Preservation, characterization and exploitation of microbial biodiversity: The perspective of the italian network of culture collections

Luciana De Vero, Maria Beatrice Boniotti, Marilena Budroni, Pietro Buzzini, Stefano Cassanelli, Roberta Comunian, Maria Gullo, Antonio F. Logrieco, Ilaria Mannazzu, Rosario Musumeci, Iolanda Perugini, Giancarlo Perrone, Andrea Pulvirenti, Paolo Romano, Benedetta Turchetti, Giovanna Cristina Varese

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Microorganisms represent most of the biodiversity of living organisms in every ecological habitat. They have profound effects on the functioning of any ecosystem, and therefore on the health of our planet and of human beings. Moreover, microorganisms are the main protagonists in food, medical and biotech industries, and have several environmental applications. Accordingly, the characterization and preservation of microbial biodiversity are essential not only for the maintenance of natural ecosystems but also for research purposes and biotechnological exploitation. In this context, culture collections (CCs) and microbial biological resource centres (mBRCs) are crucial for the safeguarding and circulation of biological resources, as well as for the progress of life sciences. This review deals with the expertise and services of CCs, in particular concerning preservation and characterization of microbial resources, by pointing to the advanced approaches applied to investigate a huge reservoir of microorganisms. Data sharing and web services as well as the tight interconnection between CCs and the biotechnological industry are highlighted. In addition, guidelines and regulations related to quality management systems (QMSs), biosafety and biosecurity issues are discussed according to the perspectives of CCs and mBRCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number685
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Biobanks
  • Bioeconomy
  • Biological resource centres
  • Biotechnology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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