The U.S. Culture Collection Network brings together scientists working with laboratory based collections of microbes. The network will hold numerous workshops teaching best practices for managing, preserving, and distributing bacteria, fungi, and other microscopic organisms in the context of formal culture collections. Biosecurity and regulatory issues will also be emphasized at workshops. Additional goals include re-establishing a professional society of culture collection researchers in the US, developing internet based collection management tools, and fostering communication between US collections, foreign collections, and international collection networks.
Collections of living microbes assure that current and past research and innovation are available to future generations of scientists. Biological materials which are made available via well managed collections represent the foundation of the modern biotechnology industry. Materials in culture collections impact fields as diverse as human health, agricultural productivity, biotechnology, and bio-diversity research. While there are several professional collections in the US, most collections in the US are small and do not have long term strategies for survival. The network supported by this grant will ensure that smaller collections benefit from expertise available at larger living microbe collections.