Culture Collections

German outbreak STEC strain now available

The O104:H4 Shiga-toxic Escherichia coli (STEC) strain responsible for the largest recorded STEC outbreak of haemolytic uraemic syndrome and bloody diarrhoea is now available from PHE’s National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC). The outbreak occurred in Germany in 2011, affecting 3900 people and resulting in 53 deaths.  This is a poignant reminder of the need to make authenticated reference strains available for the research community to combat the emergence of highly virulent bacterial strains. 

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What's in your flask?

Amanda Capes-Davis, Chairman of the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC), presented a webinar in partnership with the European Collection of Cell Cultures (ECACC) and Sigma-Aldrich - What's in your flask? Global answers from authentication testing.  The recording is available to view.

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Cell culture combating disease

The September 2015 edition of The Biologist, magazine of the Royal Society of Biology, includes an article by Julie Russell, Head of the Culture Collections.  The article emphasises the importance of cell culture science in fighting disease and commemorates the 30th anniversary since the establishment of the European Collection of Cell Cultures (ECACC).

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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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