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A-Z of NCTC Strains

The NCTC collection contains a diverse range of over 6300 bacterial type, reference and control strains. They represent over 200 genera from 98 families, isolated between the 1890s and the present day. The majority of strains in the collection are of medical, scientific and veterinary importance; however, they are also used in microbiology laboratories in a range of different sectors. In this series we will review some of the lesser well-known strains within the collection, starting with the first and last strains in the A-Z of the NCTC; Abiotrophia adiacens and Zymomonas mobilis

Abiotrophia adiacens - NCTC 11664

Abiotrophia adiacens NCTC 11664, synonymously known as Streptococcus adjacens/Granulicatella adiacens1,2, is a Gram-positive, pyridoxal-dependent streptococcus isolated at the National Heart Hospital, London from a blood culture and deposited by G Colman in 19843. The organism is a facultative anaerobe which grows on Columbia blood agar (circular, smooth, grey colonies) at 37°C. Abiotrophia species have been referred to as nutritionally variant streptococci due to their fastidious growth requirements and they are well documented as being difficult to identify on conventional solid media4Abiotrophia species have been known to cause sepsis and are associated with infective endocarditis, abscesses and severe infections in those with prosthetic devices4,5. Due to its fastidious nature, it is thought that cases of infection with this organism may have previously been under reported as they were classified as culture negative. 


Zymomonas mobilis subsp. mobilis – NCTC 13939

Zymomonas mobilis NCTC 13939 is a Gram-negative, anaerobic bacterium of the Sphingomonadaceae family which was deposited into NCTC by the German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures (DSMZ) in 2017. This organism is used in industry and can be genetically engineered to improve its utility and performance when used in bioethanol production. Due to its ethanologenic nature, fast growth and tolerance of toxins, it has been widely used as a bacterial host for bioethanol production and research6,7. Interestingly, Zymomonas mobilis has also been used in research investigating the pathogenicity of Shigella. Due to structural similarities in the TGT enzymes involved with the activation of dysentery-associated pathogenicity genes, crystallisation studies using Zymomonas mobilis served as a model for Shigella spp, thereby identifying potential strategies for TGT inhibition8


We are always striving to improve the range of strains in our collection in order to reflect the needs of current life science research and we actively encourage scientists and researchers to deposit with us. If you have isolated a new strain or have a strain you think would make a good addition to the collection, then please visit the deposit with NCTC page.


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  1. Kawamura Y, Hou XG, Sultana F, Liu S, Yamamoto H, Ezaki T. Transfer of Streptococcus adjacens and Streptococcus defectivus to Abiotrophia gen. nov. as Abiotrophia adiacens comb. nov. and Abiotrophia defectiva comb. nov., respectively. Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1995 Oct;45(4):798-803.

  2. Collins MD, Lawson PA. The genus Abiotrophia (Kawamura et al.) is not monophyletic: proposal of Granulicatella gen. nov., Granulicatella adiacens comb. nov., Granulicatella elegans comb. nov. and Granulicatella balaenopterae comb. nov. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2000 Jan;50 Pt 1:365-369.

  3. Colman G, Ball LC. Identification of streptococci in a medical laboratory. J Appl Bacteriol. 1984 Aug;57(1):1-14.

  4. Uehara K, Chikuda H, Higurashi Y, Ohkusu K, Takeshita K, Seichi A, Tanaka S. Pyogenic discitis due to Abiotrophia adiacens. Int J Surg Case Rep. 2013;4(12):1107-9.

  5. Cho SY, Cho E, Park CH, Kim HJ, Koo JY. Septic shock due to Granulicatella adiacens after endoscopic ultrasound-guided biopsy of a splenic mass: A case report. World J Gastroenterol. 2021 Feb 28;27(8):751-759.

  6. Felczak MM, Bowers RM, Woyke T, TerAvest MA. Zymomonas diversity and potential for biofuel production. Biotechnol Biofuels. 2021 May 1;14(1):112.

  7. Todhanakasem T, Wu B, Simeon S. Perspectives and new directions for bioprocess optimization using Zymomonas mobilis in the ethanol production. World J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020 Jul 13;36(8):112.

  8. Ehrmann FR, Stojko J, Metz A, Debaene F, Barandun LJ, Heine A, Diederich F, Cianférani S, Reuter K, Klebe G. Soaking suggests "alternative facts": Only co-crystallization discloses major ligand-induced interface rearrangements of a homodimeric tRNA-binding protein indicating a novel mode-of-inhibition. PLoS One. 2017 Apr 18;12(4):e0175723.


June 2021

July 2021