Marine research station

The NRC has been growing microalgae, seaweeds, and other marine and freshwater organisms at the Marine Research Station in Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia for nearly 50 years. Our unique and comprehensive facility is outfitted with advanced equipment for the production of substantial quantities of microalgae.

Our capabilities

Our experts in algal biology, marine biology, aquaculture, analytical chemistry, and applied nutrition deliver specialized research solutions for collaborators and clients. Using an in-house collection of strains, we're exploring the many potential commercial applications of microalgae, including aquaculture feeds, protein concentrates, anti-microbial compounds, and anti-oxidants like carotenoid pigments, among others.

Why work with us

Scientists at the algal research facility provide resources and expertise for the cultivation of seaweeds and microalgae to produce bioactives and other compounds. Harvesting and biochemical analysis of algal biomass is done on site and advanced tools for more detailed analyses of algal biomass and the extraction of specific bioactives can be tailored to the needs of our research partners.

Research facility highlights

  • Advanced biomass processing equipment (3 high-speed centrifuges with up to 5000 L per hour processing capacity; industrial freeze-drying capacity)
  • Advanced chemostat laboratory for continuous cultivation and monitoring of microalgae
  • Advanced instrumentation for biomass and lipid analysis including:
    • automated Soxhlet lipid extractor
    • bench top lyophilizer
    • bomb calorimeter
    • elemental analyzer
    • fluorometer
    • gas chromatograph
    • membrane inlet mass spectrometer
    • micro-osmometer
    • nitrogen analyzer
  • Continuous photobioreactor capacity for intensive continuous cultivation of microalgae (Biofence photobioreactor (2,400 L))
  • Conviron environmental growth chambers for controlled cultivation of algae
  • Dynasep supercritical CO2 bioactive extraction system
  • Extensive marine organism (e.g., seaweed, microalgae, zooplankton) cultivation and holding capacity
  • Gas mixing and containment system for delivering specific gas mixtures to algal cultures
  • High-capacity seawater pumping station servicing multiple buildings on site; seawater chilling and heating capacity
  • Intensive microalgae batch cultivation capacity (multiple Brite-Box photobioreactors with a total volume of approximately 12,000 L)
  • Laboratory-scale feed production facility for post-harvest processing of aquatic and crop-based resources and for on-site formulation and production of test diets and research feeds for animal and/or aquaculture nutrition studies
  • Wet labs for algal growth media preparation and cell counting

Image gallery

Contact us

Business inquiries

April Luong
Director, Business Development Email:

Technical inquiries

Patrick McGinn
Telephone: 902-293-2746


Related links