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UK Biological Resource Centre Network

Culture Collections holds four of the biological resource centres (BRCs) that make up the UK Biological Resource Centre Network (UKBRCN). The network meets annually and this year’s meeting was held at the National Collection of Industrial, Food and Marine Bacteria (NCIMB) in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The group aims to support biological resource centres, including culture collections and their users, on topics such as the Nagoya Protocol and funding. It also aims to foster active collaborative links within the biological resource community.

Key objectives

  • Co-ordinate engagement with users and common stakeholders (editorial boards, grant funding authorities, UK government)
  • Share best practice regarding quality and compliance, ensuring that users of living genetic resources and collection are within the law (Nagoya Protocol)
  • Provide expert responses and solutions to the problems faced by those working with and harnessing biological resource
  • Raise awareness of the value of culture collections to the scientific community by providing information and training
  • Co-ordinate grant applications in key areas of research to enhance scientific procedures and services of the UK’s biological resource centres

The UK has a thriving medical and life sciences research and development community and BRCs play an important role in providing researchers with a wide range of authentic biological cultures for their research. Over a hundred thousand strains of microbial cultures and human and animal cell lines are available from the partner collections for research and development in fields such as food and brewing, biological controls, medical research and manufacture, and for testing a wide of a range of products including drugs, vaccines, biotherapeutics, antibiotics, neutraceuticals and paints.



Biodiversity of UKBRCN holdings (after Adl et al. 2012)

A new UKBRCN website is currently under development and will be available in the Spring of 2018. To keep up to date with its development, and for news and developments from the individual partner collections (see table below), follow the UKBRCN on Twitter @uk_brcn.


Partner collections

BRC Host Organisation Organisms

Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)

Department of Food and Rural Affairs Animal and plant microbes

CABI Genetic Resource Collection

CABI International  Fungi, Bacteria

Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa (CCAP)

Scottish Association for Marne Science  Cyanobacteria, Algae, Protozoa

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)

Department of Food and Rural Affairs  Bacteria

European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC)

Public Health England  Cell lines

Kew Scientific Collections

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew  Seed bank, Fungi

National Collection of Industrial, Food and Marine Bacteria (NCIMB)

Private Company  Bacteria

National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC)

Public Health England  Bacteria

National Collection of Pathogenic Fungi (NCPF)

Public Health England  Fungi

National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses (NCPV)

Public Health England  Viruses

National Collection of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria (NCPPB)

Food and Environment Research Agency  Bacteria

National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC)

Institute of Food Research  Yeast

National Institute for Biological Standards and Controls (NIBSC) - UK Stem Cell Bank

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency   Stem Cells

Natural History Museum

 Natural History Museum  Various
January 2020