Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are certificates provided for strains that were ordered?

    The package with the strains will include a delivery note with the following information: strain number, species name, conformity of viability, purity, identity tests, recommended culture medium and incubation temperature as well as the country of origin and biological origin. In case you need further certification, please contact the collection.

  • How can I obtain material from a patent deposit?

    The BCCM collections are approved as International Depository Authorities and operate under the Budapest Treaty to make patent materials available. Requests for patented material should be joined by written approval of the relevant patent office or the depositor.

  • How many bacterial cells are there in an ampoule of lyophilised material?

    On average, our ampoules with freeze dried bacteria contain 1010 living cells/ml. One ampoule contains 0.1 ml (100 µL).

  • How should I handle arrayed sets?

    Instructions are shown in the video

  • How should ampoules with lyophilised material be stored?

    Freeze dried cultures stored in their intact glass ampoules at 4°C to 6°C in the dark generally remain viable for many years after production.

  • How should cultures be recovered from ampoules containing lyophilised material?

    Instructions are shown in the video

  • How should living cultures of fungi be stored, if not used immediately?

    Living cultures on agar slants can be stored at 4°C for a short period only.

    It is advised to recover the culture immediately on receipt by subculturing onto fresh medium before use or storage. For longer storage you can either prepare a cryovial for storage at -80°C or lower containing the biological material and 10% glycerol or lyophilise the biological material with suitable protectants such as trehalose.

  • How should plasmids be stored, if not used immediately?

    Plasmid-carrying E. coli culture can be stored at 4°C for a short period.

    It is advised to recover the culture immediately on receipt by subculturing into liquid or on solid medium before use or storage.

    For longer storage you can prepare a cryovial for storage at -80°C or lower containing the biological material and 50% glycerol.

  • How to deposit biological material in a BCCM collection?

    How to provide information on the biological material?

    It is recommended to contact the BCCM collection in which you want to deposit your material to confirm that your material is within the collection's scope and technical capability. To facilitate the information-based evaluation of the deposit it is recommended to complete and submit the accession form ( before sending the biological material. However, you may send the material together with the accession form if you strongly assume that the deposit is within the scope of the collection.

    How to provide the biological material?

    Cultures should be fresh when leaving your lab and be packaged to prevent breakage.

    Petri dishes as primary recipients should be avoided if possible. Screw cap tubes are preferred. Glass material may be used, but obviously bears a greater risk of breakage to be counteracted by appropriate packaging. For plasmids, isolated DNA is preferred.

    Organisms of Risk Group 2 and 3 require packaging according to the UN Model Regulations for correct packaging and shipping of Dangerous Goods ( This implicates that a special type of packaging must be used and that the parcel must be transported by a recognized courier.

    It is the sender's responsibility to comply to the national regulations for the export of biological material and include any required export permit and certificates.

    Avoid excessive exposure to heat and cold as well as long transport delays as much as possible.

  • How to find biological material and the associated information?

    Most strains and biological materials are listed with their associated information in the online catalogues. Exceptions are materials that are deposited confidentially and materials that are under research. Additional information may be obtained from the literature references in the individual entries of each material.

    BCCM materials are cross-referenced to strains of more than 60 other collections via You can type a strain number or species name in the search field and immediately see the equivalent number in the other collections.

  • In which form will the biological material be delivered?

    The form of supply is depending on the type of biological material that is requested and from which collection it is requested. The collection-specific forms of supply are shown on each collection's catalogue search page.

  • Is there a charge for depositing biological material in a BCCM collection?

    Deposit of biological material in a public collection of BCCM is free of charges to the depositor. Charges for the deposit of biological material for patent purposes or as a safe deposit can be found in our pricelists.

  • What are the key specificities of safe and patent deposits?

    Safe deposits are confidential during the entire period of the contract. Distribution is limited to the depositor and depositor-authorised third parties. The depositor decides about the fate of the material at the end of the contract.

    Patent deposits serve the purpose to make patents reproducible. Microbial resources deposited for patent purposes are not catalogued by BCCM. Samples can still be distributed however, upon written authorisation either by the depositor or an entitled Industrial Property Office, according to the rules of the Budapest Treaty.

  • What is a type strain?

    A type strain is designated in the description of a new species (International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants  and International Code Nomenclature for Bacteria). It is the single reference strain of a species to which other strains need to be compared for valid inclusion in that species (i.e. identification). The type strain is the validated nomenclatural representative of a species, but is not necessarily the most typical representative of its species. If a BCCM collection strain is a type strain, this is specifically indicated in the catalogue field ‘status’ (

  • What is the VAT number of the different institutes?

    UGent (Ghent University) for BCCM/LMG, BCCM/GeneCorner, BCCM/DCG:  BE 0248015142

    UCL (Université catholique de Louvain) for BCCM/MUCL:   BE 0419052272

    ITG (Institute of Tropical Medicine) for BCCM/ITM:   BE 0410057701

    Sciensano for BCCM/IHEM:   BE 0254014195

    ULG (Université de Liège) for BCCM/ULC:  BE 0325777171     

  • What is the price of the biological materials

    Pricelists specific to each BCCM collection are available from the webpage:

  • Which growth conditions are recomended for a particular biological material?

    The recommended growth conditions are shown in the online catalogues and on the delivery note that accompanies the delivered strains. These conditions should be used for the initial subculture from the BCCM provided material. Media abbreviations refer to common microbiological growth media. Their composition will be made available on request.