rejected) through its 2003-2006 Complementary Actions aid program (45,000 €).

 The BNA collaborates in the first study of oceanic toxic algal blooms in the Canary Islands (summer 2004), commissioned by the Government of the Canaries Council on Agriculture, Fishing and Food. Resulting from this effort was the paper Novel Bloom of Trichodesmium erythraeum in the NW African Upwelling (Ramos A, Martel A, Codd GA, Soler E, Coca J, Redondo A, Morrison, LF, Metcalf JS, Suárez S, Petit M,  Marine Ecology Progress Series (2005) 301: 303-305). The year before the CBM-BEA had warned of the risk of toxic microalgal Aphanizomenon spp blooms in reservoirs on the island of Grand Canary. When the bloom of toxic cyanobacteria became evident three months later, the drainage basin had to be closed off and irrigation suspended.

There are certified reports of hospitalizations in the Canaries due to the consumption of fish containing microalgal toxins.
The risks of HAB (Harmful Algal Blooms) and their increased incidence due to climate change starts to be taken seriously by government officials.

2005.- The BEA is accredited as an International Depositary Authority for the purposes of patent procedure. The complex process to accredit the BEA/CBM as an International Depositary Authority (for patent purposes) pursuant to the Budapest Treaty  ( successfully culminates on 28 October 2005 with the publication of its accreditation in the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Official Bulletin (Budapest Notification No. 239 - Thanks to the foresight of previous efforts, in 2010 the BEA receives state funds for the creation of a national collection of microalgae.

 The BEA organizes the Tropical and Subtropical Cyanoprokaryota Workshop 2005 (TSCW2005), in cooperation with Proexca, the Industry Council of the Grand Canary, the Caja Rural de Canarias Foundation, La Caixa, the ULPGC Board, the Ocean Sciences Department of the ULPGC and the spin-off company Seaweed Canarias.

2007.- The MEC provides funds for staffing one Scientific-Technological Infrastructure Specialist at the Spanish Algae Bank (BEA), PTA-2003-01-00759.


2009.- The Minister of Science and Innovation, Dr. Cristina Garmendia, announces the consolidation of the BEA-CBM. “The BEA will serve as a national research service to promote microalgae-based bio-industries, it will create and maintain its own collection, taking advantage of Spanish oceanographic expeditions, and it will provide samples to laboratories and companies that so request them for study and eventual technical applications”.

In late 2009, the government of Spain (Ministry of Innovation and Science [MICINN]) finalizes a 2.6 M€ grant for the consolidation of the BEA (, 23 July 2009), as part of the PLAN-E microalgae project (

 The CBM is included in the Canaries Marine Development Complex, located in Taliarte, and the emerging BEA backs the joint request made to the MICINN by the ULPGC and the ULL (University of La Laguna) to classify the Campus Tricontinental as a “campus of excellence”.

2010.- In March 2010, contracts are finalized and remodeling work is begun on the CBM-BEA laboratories as part of a Plan-E Project, which is initially scheduled for completion in December 2010, though the deadline is later extended until December 2011. The remodeling work (the deadline extension was not implemented) is completed on 16 December (the scientific work of the CBM-BEA did not stop in 2010, since every available inch of the laboratories on the ground floor and the second floor hallways were turned into offices, classrooms and bathrooms ).

Doctors Michael Melkonian and Barbara Melkonian (Univ. Cologne, Germany) made a sabbatical stay (September 2010 to March 2011) at BEA. Their dedication and enthusiasm were critical to achieve in such a short-term the high quality services currently offered by the BEA.


2011.- By February  growth chambers, equipments and basic microalge cultivation systems are operating. On June 2nd, The National Bank of Algae gets the authorization to publish the BEA website, which includes catalogs of products and services. Minor works and fachade remodeling is estimated to be finalized by mid-July.

Inauguration of the renovated facilities of BEA on September 15th 2011, by the Minister for Science and Innovation, Cristina Garmendia Mendizabal.

2012.- On November 21st the promoter of the Marine Biotechnology Center-Spanish Bank of Algae, Dr. Guillermo GarcĂ­a-Blairsy Reina, passed away

2013.- On February 21st, the BEA adopts the name of its founder "The Spanish Bank of Algae Guillermo GarcĂ­a-Blairsy Reina"

1 - Treaty of Budapest April 28th 1977 (BOE number 88 . April 13th 1981; rectification BOE number. 132,June 3rd  1981 and rectification BOE number 19. January 22nd 1986).


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