Culture Collections

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About NCTC


NCTC Collage Updated NCTC 100The National Collection of Type Cultures is one of four Culture Collections of the UK Health Security Agency. Founded in 1920, NCTC is the longest-established collection of its type anywhere in the world, and also serves as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Microbial Resource Centre (MIRCEN).

 Read more about the history of the collection


The NCTC collection, which is certified to ISO/IEC 17025:2017, supplies over 5500 type and reference bacterial strains - many of medical, scientific and veterinary importance worldwide. Our strains support academic, health, food and veterinary institutions and are used in microbiology laboratories in a range of different sectors and in research institutes worldwide. All are available in a freeze-dried (lyophilised) format.


NCTC provides a range of associated services which include an International Depository Authority (IDA) patent depository for bacterial cultures.


NCTC has access to the wide-ranging expertise of an internationally-renowned body of specialists in clinical, food, water and environmental microbiology, genomics and proteomics, from across the wider PHE organisation. 




The strains represent many different species from specific disease conditions and widespread geographical locations; many have known antimicrobial resistance mechanisms/patterns and some contain specific plasmids.

The collection is of fundamental importance to the life science community and many of the strains are stipulated in internationally recognised standard methods as definitive control strains for various microbiological testing procedures. The strains are preserved as characterised, authenticated freeze-dried (lyophilised) cultures in fused-glass ampoules, which are stored mainly at 10°C.

You can either search the collection or browse by alphabetical listing. A selected range of cultures are also available as NCTC LENTICULE® Discs. 

In addition, 150 strains are also available as Bacterial DNA. The DNA supplied (approximately 2µg) is high molecular weight and is therefore suitable for a wide range of molecular applications including whole genome sequencing.  

Strains grouped by specific characteristics:


NCTC is a registered trademark of Public Health England in the UK. The trademark must not be used without a license agreement. Parties interested in using the trademarks should contact us.

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