- Do you take Purchase Orders? Yes, as long as your organization passes our credit check. Most schools are OK.
Overseas POs: We do not take POs for anyone outside of the United States.
Discounts: We do offer some discounts for groups in need. We pull this discount from our "Robinhood Fund". Meaning if you are a school that can pay full price, please do! It allows us to operate and reach our mission of teaching EVERYONE to grow algae.
Shipping / Logistics
Where are you located: Algae Research and Supply is located in San Diego California. We are not a storefront and do not sell from the store. This is generally because, as nerds, we are shy and believe you are here for our lunch money.
When will my order ship: We will generally ship on the business day after you order. Larger or complex orders may take a bit longer.
Can I delay shipping? Yes, but please let us know via email so that we can amend the work order that we send to shipping. We often do this for schools so that they can pay for things that they will need later in the semester.
Will ship to me if I live out of the US? Yes, we ship worldwide. If you are in certain countries we will require you buy the shipping label and email it us and we will ship to you using that label. Please email us with any questions or concerns regarding your international shipment.
- Import Duties / Taxes / Bribes to Postal Warlords: You are responsible for all the import duties and taxes. If you need an import broker it is your responsibility to have one. We have no way of predicting if any extra fees will be added to receive your package. If the shipping company reaches out to us, we will give them your phone number and email to reach you. We are not responsible for delays due to customs and delivery times. Refunds will not be issued.
- Customs destroyed my shipment: That sucks, we are sincerely sorry!!! However, we have no way of determining which municipality will allow or not allow algae to be received. It is up to the buyer (you) to know your laws and regulations. If we send you a package and it is confiscated, it will not be refunded.
Algae Shipping Health
It's winter, can I still get algae: Yes! All of our cultures have a small amount of salts dissolved in the media. This means there will be a little of a freezing point depression. Despite this, try and get your cultures indoor as soon as possible. Let them warm up slowly and put them into the correct media where they will flourish. If they are rock-solid frozen, there can still be hope. If they are still green after a few days, they are in a lag-phase, meaning that they need some time to get used to the new environment. Algae have been on the earth for over 4 billion years with countless ice ages, they are used to abuse!
Its summer, can I still get algae: Yes, but keep your algae under 104F. Water has a great heat capacity, if you live in a ridiculously hot place, where it is >104F in the shade all day, you should consider moving. If you can not, and still want algae, simply order appropriately so that you can bring the algae indoors soon after delivery. FYI- its not just the heat, its light and heat. The proteins inside the cells begin to denature above ~104F, but if light is involved, the physics of the photosynthetic pigments mean that they MUST catch energy and pass it down the electron transport chain causing damage to the entire photosynthetic pathway. So the cells try to save themselves, by destroying their pigments, and the culture turns orange. Recovery is hard after that, and you may want to start with a new culture.
Overseas shipping: This is possible, but we have to do some special adjustments to the culture to slow down the metabolic processes for the algae, or else they will literally suffocate during transit. We do have to charge for faster shipping.
- Cost for shipping please use our website to determine the cost. If it does not show up as deliverable on our website, we will be unable to ship to you. What you see as the shipping cost on the checkout page is exactly what we will tell you if you email us for shipping costs.
How are cultures packaged? Cultures are shipped in sealed bottles, flasks, tubes, buckets, or polybags. We double or often triple bag them in case of spills. Our collection of algae are the strains that do well being shipped by ground, are heat tolerant, and generally enjoy being abused.
Temperature controlled packages: Our shipping does NOT include any temperature control means. We do not ship with ice. If you need it can be done, but will incur an additional shipping charge. Our collection of algae does well at growing and being shipped at room temperature.
Long shipping time: If you have a long shipping time (shipping is 3-10 days out), we will ship a less dense culture to you. Keep in mind that the algae will be respiring and consuming O2 and giving off CO2. We ship in clear bottles so that any light that will make it into the package will give a little bit of photosynthesis, but that is likely being optimistic. Do your best to get the order and let it breath as soon as it is received.
Dead on Arrival?
- We will replace and reship cultures that get to you completely dead.
Replacement consideration- Send an email to Warranty@AlgaeResearchSupply.com and include the following information
- order number and date
- photograph of the culture and packaging
- What media you stared the culture into
- What light and temperature conditions you exposed it to
- Why we will not replace a culture
- If the culture is still alive and healthy
- If you exposed the culture to full sunlight
- If you intentionally froze the culture
- If you sing to the culture from any album Meatloaf ever made (except the Rocky Horror Picture Show)
- If you did not use appropriate media or use our media.
- If you did not follow the instructions and over diluted the culture
Algae Culture Questions
How dense is the culture? Our cultures will ship with you being able to "see color". This generally means that the Secchi Stick Depth will be <100mm. Most of our cultures will ship with a Secchi Stick Depth of 20-40mm and a dry weight of 0.05-0.2g/L.
Question: Can you tell me what type of Spirulina it is? Is it the one in nutritional supplement?
Answer: It is Arthrospira aka Spirulina. Yes, you can eat it, but I can not guarantee that it will grow for you in a food-safe way. Mass culturing facilities heat and dry to disinfect the product, which kills bacteria. I label the product for education and research, so, eat at your own risk! FDA approval for the product comes from how algae is dried and packaged- including a bacterial plate count (which is why I won't make any claims for food). A lot of my customers seem to be eating it happily and healthfully- keep your pH at 10!
Question: Which countries have you sold to?
Answer: Timely delivery is key, but international shipping of algae cultures is subject to a rules and slow shipping. I have made lists below to describe the success at getting the cultures delivered while still alive.
Good success: United States, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Germany, Romania, France, England, Australia, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania
Moderate success: Italy, Turkey, Iraq, Turkey, Bangladesh, New Zealand
Not so good success: Brazil, India, UAE, Russia
Question: Who is responsible for international duties and taxes?
Answer: The customer will be charged the duties and taxes once the shipment is delivered to customs.
Question: Can Spirulina be used as a biofuel?
Answer: Spirulina can get up to 4-6% lipids. It makes a poor choice for biofuels. Try Nannochloropsis under nitrogen limitation it can produce 15-30% lipids by dry weight.
Question: Do you have to use distilled water?
Answer: We have written the instructions to use bottled water. We include a bag of salts with each kit that has appropriate buffers and salts that make the perfect media for each type of algae.
Question: Storing Algae Culture How should I store the algae and for how long can it be stored?
- If you are going to culture it, start as soon as you get the package.
- If you are going to do research on some part of it, storage may be an alternative.
- If you MUST 'store' it, I would do it in a 4-L erlenmeyer flask in a the refrigerator. I would say that a week is as long as I would feel good about it. The erlenmeyer is good because it has a good surface area to volume ratios when you do not fill it to the top. Great for culturing cells.
- Otherwise, I would try to keep it in a dimly lit place and stir it a few times a day, and It would be good for a month or better without actively trying to culture it.
- I would avoid magnetic stir bars, as they tend to break up the colonies (tricomes).
Question: The spirulina is floating, is that good?
Answer: If your culture is floating, that is a good thing. Your culture is happy. Spirulina is a colonial microorganism that creates small bubble of gas inside of their cells, called 'gas vesicles'. These gas vesicles help it to stay on top of the water where (in the wild) they would be exposed to more sunlight. Try and mix the culture down a few times per day, as the algae can form thick mats and dry out if it is not mixed down.
Question: Can the algae grow in artificial light?
Answer: Yes, they grow very well in artificial light. Full sunlight can be very bad for a thin (not very dense) culture. The sunlight can overload the algae's ability to process the solar energy, and it will crash (die). Also in a culture less than 20L sunlight can heat the culture too high also killing it.
Question: How long is the growth cycle?
Answer: Algae is one of the fastest growing organisms on the planet. There are a lot of ways to define growth cycle, cells can divide in hours to days. Practically speaking, the percent change in biomass per day is the probably the best way to define. The cultures that we sell should grow (depending on conditions) from 5% to 40% per day. Temperature, water quality, and light intensity and gas exchange are the reasons for the variability.
Question: What kind of pump should I use to aerate the algae culture?
Answer: For most algae, using a centrifugal pump is not a good thing. The algae will get chopped into bits as the culture cycles through the pump. An air pump is a good way to promote gas exchange and to add physical motion to the tank. Simple aquarium air pumps work well. You may wish to pay attention to the air inlet and make sure that the filter is clean. If the algae culture is not a fast and aggressive grower (like haematococcus) then preventing airborn cells from 'infecting' your culture by using a filter is good practice.
Question: How long can the culture last?
Answer: They should be opened and put into their culture vessel ASAP for best possible results. The stability testing in our lab has them at room temperature for two weeks. They will last longer in the refrigerator.
Regardless, crack open the bottles to allow for gas exchange at the very least upon arrival.
Question: Is it ok to use distilled water and not drinking water, because i heard drinking water has chloride?
Answer: Chloride is found in just about every source of water. It is necessary for algal growth. Chlorine on the other hand is bad for algae (thus the no-tap-water specification). I like bottled drinking water because it is generally sterile and is a great starting point for a new culture. Distilled water will have very few minerals in it, it is essentially only H2O. That said, it is OK to use distilled water, as the salt and nutrient kit I provide will add all of the macro and micro nutrients that the algae will need to grow.