Sunday, 7 July 2013

New addition to the UK’s National Collection of Industrial Food and Marine Bacteria

An actinomycete species isolated from sediment collected from a Norwegian Fjord, is one of the latest additions to the UK’s National Collection of Industrial Food and Marine Bacteria. The sole strain of Verrucosispora fiedleri which has been added to the collection was discovered by Prof Michael Goodfellow MBE and his team in the School of Biology at Newcastle University.

Commenting on the new accession, Dr Carol Phillips, CEO of NCIMB said: “Verrucosispora strains are currently the focus of considerable interest as they are the source of new bioactive compounds and this strain could be commercially significant as a source of new anti-cancer drugs, so it is an exciting addition to the collection.”

There are approximately 8000 strains in NCIMB’s constantly expanding collection and although the collection itself was first established in 1950, some of the deposits within it date back much further.   For example cultures from the Rothamsted Research Station soil collection which are now housed at NCIMB, include unsealed glass vials dating back to the 1920s.

Culture collections like NCIMB play an important role in making strains isolated through academic research available to industry and other researchers, and NCIMB regularly ships strains from the collection around the globe. 

Carol concludes: “There have been huge advances in the understanding of molecular biology since the culture collection was established - indeed the collection predates Watson and Crick's discovery of the structure of DNA. Modern methods may allow us to screen bacteria in the collection for previously undiscovered properties making the collection more important than ever as a genetic resource for the future”.

Posted by Tim Sandle