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Culture Collections

About NCTC

NCTC LogoWelcome to the National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC), a Culture Collection of
Public Health England.


Freeze-dried ampoule spark test 327NCTC supplies reference bacterial cultures, including many type strains, of medical, scientific and veterinary importance worldwide. NCTC strains support academic, health, food and veterinary institutions and are used in microbiology laboratories in a range of different sectors and in research institutes worldwide. Founded in 1920, NCTC is the longest-established collection of its type anywhere in the world, and also serves as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Microbial Resource Centre (MIRCEN).

The collection (which is certified to BS EN ISO 9001:2008) comprises over 5,000 bacterial cultures, all of which are available in a freeze-dried (lyophilised) format. A selection of strains are also available in a simple single-use LENTICULE disc format.

NCTC provides a range of associated services which include an International Depository Authority (IDA) patent depository for bacterial cultures.

NCTC is one of four culture collections that constitute the Culture Collections of Public Health England and has access to the wide-ranging expertise of an internationally-renowned body of specialists in clinical, food, water and environmental microbiology, genomics and proteomics, from across the wider PHE organisation.



NCTC consists of nearly 5100 type and reference bacterial strains. The strains represent many different species from specific disease conditions and widespread geographical locations; many have known antimicrobial resistance mechanisms/patterns; some contain specific plasmids. The collection is of fundamental importance to the biomedical scientific community and many of the strains are stipulated in internationally recognised standard methods as definitive control strains for various microbiological testing procedures. The strains are preserved as characterised, authenticated freeze-dried (lyophilised) cultures in fused-glass ampoules, which are stored mainly at 10°C, although some are stored at -30°C. Cultures are supplied as freeze-dried (lyophilised) ampoules.

You can either search the collection or browse by alphabetical listing. A selected range of cultures are also available as NCTC LENTICULE® Discs


NCTC is a registered trademark of Public Health England in the UK. The trademark must not be used without a license agreement. Parties interested in using the trademarks should contact us


Strains grouped by specific characteristics


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