Applications: main interest area, type of information and number of strains  

The UKNCC collection holdings number more than 73000 made up of ca. 2300 algae and protozoa, over 20000 animal cell lines, over 25000 bacteria, over 25000 fungi including yeasts, plus actinomycetes, cyanobacteria, nematodes and mycoplasma. The collections main interests are generally in identification and preservation but they and their parental organisations offer many more services. The following outlines those services and interests at the UKNCC collection 10 sites (CABI, CCAP freshwater, CCAP marine, ECACC, NCWRF, NCIMB, NCPF, NCPPB, NCTC, NCYC)

The CABI Genetic Resources Collection (GRC) is tasked with the collection of organisms to provide a resource for the scientific programmes of CABI. The GRC accesses filamentous fungi and yeasts, plant pathogenic bacteria, nematodes and biocontrol agents belonging to these groups. The collection holds ca 19000 filamentous fungi, 270 yeasts and 1700 plant pathogenic bacteria. Collections of over 200 nematodes and 3000 biocontrol agents are being accessed. As well as live material the GRC is backed by over 370 000 dried specimens.

CABI is an intergovernmental organisation established by treaty and owned by its member countries. It is dedicated to improving human welfare through the application of scientific knowledge in support of sustainable development world-wide, with emphasis on agriculture, forestry, human health and conservation of natural resources, and with particular attention to the needs of developing countries. CABI main business is in science publication and information provision and has a science service and research division, CABI BIOSCIENCE.

CABI BIOSCIENCE activities are consolidated onto two adjacent sites at Egham and Ascot and five overseas centres in Malaysia, Pakistan, Kenya, Switzerland and Trinidad. These Centres provide crucial linkages for project development and management, and bases for the local, regional and international research and training activities of the CABI BIOSCIENCE Programmes. The CABI Genetic Resource Collection is based at the CABI BIOSCIENCE UK Centre (Egham).

The focus of CABI BIOSCIENCE work is on three science sectors:

  • Biosystematics and Biodiversity
  • Biological Pest Management
  • Environment
There are ten interrelated multidisciplinary programmes:
  • Biosystematics and Molecular Biology
  • Biotechnology, The Utilization of Biodiversity
  • Tropical (Human) Parasitic Diseases
  • Biology And Control of Plant Diseases And Nematodes
  • Weed Biological Control
  • Biological Control of Invertebrate Pests
  • Integrated Pest Management Training and Implementation
  • Biopesticides
  • Land Use Change
  • Conservation Ecology

The Genetic Resource Collection activities fall under the Biotechnology and Utilisation of Biodiversity Programme. In addition to strain data CABI is a science information, book publisher and electronic information provider.

CCAP (freshwater)
The Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa (CCAP)accesses freshwater algal and all protozoan strains. The collection is housed at the NERC, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Institute of Freshwater Ecology, Windermere Laboratory. The CCAP maintains microalgae, including cyanobacteria and free-living nonpathogenic protozoa. The CCAP is an International Depository Authority (IDA) for the above groups of organisms under the terms of the Budapest Treaty (1977). The collection holds 1741 strains.

CCAP (marine)
The Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa (CCAP) comprises a gene bank of marine and hypersaline microalgae and cyanobacteria collected from a wide range of geographical locations and ecological niches, ranging from Antarctic seas to soda lakes in Africa. It includes some small multicellular seaweeds and most algal classes are represented. The collection holds over 500 strains and is housed in the Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory.

The European Collection of Cell Cultures (ECACC) is part of The Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR). CAMR is a Special Health Authority of the Department of Health and a centre of excellence working on infectious diseases. ECACC is supported from a combination of sources, including the UK Research Councils (MRC, BBSRC, NERC), the World Health Organisation and revenue from sales and provision of technical services. The collection accepts deposits of animal and other cell lines, hybridomas, HLA-defined human B-lymphoblastoid cell lines and DNA probes and holds over 20000 accessions.

The National Collection of Wood-Rotting Macro-Fungi (NCWRF) was originally part of the Forest Products Research Laboratory, within the British Government’s Department of Science and Industrial Research at Princes Risborough. It became part of the Biodeterioration Section of the Building Research Establishment and is now housed in the Timber Protection Division of the Building Research Station, Garston. The NCWRF collects wood destroying fungi, normally basidomycetes, that are important in the biodeterioration of wood and currently holds over 600 accessions.

The National Collections of Industrial, Food and Marine Bacteria is grant aided by the BBSRC. It is committed to, and encourages a pro-active accessions policy for new type strains and novel bacteria of industrial and environmental significance. The grant is administered through NCIMB Ltd. which is ISO 9002 certificated and is dedicated to the development and application of research aimed at the solution of industrial and environmental problems world-wide. NCIMB Ltd. provides the infrastructure to offer high quality services in bacterial identifications as well as bacterial and chemical analytical and consultancy services. The collections provide expert safe and patent deposit facilities as an International Depository Authority (IDA) within the Budapest Treaty (1977) and has recently broadened its remit in the food sector by the transfer of the National Collection of Food Bacteria (NCFB) from the IFR Reading to Aberdeen. The integrated collection now holds in excess of 8500 accessions.

The National Collection of Pathogenic Fungi (NCPF) is an integral component of the Public Health Service (PHLS) Mycological Reference Laboratory. The NCPF accessess dermatophytes, filamentous fungi, yeasts, dimorphic fungi and aerobic actinomycetes of medical importance and holds over 2500 accessions.

The National Collection of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria (NCPPB) is a special laboratory within the Agriculture and Environment Directorate, Plant Health of The Central Science Laboratory (CSL). The primary role of the CSL is to deliver high quality scientific advice, technical support and enforcement activities underpinned by appropriate research and development to enable departmental customers to meet MAFF aims. The services are also provided to other Government departments and to other public and private sector organisations on a commercial basis. The CSL is an associated institute of the Universities of York and Leeds and has links with the University of East Anglia. The collection exists primarily to maintain cultures of the world’s bacterial plant pathogens for use by research, educational establishments and by industry and has over 5500 accessions.

The National collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) is a specialised laboratory located in the Central Public Health Laboratory, Colindale. It accesses, preserves and supplies authentic cultures of bacteria and mycoplasmas that are pathogenic to man or other animals that may occur in food or water and in hospital or health related environments and which can be preserved by freeze-drying. Non-pathogenic strains may be accepted where they are phylogenetically related (e.g. members of the same genus) to pathogenic strains. Bacteriophages may be accepted where they are active against pathogenic bacterial strains. Medically important plasmids are accepted only in host strains. Founded in 1920, it is the longest-established collection in the world offering a bacterial culture supply service. It is internationally recognised, serving as a European Resource Centre for Plasmids and a UNESCO Microbial Resource Centre (MIRCEN). The collection has over 10000 accessions.

The National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC) is based at ReNo Ltd. a company of the Institute of Food Research (IFR), Norwich Laboratory, a company limited by guarantee, grant-aided by the BBSRC. The mission of IFR is to perform independent basic and strategic research into key issues of concern to industry, consumers and regulators, with particular emphasis on: food safety and preservation; - food choice, diet and health and - food materials, quality and manufacturing properties; to communicate the results of this research in forms intelligible to our user communities; to provide the primary independent resource for food related science in the UK and Europe; to take the longer term view, leading the science for new solutions and opportunities for wealth creation and improving the quality of life.

In support of this mission, NCYC accesses yeasts associated with food materials or with particular relevance to food production, food spoilage, brewing and fundamental scientific research and currently holds over 2800 accessions.