M. Fátima Santos began her research with microalgae in the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra in 1974, when she collected, isolated and identified "her" first microalgae:

ACOI nº 1 - Scenedesmus naegelii Brébisson

For more than 35 years, she has isolated, identified, designed, photographed and kept in culture over 5,000 strains, that make up the considered largest culture collection of microalgae in the world: ACOI - Coimbra Collection of Algae. The latter includes species rarely mentioned, some of them unique of her kind in culture.

The research developed over more than four decades on the morphological and physiological characteristics of microalgae, such as:
     - multiplication process,
     - weakness, weight, existence of pores in the cell wall,
     - shape and size of plastids,
     - synthesis and accumulation of bioproducts: lipids, carotenoids, exopolysaccharides, and starch, among others,
allowed M. Fatima Santos to select the most promising strains for the production and extraction of bioproducts, some of them with high biotechnological interest.




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