Culture Collections

Food Safety - Bacterial Reference Materials

A recent UK Food Standards Agency report states that Campylobacter was detected on 59% of raw shop-bought chickens sampled.  Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK and yet can be a challenge to isolate in the laboratory. For this reason, many food microbiology testing laboratories use the bacterial reference materials provided by PHE’s Culture Collections to control the test, ensuring that it is working as expected.

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Good Cell Culture Practice

Medical research scientists working with cell cultures can now read a revised set of guidelines for Good Cell Culture Practice.  Dr Peter Thraves, Accessions Specialist in the Culture Collections’ Scientific Development Group, has co-authored the article published in the British Journal of Cancer.  It raises awareness of factors which can invalidate research such as cell line misidentification, contamination and instability.

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Leukaemia Research - cell line authentication

A commentary published in the August 2014 edition of the journal Leukaemia Research urges scientists to check the authenticity of their cell culture stocks (including cross reference to a published list of misidentified cell lines) to ensure their results are clinically relevant.  The authors, including PHE’s Culture Collections cell culture experts Dr Ed Burnett and Jim Cooper, examine a recent study that has used the cell line WSU-CLL inappropriately as a model to test therapeutic agents for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

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Why Choose Us?

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

Cultures from the PHE 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.


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Cell lines

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





The National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) maintains and supplies over 5000 bacteria and mycoplasma strains.





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





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


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