Object 2

Moon, sun and flying saucer on a microscopic scale!
Fungi and micro-algae


Welcome to the moon, on a microscopic scale!
Its surface is covered by craters, with multiple and varied topologies.
On beautiful starry nights, the different phases of this astronomical body can be admired.
Let's continue exploring the expanding universe, putting the sun in the spotlight.
Rockets, flying saucers and other spacecraft are very useful for space travelling.
For the occasion, the moon is covered by a copper coloured dress.
The actors of this space journey are fungi and micro-algae.

Composition proposed by the Belgian Co-ordinated Collections of Micro-organisms (BCCM), a consortium of seven complementary researched-based Biological Resource Centres, financed and co-ordinated by the Belgian Science Policy Office.


BCCM, a solution partner for providing services of quality in microbial and genetic resources for academia and industry.

The Mycothèque de l’Université catholique de Louvain (BCCM/MUCL) is one of the most important fungal culture collections in the world: more than 30 000 living strains, representing more than 5 000 species and 1 400 genera, from the research of scientists of the laboratory and their missions around the world, as well as deposits by external researchers or by industry.

The BCCM/DCG public collection is the only culture collection worldwide specialized in diatoms, the most species-rich group of algae of ecologic and economic importance. Today, the collection consists of 577 strains, belonging to 48 species of which the majority is cryopreserved.


Bacillariophyta, or diatoms, are an extremely diverse group of organisms, and are the most species rich group of algae. Diatoms are single-celled and golden-brown in color with motile and non-motile species. The cell walls of diatoms are composed of silica, which fits together in two halves like a box. The lid and base of the box are known as valves, which are connected by a girdle, and the whole structure is known as a frustule. Frustules occur in two basic forms, cylindrical (centric, circular in valve view) and elongated (pennate, roughly boat-shaped in valve view, although there are many variations on the theme).

Diatoms are one of the most common forms of phytoplankton and are an important food source for aquatic life, living in both fresh- and saltwater environments. Especially humans are very dependent on the thriving of diatoms. Up to a quarter of all photosynthesis on our planet is carried out by Bacillariophytes. This automatically means that diatoms are responsible for the production of a large amount of the oxygen we breathe and the fixation of the same amount of carbon dioxide we produce.

Over millions of year diatoms, together with other micro-algae, generated the huge oil deposits which form the basis for many fuels and products (e.g., plastics) we daily use. Diatomaceous earth is mined deposits of fossilized diatoms and has a wide selection of commercial uses, such as in “natural” pest control, cosmetic abrasives, and water filtration.

In short, it is safe to say that diatoms play a key role in the past and current evolution of humans and humanity.

Green algae

The green algae, or Chlorophyta, occur mainly in freshwater although are common in brackish and marine ecosystems. Green algae are usually single-celled and microscopic, although some form colonies that are considered macroscopic. The colonies have very interesting morphology forming spherical (round) colonies composed of many cells or occurring as straight or branched filaments (long, thin series of cells).

Green algae are thought to be in the evolutionary line that gave rise to the first land plants. One of the very well-known green micro-algae is Chlorella, it is often advertised as being a "super-food" and can be found in many forms at specialized food stores. In the last couple of decades, also green macro-algae such as Caulerpa racemosa, Codium and Ulva have been more frequently incorporated in our daily diet.

Luc Cromheecke
I love Plunk !
Sc : L.Letzer
Dupuis, 2007



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