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BCCM/ITM: a public repository for safe and easy accessible quality-assured mycobacterial strains and services

A Avakimyan(1) S Cogneau(1) M Diels(1) V Van de Perre(2) B C de Jong(3) L Rigouts(1,3)

1:BCCM/ITM, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium; 2:BCCM Cooridnation Cell, Belgian Federal Science Policy, Brussels, Belgium; 3:Mycobacteriology Unit, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium

The Belgian Coordinated Collections of Microorganisms (BCCM) aim to share quality-assured biological material, related information, and its know-how, to the benefit of its partners and clients in academic and industrial communities. BCCM unites 7 decentralized biological resource centers, including the Collection of Mycobacterial Cultures at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (

To foster scientific advance and quality diagnostics, BCCM/ITM preserved and characterized Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBc) and non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) strains, including a M. bovis BCG transposon library. These >1200 publicly available strains belong to all human- and some animal-adapted MTBc lineages and represent (combinations of) resistance to old and new anti-TB drugs. The majority of our MTBc strains have extended phenotypic drug-susceptibility (DST) or minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) results, complemented with targeted or whole genome sequence data, all searchable in our online catalogue. Since 2018, we distributed 1084 MTBc and 149 NTM strains, and 56 BCG mutants to external clients, either as freeze-dried material, gDNA or thermolysates.

FAIR science aims at sharing scientific output to maximize the access, reuse and impact of research, by depositing biological materials in public repositories along with the datasets (sequences, etc). Public deposit at BCCM/ITM is free of charge, while safe deposit - safeguarding your biological materials at an independent location - comes with a cost.

BCCM/ITM extended its customer-oriented service portfolio, offering genotypic and phenotypic identification and DST, including MIC determination by broth microdilutions testing.  We invite the scientific community to use this resource to the advantage of patients affected by mycobacterial diseases.

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