Culture Collections

Antimicrobial Resistance Reference Strains

NCTC Dynamic Collection HOMEPAGE


The significant increase in the incidence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria observed in recent years represents a significant challenge to public health microbiology worldwide. Not least among these challenges are extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) and carbapenemases among Enterobacteriaceae and other Gram-negative micro-organisms and vancomycin resistance among enterococci.

Public Health England’s Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections Reference Unit (AMRHAI) is the national reference laboratory responsible for the detection and investigation of antibiotic resistance, especially in healthcare associated bacterial pathogens, and offers molecular detection of the genetic determinants of certain key resistances.

NCTC, working in partnership with AMRHAI, offers a range of reference strains with characterised resistance mechanisms. 




Download the NCTC Antimicrobial Resistance Reference Strains and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Control Strains booklet








 Strains include:

  • A range of ESBLs, including examples of all major CTX-M groups
  • A range of carbapenemases, including examples of all of the 'big five', which dominate internationally, namely KPC, OXA-48 non-metallo-enzymes and IMP, NDM and VIM metallo-carbapenemases
  • The first reported clinical isolates of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE)16
  • Several fully-sequenced (and published) multi-drug resistance plasmids
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) including the first reported (and whole genome sequenced) strain identified with a novel mecA homologue.

Strains with defined resistance mechanisms are manufactured in accordance with the requirements of ISO9001:2008 and undergo extensive quality control by NCTC and AMRHAI to confirm the characteristics of the strain as new batches are prepared, although plasmids are not resequenced.


Related Links

Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections Reference Unit (AMRHAI)


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