BCCM facts & figures

See also the BCCM Activity report 2009-2012


The BCCM patrimony

At the end of 2012, the total holdings of the BCCM consortium numbered about 173,000 different organisms. According to their status in the collection, these organisms can be categorised into 4 types of deposits of biological material:

  • Public deposits: (micro)biological material that has been deposited in the collection and that may be catalogued and distributed;
  • Safe deposits: (micro)biological material that is deposited in the collection for back-up safety reasons; it remains the exclusive property of the depositor, it will not be catalogued or distributed;
  • Patent deposits: (micro)biological material that is deposited under Belgian patent legislation or the international Budapest Treaty;
  • Research deposits: (micro)biological material that is or has been the subject of scientific research projects and that is not publicly available, as well as (micro)biological material for which a provisional restriction regarding cataloguing and/or distribution is applicable.


Total number of organisms: 173,000

Figure 1: Relative importance for the consortium of the different deposit types.

The BCCM holdings consists of about 37% public deposits and 63% research deposits. Due to their specific nature, the safe and patent deposits represent only a small part of the holdings.
The large share of research deposits illustrates the growth potential of the public collections. This is often the case regarding organisms that are kept as research objects. The BCCM curators will gradually transfer some of these organisms to the public collection.


The BCCM public collections

The BCCM public collections contain about 64,000 different organisms, distributed over fungi, bacteria, yeasts, plasmids, diatoms and DNA libraries. These organisms are fully documented and readily available for distribution.


Total number of organisms in the public BCCM collections: 64,000

Figure 2: Relative importance of the different organism types in the public BCCM collections. DNA libraries (0.03%) are not visible in the graph.


Other scientific services

The BCCM consortium offers a range of services based on its scientific expertise in the field of molecular and microbiology. The most important service is the identification of microorganisms, followed by testing and microbial count services.


Figure 7: : Relative importance of the different services carried out by the BCCM consortium. The category "other services" contains about 15 other types of service which each contribute less than 2% to the total revenues of the scientific services.


Research projects

In the past 4 years the BCCM collections have been involved as a partner in 26 research projects with external funding. These projects add value to the collections by either expanding the holdings with new interesting material, further describing and characterising the biological material that is already available, contributing to the taxonomic or phylogenetic studies or developing new or optimised preservation methods.
Since the BCCM consortium has no legal status yet, the contracts related to these projects are managed by the BCCM host institutes.


The BCCM budget

The BCCM consortium is funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (Belspo) under an annual recurrent funding system. The income that the collections generate from their services and research projects constitutes an additional source of funding. In the past four years, Belspo provided 78% of the total BCCM budget, while services and research projects generated, respectively, 10% and 12% of the total BCCM budget.


Figure 8: Relative importance of sources of funding for the BCCM consortium