ITEM – AGRO-FOOD MICROBIAL CULTURE COLLECTION
Microbial culture collections are important to biologists, microbiologists, epidemiologists and others involved in health and natural sciences. The collection centers are responsible for repository reference strains and for the maintenance of these microorganisms. The ITEM Microbial Culture Collection of ISPA (Institute of Sciences and of Food Production) includes more than 13,000 strains belonging to various agro-food microorganisms with phytopathological and toxicological significance and about 6,500 are available as public resources to the scientific community. Thousands strains are toxigenic fungi belonging to Aspergillus, Alternaria, Fusarium, and Penicillium genera, representing a great biodiversity to deepen the knowledge on fungal biology and strategies development for reducing mycotoxin contamination. In addition, there are about 300 yeasts and 400 lactic bacteria autochthonous strains with peculiar properties, preserved and characterized for industrial fermentation of typical Apulian wines, table olive and dairy products.
ITEM database contains molecular, physiological and structural information relevant to the microbial resources deposited:
a) name of the species, author/s, ITEM accession number;
b) geographical origin, substrate/host, isolation, year, depositor, accession numbers of other Collections;
c) biological, molecular, chemical and toxicological information;
d) paper references.
The catalogue of the Collection was first published in 1997 and it is available online at www.ispa.cnr.it/Collection. In 1998 ITEM collection joined the European Culture Collection Organization (ECCO), and nowadays it takes part of the Italian Network of Genetic Resource – BioGenRes (www.biogenres.cnr.it/) and of the European Project on Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure – MIRRI (www.mirri.org/).