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NCTC Mycobacteria strains in research

Many researchers use NCTC strains during the development, evaluation and validation of laboratory methods.  A team at Queen’s University, Belfast, UK, used six NCTC Mycobacteria strains to evaluate an optimised peptide-mediated magnetic separation (PMS)-phage assay for the rapid detection in milk of viable Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP). This is particularly important for veterinary microbiology because MAP causes Johne’s disease (JD), a chronic enteric wasting disease that affects domestic ruminants.

MAP has also been associated with various chronic long-term human diseases, including Crohn’s disease (CD), irritable bowel syndrome, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, although the role of MAP in these disorders remains unclear.  As with many species of mycobacteria, traditional cultural methods are time-consuming so cannot be adopted routinely to demonstrate the presence of viable MAP in milk.

This results from this study represent the first published data demonstrating the inclusivity (the ability to detect all MAP strains) and the sensitivity (ability to detect low numbers of MAP) of the optimised PMS-phage assay. However, although the team concluded that it is the most sensitive and specific method currently available for detecting viable MAP in milk, its multistep format makes it unsuitable for adoption as a screening test by the dairy industry so further development is still required.

If you are the co-author of a published study using NCTC strains of Mycobacteria, or other NCTC reference strains, please let us know so we can help raise awareness of your important research and development projects.  If you include wild-type strains of clinical or veterinary importance in your publication, consider depositing those strains with NCTC. We will help you with the necessary paperwork and there is no charge for this service. 


NCTC strains of Mycobacteria used in this study:

Strain Catalogue Number
M. avium subsp. avium  NCTC 13034
M. bovis BCG  NCTC 5692
M. fortuitum  NCTC 10394
M. gordonae  NCTC 10267
M. intracellulare NCTC 10425
M. kansasii  NCTC 10268
M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) NCTC 8578



Foddai, A., & Grant, I. (2017). Sensitive and specific detection of viable Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in raw milk by the peptide‐mediated magnetic separation‐phage assay. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 122(5), 1357-1367.


January 2020