As with all products and processes exploiting biological materials algal biotechnology has an absolute requirement for stable, function-fulfilling master stockcultures. Conventionally microalgae and cyanobacteria are maintained by serial transfer with inocula (2.5-25% v/v) being transferred to fresh medium and the culture being held under controlled environmental conditions. This method is satisfactory for many algal taxa, but by its nature cannot provide an absolute guarantee of phenotypic or genotypic stability. Cryopreservation at ultra-low temperatures (> -130oC) is the only methodology that can provide this level of security to master stock-cultures; however, many algae are recalcitrant to cryopreservation with low or no survival. This review explores the reasons of this cryo-recalcitrance on the application of conventional colligative, two-step cryopreservation protocols and points towards the options available to enhance postcryopreservation viability.