Culture Collections

About us

Public Health England is the custodian of four unique collections that consist of expertly preserved, authenticated cell lines and microbial strains of known provenance. Scientists across the world use PHE Culture Collection materials to determine the effects of drugs, cosmetics, radiation, viruses, chemical and biological weapons, pesticides and household chemicals on human cells. Culture Collection cells and microorganisms are also used worldwide as controls for diagnostic and antimicrobial susceptibility tests and for developing vaccines, anti-cancer drugs and treatments for metabolic diseases.

All the collections are developed, managed and maintained by highly trained, dedicated staff who work in accordance with internationally recognised quality standards including certification to ISO 9001:2008.

Cultures from the collections are used by scientists who need to be sure that the materials they are using are authentic, so the conclusions to their studies are valid and relevant. This is particularly important where research may lead to peer-reviewed publications, for example, in drug discovery and vaccine efficacy studies. Authenticated reference strains are also of paramount importance for clinical diagnostic testing, food, water and environmental microbiology testing and validation studies.

 The collections are:



The European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC) for cell lines

 NCTC Icon  About NCTC

The National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) for bacteria

 NCPV Icon

About NCPV

The National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses (NCPV) for viruses

 NCPF Icon

About NCPF

The National Collection of Pathogenic Fungi (NCPF) for fungi


The Culture Collections is proud to be a Public Health England Biological Resource Centre

Supporting the biomedical community with quality, integrity and expertise

Public Health England (PHE) was established by the United Kingdom’s government on 1 April 2013 to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and to reduce health inequalities. It brings together public health specialists from more than 70 organisations into a single public health service.

Public health is about helping people to stay healthy, and protecting them from threats to their health. The UK government wants everyone to be able to make healthier choices, regardless of their circumstances, and to minimise the risk and impact of illness.

PHE is judged by its ability to reduce the impact of common causes of ill-health and premature death such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

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