Preserving US microbe collections sparks future discoveries

August 3, 2020

Preserving US microbe collections sparks future discoveries

Journal of applied microbiology129(2), 162–174.


K. Boundy-Mills , K. McCluskey, P. Elia, J.A. Glaeser, D.L. Lindner, D.R. Nobles Jr, J. Normanly, F.M. Ochoa-Corona, J.A. Scott, T.J. Ward, K.M. Webb, K. Webster6, and J.E. Wertz


Collections of micro-organisms are a crucial element of life science research infrastructure but are vulnerable to loss and damage caused by natural or man-made disasters, the untimely death or retirement of personnel, or the loss of research funding. Preservation of biological collections has risen in priority due to a new appreciation for discoveries linked to preserved specimens, emerging hurdles to international collecting and decreased funding for new collecting. While many historic collections have been lost, several have been preserved, some with dramatic rescue stories. Rescued microbes have been used for discoveries in areas of health, biotechnology and basic life science. Suggestions for long-term planning for microbial stocks are listed, as well as inducements for long-term preservation.