Biological Resources Center Institute of Microbiology Chinese Academy of Sciences

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Biological Resource Center, Institute of Microbiology Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS-BRC) has been set up by integrating the China General Microbiological Culture Collection Center (CGMCC), the microbial resources part of IMCAS Information Center with the newly developed high-throughput evaluation platform of microbial metabolites and the improved quality management system.

The mission of IMCAS-BRC is to serve as a public infrastructure for culture collection, research and utilization of microorganisms and to sustain biotechnology innovations. Based on the strong research teams of State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources (SKLMR) and CAS Key Laboratory of Systematic Mycology and Lichenology, IMCAS-BRC is dedicated to “banking” the “sleeping” microbial resource and adding values to the potential microbial metabolites and macro-molecules instead of being a keeper of type cultures only.

IMCAS-BRC has established collaborations with many culture collection centers worldwide. It provides universities, institutions and industries of microbial strains, metabolites and gene resources and services. Joint research and development projects are welcomed as well.

IMCAS-BRC consists of four divisions. Culture Collection Diversion (CGMCC) collects filamentous fungi, yeast, actinomycetes, bacteria and archaea, and environmental metagenomic libraries. CGMCC is now ranked the top 10 world culture collection centers on collected strains. Function Evaluation Division has built a microbial metabolite library of over 8,000 samples and a library of over 700 pure compounds isolated from microbes. Information Division has established the Microbial Culture Data Banks of CGMCC and Type Culture of Chinese Academy of Sciences. Quality Assurance Office constitutes the documents of quality control and intellectual property rights control.


1. Division of Culture Collection

Division of Culture Collection is setup based on China General Microbiological Culture Collection Center (CGMCC). The mission of the Division is to collect and preserve various microbial strains and genes, and animal cells, and to achieve the goal of supporting the sustainable application of microbial resources.

CGMCC was founded in 1979 as a non-profit organization to preserve and distribute microbial strains and provide public service in microbe related techniques. CGMCC was entrusted by State Intellectual Property Office of China to preserve microbial strains for the purpose of patent procedure and ratified as an International Depositary Authority under Budapest Treaty in 1995. Hitherto CGMCC has preserved more than 35,000 strains of more than 4, 000 species of bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, yeasts and 3,200 patent stains; in addition, 2 metagenomic libraries comprising of 76,000 clones with 418 Mbp DNA inserts in total are preserved, one for hot spring and one for yak rumen microbiota. CGMCC has established contact with the culture collection centers worldwide in the term of strain exchange and collaborative study on microbial resources.

Division of Culture Collection consists of 4 technical groups: high throughput culture, environmental gene resources, cell culture and rapid identification, as well as banks of strain culture, cell and gene. Presently the Division is developing several technical platforms, such as culturing and preserving fastidious and extreme environmental microbes, environmental genome construction and rapid identification techniques. The goal is to obtain microbial strains either affiliating to distinct phyla or with special functions.

Division of Culture Collection provides CGMCC cultures and depositing services to institutions and industries, as well as services in strain identification, microbial resources related technique consultation and information.


2. Division of Function Evaluation

The mission of Division of Function Evaluation is to establish screening and evaluation platform and discover bioactive and functional microbial metabolites from resources in the China General Microbiological Culture Collection Center (CGMCC), State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources, and CAS Key Laboratory of Systematic Mycology and Lichenology. Through joint efforts, the ultimate goal of the Division is to improve the efficiency of the discovery process and to fully utilize the potential of microorganisms.

The Division focuses mainly on screening and evaluation of small molecules and enzymes produced by microbes using high-throughput techniques. Small molecule screening targets infectious diseases, cancer and others, whereas enzyme screening targets the enzymes with various industrial applications, including glycosidases, proteases, lipases and other industrial enzymes. The discovery of these new microbial products will dramatically accelerate the exploitation of microbial resources.

Another research area of the Division is to establish efficient protein expression technology platforms of various prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms, particularly, the expression systems of multiple genes of filamentous fungi and actinomycetes, and this system will be used for the functional gene expression in metagenomic clones.

The Division has already built, and will continue to build libraries of microbial secondary metabolites, including the crude extracts, partially purified fractions, and pure compounds, and has developed bioassays to screen these metabolite libraries. In the future, the capacity of these libraries will be dramatically expanded for screenings that are open to collaborative projects.


3. Division of Information

Division of Information, as part of the Information Center at Institute of Microbiology, is dedicated to developing the management platform of microbial resource database, the data standardization as well as microbial resource database and information sharing gateway.

Division of Information also serves as the information data center for CAS Type Culture Collection Committee, the Chinese node of Asian Consortium for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Microbial Resources, the Chinese node of Bio-Mirror, and the member of Global BRC Network. It has developed a series of databases as following: Microbial Culture Information Database, Strain Physiological Database, Nucleic Acid Sequence Database, Culture Marketing Database, Client Management Database, CAS Type Culture Collection Database, Asian Microbial Resources Catalog Database, as well as China’s largest information sharing network in microbiology. The accessible data amount is over 1TB. The Microbial Resources Management System developed by the Division has been adopted widely by the microbial culture collection centers in China, and served as the informational platform of Asian Microbial Resources Network.

Working together with the Division of Culture Collection and Quality Assurance Office, Division of Information is establishing the Database of High-throughput Screening of Microbial Metabolites, Biomarker Fingerprint Database, Microbial Barcode Database, Microbial Records Database and Bioinformatics Database besides the maintenance and updating of the existing databases. In addition, the Division is developing special search engine for microbial resource retrieval and bioinformatics supercomputing platform.


4. Quality Assurance Office

Quality Assurance Office is in charge of the management of quality control of the microbial resources and technical service of the center and the intellectual property rights and biological security, aiming to prevent security accidents, warrant the quality of technical services, and protect the intellectual property rights formed from microbial resources. The mission of the office is as following:

1. Quality assurance of resource and technique services of IMCAS-BRC
The office constitutes and implements the quality management system, prepares the documents of quality control, organizes internal auditing; organizes laboratory recognition and the measure authentication; organizes faculty training and capability validation on quality systems; and assists evaluation on annual quality reports by working committee of the center.

2. Management of intellectual property rights:
The office constitutes the working plans related to the intellectual property rights of IMCAS-BRC, and implements the issues from State Intellectual Property Office and World Intellectual Property Organization, and organizes training courses on intellectual property laws and regulations for the center staff, as well as assists the competent administrative authorities to examine and sign the agreements of intellectual property rights and technical cooperation with domestic and international institutions.

3. Management of biosecurity:
The office constitutes the technical guidelines of laboratory biosecurity and devises and adopts incident response plans; develops a biosecurity-conscious culture; assesses and identifies the biosecurity risk levels of microbial strains; assists the administrative departments of the institute in inspections and monitoring of experimental waste disposal; in case of biosecurity incidents, reports to the institute to start emergency plan and deal with the in time site treatment.