Recognizing the importance of microorganisms, especially those isolated from natural environments in Thailand, National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) founded BIOTEC Culture Collection (BCC) in 1996. The primary objective of BCC is to collect and maintain microorganisms and their relevant data for BIOTEC’s in-house research. Microorganisms in BCC are routinely tested by BIOTEC researchers to find valuable products such as secondary metabolites, enzymes, and bioactive short peptides. Besides the maintenance and distribution of microorganisms for in-house research, BCC provides such services as well as training, identification, and liquid drying preservation services to the public.
Currently, BCC has microorganisms in the collection more than 80,000 strains of bacteria, yeasts, and filamentous fungi. Approximately 75 percent of the microorganisms BCC holds are filamentous fungi, which are taxonomically and ecologically diverse. The largest group is those isolated from insects (insect pathogenic fungi). The rest were isolated from soil, seeds, decayed wood, plants, lichens, dung, fresh water and sea water, etc. BCC also holds a high diversity of ascomycetous and basidiomycetous yeasts. For bacteria, acetic acid bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, and actinomycetes are the major groups.
Almost all strains in the collection are cryopreserved at –80°C as working cultures. Freeze drying, liquid-drying and storage in the vapor phase of nitrogen are used for long-term preservation for strains with special characteristics such as newly described species from Thailand, biologically active compound producers, and safe deposit strains.