Culture Collections

COVID-19 update: 02 September 2020

Culture Collections is now beginning to return to business as usual. We would like to thank you for your patience over the last few months. Dispatch of some orders has resumed - please see the COVID-19 update page for details on the individual collections.

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Connecting microbiological and museum communities

A new survey aims to discover more about common practices used by microbiologists for collecting and preserving study organisms and archiving of the host organism.

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Investigating the role of cryptic prophages within their bacterial hosts

Genetically-modified strains of K-12 E. coli (NCTC 14365 -14374) derived from the wild-type strain NCTC 14364 have been added to NCTC's collection. 

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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 9001:2015.

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 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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