Over 45.000 well-documented and authenticated strains of bacteria, filamentous and yeasts fungi (including the most important test and control strains) and over 1.300 plasmids are readily deliverable by BCCMTM on a world-wide basis.


The BCCMTM provides its clients with three complementary types of deposit:

  • public deposits makes up the bulk of the BCCMTM 's holdings.
    They can be considered as a service from the depositor to the scientific community, since these deposits are catalogued and publicly available for further study. The depositor, in return, benefits from an economical and practical means of distributing his material and is entitled to receive a free sample of one of the BCCMTM 's strains;
  • safe deposits in a supplementary professional environment have proved to be a very cost-effective means of insuring proprietary cultures (or plasmids) of particular importance. Industry, in particular, is increasingly keen to insure against, for example, the loss or irreversible mutation of production strains. As full confidentiality is ensured, safe-deposited material is neither catalogued nor distributed to third parties;
  • patent deposits of biological material are a compulsory part of the patent process. Within the framework of internationally prevailing legislation (e.g. the Budapest Treaty and European Directives), and under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the BCCMTM has International Depository Authorities (IDA) status. The BCCMTM is one of the 28 IDAs around the world and can therefore accept deposits off: - bacteria, filamentous and yeast fungi;
    - human and animal cell lines including hybridomas);
    - genetic material (e.g. plasmids, RNA, oncogenes).

Rigorous security and confidentiality measures are in place and samples are only distributed within the strict restraints of the Budapest Treaty.


BCCMTM helps to locate biological resources with client- specified functional and/or taxonomical characteristics.


Industry is showing growing interest in not only identifying its production bacteria, filamentous fungi and yeast, but also characterizing them in a clear-cut and indisputable way. The underlying motives are typically:

  • patenting as well as the defence of industrial property rights on non-patented strains;
  • Total Quality Management (TQM) to facilitate regular checks on purity and possible ( epi)genetic drift as part of Quality Assurance and Quality Control programmes;
  • the constitution of a 'biosafety' file for regulatory authorities.

The BCCMTM continues to update its range of state-of-the-art biotyping techniques, such as: DNA-sequencing and 'fingerprinting' (e.g. RFLP, RAPD, AFLP methods), RNA-sequencing, gel electrophoresis, gas chromatographic fatty acid characterization, and more.


BCCMTM shares and offers its know-how on a customised and confidential basis. This may take the form of bilateral research contracts as well as training sessions - both for groups and individuals.

The BCCMTM's expertise includes, for example:

  • isolation, identification, cultivation and preservation of strains;
  • molecular fingerprinting (RFLP, RAPD, AFLP etc.) of industrially and medically important strains for e.g. Total Quality Management and patenting purposes;
  • exclusive screening of unique strains for potential new products (e.g. enzymes, antibiotics);
  • material resistance testing of wood, paints, textiles and polymers, etc.;
  • microbial auditing of working and production environments;
  • molecular biology (e.g. sequencing);
  • electron microscopy.

Last update: 5 July 1999
Contact : F. Guissart