Culture Collections

Building a modern bio-resource to counter an old disease

Corynebacterium diphtheriae is the principal cause of diphtheria, an acute infectious disease that follows infection of mucosal membranes (such as the throat or nose) or wounds by a toxin-producing (toxigenic) strain of C.diphtheria which can prove fatal if not treated. Toxigenic Corynebacterium ulcerans can also cause diphtheria or a diphtheria-like illness, as can toxigenic Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, albeit much more rarely.

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Mumps: A jaw titan

NCPV has recently added a number of Mumps virus strains of differing genotypes to the collection. Earlier this year a Canadian news channel reported that five Canadian ice hockey players had been side-lined due to mumps. One player’s jaw was so swollen that he assumed it was broken. In the UK mumps is a notifiable infection and high profile outbreaks are often associated with festivals and certain high risk populations.

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Interpretation of STR profiles for human cell line identification

ECACC has recently launched a new service for human cell line authentication by STR profiling. The process is simple and quick; cells are spotted onto an FTA card and sent for analysis by post at ambient temperature To help researchers understand the STR profile and report, ECACC have created several resources on STR profile interpretation.

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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.



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



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



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


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