Culture Collections

Carbon dioxide concentration and pH control

Most cell culture laboratories will have a humidified Carbon Dioxide (CO2) incubator set to 5% CO2, however it is not always obvious why our cultures need this amount of CO2 nor what the acceptable tolerances are for the ranges in CO2 concentration.  This article examines in detail the bicarbonate buffering system and helps advise the theoretically correct percentage CO2 concentrations to use with different culture media containing different concentrations of bicarbonate ions.

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The fourth edition of the ECACC handbook is here

The fourth edition of this covers key topics including the sourcing of cell lines, quality control. It also includes detailed protocols for induced pluripotent stem cells and for growing cells in 3D cell culture. 

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New NCPV viruses in 2018

In 2018, eight new viral strains from five families were made available through the NCPV online catalogue. Three of these were Human adenovirus species D, the rest were Adenovirus 8, Chikungunya virus, Poxvirus Pakistan, Epstein-Barr virus and Usutu virus.

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Why Choose Us?

Public Health England (PHE) is the custodian of four unique collections that consist of expertly preserved, authenticated cell lines and microbial strains of known provenance for use in medical science and laboratory healthcare.

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 9001:2015.

Cultures from the collections are used by scientists who need to reassure themselves and others 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.

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ECACC ICON Small size

Cell lines

The European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC) maintains and supplies cell lines and their derivatives such as DNA, RNA and cDNA.



NCTC ICON small size


The National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) maintains and supplies over 5,000 bacteria and mycoplasma strains.



NCPV ICON small size


The National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses (NCPV) maintains and supplies over 700 viruses and viral nucleic acid.



NCPF ICON small size


The National Collection of Pathogenic Fungi (NCPF) maintains and supplies over 4000 fungal strains.


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