Culture Collections


Lyophilisation, also known as freeze-drying, is a preservation method achieved through dehydration. The process was developed initially in 1906 and the technique currently applied by NCTC is an adaptation of the method used during World War II to preserve and transport blood serum.

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Setting up an inverted phase contrast microscope

Often microscope users are unaware of how to set up an inverted microscope and either suffer from low quality images or adopt a trial an error approach to try to improve results.  Understanding how to set up the microscope properly can save time and greatly increase the quality of images and data generated from cell cultures.

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International Women's Day 2017

Historically women have experienced greater barriers to the same opportunities afforded to men and hostility from the scientific establishment (among others), breeding a range of problems. For the first time in its history the majority of the National Collection of Type Cultures’ (NCTC) senior scientists and curators are women, and to celebrate IWD 2017 we look back into our history to pay tribute to the women who shaped and contributed to one of the world’s oldest working bacterial collections as it exists today. 

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Why Choose Us?

Public Health England (PHE) is the custodian of four unique collections that consist of expertly preserved, authenticated cell lines and microbial strains of known provenance for use in medical science and laboratory healthcare.

All the collections are developed, managed and maintained by highly trained, dedicated staff who work in accordance with internationally recognised quality standards including certification to ISO 9001:2008.

Cultures from the collections are used by scientists who need to reassure themselves and others that the materials they are using are authentic, so the conclusions to their studies are valid and relevant. This is particularly important where research may lead to peer-reviewed publications, for example, in drug discovery and vaccine efficacy studies. Authenticated reference strains are also of paramount importance for clinical diagnostic testing, food, water and environmental microbiology testing and validation studies.

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ECACC ICON Small size

Cell lines

The European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC) maintains and supplies over 40,000 cell lines and their derivatives such as DNA, RNA and cDNA.



NCTC ICON small size


The National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) maintains and supplies over 5,000 bacteria and mycoplasma strains.



NCPV ICON small size


The National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses (NCPV) maintains and supplies over 700 viruses and viral nucleic acid.



NCPF ICON small size


The National Collection of Pathogenic Fungi (NCPF) maintains and supplies over 4000 fungal strains.


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