Culture Collections

NCTC Inactivated DNA Products


DNA image


The core remit of the NCTC is to reduce the global burden of infectious disease, serving as a trustworthy source of internationally available authentic, pure, and typical bacteria for scientific study. NCTC strains serve as important controls in diagnostic standards, in food and water testing, and in antimicrobial sensitivity testing guidelines, to name but a few. However, in the post-genomic era, nearly 30 years after the publication of the first bacterial genome, we now have the opportunity to contribute towards achieving this goal in a major way without necessarily having to provide any cultures at all – not a single viable bacterial cell. Don’t panic, our >6,000 expertly curated and authenticated strains aren’t going anywhere, but the collection is now more accessible than at any other time in our 102-year history. How could this benefit you?

Goodbye to growing pains

Not all bacterial strains are easy to propagate. Many have complex nutritional requirements or need specific atmospheric conditions to thrive, others are incredibly slow-growing, and it can take weeks if not months to generate sufficient biomass for DNA extraction. Perhaps you don’t have time to wait for your mycobacteria, maybe you’re struggling to get enough material from your Mycoplasma, or perhaps your strict microaerophiles are unhappy – let us do the hard work. If you have a strain in mind, get in contact with us to see how we can support you with our bespoke DNA service.

Eliminate containment constraints

Not everyone has access to a category 3 laboratory and working with these organisms requires specialised waste management systems, staff, training, and the acceptance of a certain level of risk in your work. This needn’t be a barrier to scrutinising the genetics of ACDP 3 and SAPO agents or to developing transformative molecular assays. We are also conscious that the distribution of these facilities, and therefore the opportunity to handle these organisms, is skewed, seldom towards the regions that need them. The NCTC can eliminate these obstacles with our bespoke DNA extraction service; providing you with an inactivated, non-infectious, high-quality, high molecular weight DNA product, delivered to you by courier: safe, sterile, standardised, and secure.

Readymade molecular materials

Just as NCTC strains already serve as vital controls in both the diagnostic and the research laboratory, if you’re developing or validating a molecular assay, you can now incorporate DNA derived from NCTC strains to improve the quality and robustness of your results. Carefully extracted using our bespoke extraction approach and gently dried in 2µg units, our inactivated products are suitable for use in a variety of downstream applications, including quality-sensitive techniques such as long-read whole genome sequencing or pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. NCTC inactivated products are used as validation controls and have played a major role in the national genomic effort to track SARS-CoV-2 by the UKHSA’s Central Sequencing Laboratory. Our DNA products also make excellent laboratory teaching and training aids.

Try before you buy

The NCTC 3000 whole genome sequencing project has seen the publication of over 3,000 assemblies, and over half of our strains (and all NCTC type strains) now have the additional value of a high-quality assembly. So, you don’t need to wait until after you’ve purchased your NCTC strain before you confirm that you’ll be able to amplify that fragment for cloning, or to check that your primers will bind in that assay you’re developing. The assemblies are available now, and this is a whole new way for scientists around the globe to interact with the collection. Once you’ve found the strain that suits you, just let us know what you need.


Written by Alex Remmington, Senior Molecular Microbiologist, NCTC

July 2022

Back to top
Copyright © Public Health England.

Please confirm your country of origin from the list below.