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The Microbial Type Culture Collection and Gene Bank (MTCC)

The Microbial Type Culture Collection and Gene Bank (MTCC), a national facility established in 1986 is funded jointly by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India. The MTCC is a modern facility housed at the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh. It is an affiliate member of the World Federation for Culture Collections (WFCC) and is registered with the World Data Centre for Microorganisms (WDCM).The main objectives of this national facility are to act as a depository, to supply authentic microbial cultures and to provide related services to the scientists working in research institutions, universities and industries.

The MTCC was recognized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Geneva, Switzerland as an International Depository Authority (IDA) on 4 October, 2002, thus becoming the first IDA in India, seventh in Asia and thirty-fourth in the World. The deposit of microorganisms under the Budapest Treaty is recognized to fulfill the requirement of patent procedure in 55 member countries.

Presently, the MTCC has five sections, the Actinomycetes, Bacteria, Fungi, Yeasts and Plasmids and collectively holding over nine thousand cultures. Generally cultures are preserved under liquid nitrogen and by freeze-drying. The fungi are also preserved under mineral oil. Viability and some key characteristics of the organisms are periodically checked so that cultures continue to represent the original deposits. Special properties like production of metabolites, degradation of specific compounds are not normally checked. Relevant information about the strains held in the MTCC are computerized for easy search analysis and retrieval.

The MTCC scientists are actively involved in the research programmes relating to microbial diversity, ecology and taxonomy using both classical and molecular approaches.