Culture Collections

Supporting the fight against Clostridium difficile

C. difficile is a spore-forming bacterium that is the major cause of infectious diarrhoea in hospitalised patients, particularly older people or those with a compromised immune system. C. difficile spores can be passed out in faeces and may be able to survive for several months on objects and surfaces in the surrounding environment. PHE provides reference strains of C. difficile and purified C. difficile toxins to support research into diagnosis, treatment and prevention of C. difficile infections.

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Ebola virus strain UK1 authenticated stocks available

Research scientists can now obtain authenticated stocks of Ebola virus strain UK1 from the National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses (NCPV).  Teams from PHE Culture Collections and High Containment Microbiology departments have worked together to make the strain available.  Supply is restricted to researchers at institutes with the very highest level of containment facilities.

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Follow us on Twitter - NCTC 3000 Project

Follow the progress of the NCTC 3000 project on Twitter.The project is a collaboration between PHE’s Culture Collections and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. We are creating an electronic resource that will present a wide range of novel and historical data for 3000 clinically important microorganisms.  As part of the project we are sequencing and assembling 3000 genomes using long read (Pacific Bioscience) technology.

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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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