Culture Collections

Working at containment level 3

NCTC holds a collection of approximately 700 restricted pathogens. These include Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) hazard group 3 bacteria, animal pathogens, and hazard group two organisms.

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A case of best practice

The Culture Collections Quality Control Team use several assays to detect mycoplasma in samples. Here, we focus on Indirect Hoechst stain using an indicator cell line.

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Mycology Reference Laboratory (MRL)/NCPF publications 2020-21

In 2020-21, members of MRL published 40 scientific papers covering a wide range of topics including antimicrobial susceptibility, taxa revisions, case studies and the considerable impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and COVID-19

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Why Choose Us?

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) 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 6,000 bacteria and mycoplasma strains.



NCPV ICON small size


The National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses (NCPV) maintains and supplies over 400 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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