Culture Collections

Type strains – the most important strains in NCTC?

Approximately one fifth of the bacteria in NCTC are cultures of type strains, on which the description of the species is based. We could consider the type strains to be the most important strains in NCTC because they are the points of reference that other strains must be compared with when determining which species they belong to.


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Reproducibility in pre-clinical life science research

Reproducibility forms the foundation of meaningful scientific research and is an issue which is causing increasing concern. The causes are complex and include lack of validation of key biological reagents and reference material (including cell lines), poor study design, inadequate data analysis and reporting and a lack of robust laboratory protocols. This means that the solutions will be complex and will require the concerted effort of all stakeholders involved in the pre-clinical science fields including scientists, journals, funding bodies and even mainstream media.

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ECACC cell lines in research: 2016

A review of 80 scientific publications citing the use of ECACC cell lines, published on line during 2016, emphasises the value of cell lines as tools in our quest to understand and combat human diseases. The use of 88 different ECACC cell lines was cited by authors affiliated to organisations in 36 countries, with significant focus on the pathogenesis and treatment of human cancers.  

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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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