During 2016 NCTC bacterial strains and associated data were cited in more than 100 publications by scientists worldwide. We reviewed some of these papers, noting that researchers based at institutes in 52 different countries contributed to this array of studies. The studies reflect the challenges presented to scientists globally in the early 21st century, and also important local themes including some quite unexpected subjects.
For example, we found that different teams of scientists based in Czech Republic1, France2, Greece and Slovenia3, Japan and Thailand4, Qatar5, UK6,7 and USA8 used NCTC strains to help them characterise, determine the prevalence, and understand the resistance and gene transfer mechanisms associated with antimicrobial resistance in a range of bacteria, predominantly Enterobacteriaceae.
Problems associated with antimicrobial resistance were also confronted by numerous groups who tested potential alternative treatments for fighting bacterial infections. A Chilean group evaluated the antibacterial activity of phenolic compounds on Helicobacter pylori (using NCTC11637)9 while scientists in Morocco10, Nigeria11, Tanzania12, South Africa and UK13 assessed the antibacterial activity of a range of local medicinal plants, essential oils and fruits. A Chinese group investigated the therapeutic potential of lipid extracts from ginkgo biloba leaves14 and a Chinese/UK collaboration obtained skin secretions of the white-lipped tree frog to identify peptides with known therapeutic potential using NCTC10418 Escherichia coli and NCTC10788 Staphylococcus aureus15.
A group based in France used NCTC8325 as part of their investigation into an outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia infections related to contaminated bronchoscope suction valves16. NCTC12945, Vibrio cholerae, was used by scientists based in Tanzania, Benin and Denmark to help evaluate the occurrence of toxigenic Vibrio cholerae O1 in food and water during non-outbreak periods in Tanzania17.
There were multiple studies citing the use of NCTC strains that were designed to improve food and water safety. NCTC11168, Campylobacter jejuni, was one of the most commonly used NCTC strains; this pathogen continues to be a major cause of global foodborne gastroenteritis.
A collaboration of scientists from Australia, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA, described the phenotypic, genetic and reference genome characteristics of the 2016 WHO gonococcal reference strains intended for quality assurance in the WHO Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme (GASP), other GASPs, diagnostics and research worldwide. Those 14 strains were deposited with NCTC in 2015-2016 (NCTC13477–13484 and NCTC13817–13822) reflecting NCTC’s important role in providing reliable bacterial reference strains18.
The range of technologies used in the studies that we reviewed was vast, encompassing the assessment of improvements to established methods such as PCR and also the evaluation of newer methods such as MALDI-TOF. A Turkish group assessed the effectiveness of MALDI-TOF in identifying Francescella tularensis (using NCTC10857)19 while an Australian group used proteomics to investigate pathogenic factors potentially involved in Staphylococcus aureus keratitis20. Colleagues in Cambridge, UK, included 25 NCTC strains of Enterococcus spp. in two studies that used whole genome sequencing (WGS) technology to understand the genomic history of healthcare-associated infections21, 22.
A more surprising study cited two NCTC anaerobes, NCTC10562 Fusobacterium nucleatum and NCTC11460 Peptostreptococcus anaerobius, in the evaluation of photodynamic therapy to treat oral malodour (bad breath)23 which can cause social, emotional and psychological stress. Publications of veterinary importance included a Norwegian study of Brucella pinnipedialis in hooded seal primary epithelial cells using NCTC1289024.
The most far-reaching collaboration was co-ordinated by François-Xavier Weill (Institut Pasteur). The publication, “Global phylogeography and evolutionary history of Shigella dysenteriae type 1”, listed 72 authors from 25 countries; this study used WGS technology and included 18 strains of Shigella dysenteriae from NCTC’s Murray Collection, isolated between 1914 and 193025.
We will provide a more in depth report about this topic in 2017 with cross-references to all of the publications reviewed. Please contact us if you want more immediate information about any of the studies mentioned and please let us know if you have published any papers citing the use of NCTC bacteria.
To hear more about NCTC in research follow us on Twitter @NCTC_3000.
Please confirm your country of origin from the list below.