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Microbial Culture Collections in India: Historical Perspectives and Future Prospects

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Progress in Mycology
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Abstract

Culture collections maintaining microbial strains in pure forms are considered as important resource for research and development. The strains are maintained either in active condition or abiotically, a condition that assures little alterations/morphogenetic changes over decades. The first culture collection, the Kral collection, was established in Prague. Since then many culture collections have been developed in the world. Preamble to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) aptly emphasizes that the countries have sovereign rights over all types of biological resources, and are responsible for conserving and using in sustainable manner for the benefit of present and future generations. Microbial culture collections having essential expertise function as repository preserve, maintain and manage microbial genetic resources and associated information. Use of various methodologies facilitate ex situ conservation which is an integral part of culture collection activities. These efforts would make the availability of authentic and high-quality strains to research community on sustained basis. Geographical enormity of India with biodiversity hotspots is the testimony of requirement of culture collections with modern preservation facilities, appropriate expertise and best strategies can cater to the need of country’s R&D programmes as well as can attract biotech industries for depositing their microbial strains in culture collections. However, diminishing interest in the fundamentals of microbial taxonomy and systematics, especially among young researchers and students, is a matter of great concern. The conservation of rich microbial diversity and its judicious, sustainable use for the benefit of various sectors like agriculture, health care and biotech industry is yet another topic of importance requiring immediate attention. Taking a cue from activities of several international collections, this article advocates the need for more coordinated efforts by Indian culture collections with the ultimate goal of ensuring quality services, and building capacity for sustainable utilization of microbial resources of India under existing regulatory framework.

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Acknowledgements

I wish to thank Dr. Deeba Kamil, Senior Scientist (Mycology), Division of Plant Pathology, IARI, New Delhi, for sharing information about HCIO-ITCC and Director, Agharkar Research Institute, Pune, for facilities and DST, Govt. of India, for financial support.

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Correspondence to Sanjay K. Singh .

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Singh, S.K. (2021). Microbial Culture Collections in India: Historical Perspectives and Future Prospects. In: Satyanarayana, T., Deshmukh, S.K., Deshpande, M.V. (eds) Progress in Mycology. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-2350-9_5

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