Culture collections play a vital role in the conservation and sustainable use of microbial resources. They offer a range of services including the supply of quality-controlled biological material for research, teaching and valorisation in the form of reference strains. ECCO, the European Culture Collections’ organisation, organizes annual meetings since the 1980’s. These annual meetings have become a unique European platform for over 80 culture collections to convene and exchange information of scientific, managerial and practical importance.
The objectives of the ECCO conference are to provide a platform to initiate collaborations, to exchange new scientific insights, to discuss legal developments related to culture collections, to provide examples of how culture collections can contribute to society and to discuss developments in management, and policy of microbial cultures. The themes vary widely and address aspects of micro-organisms in disease and health, food and agriculture, ecological applications, new taxonomic tools, and data management, infrastructures, career skills.
ECCO XLI was held in Brussels in September 2023. Peter Vandamme joined ECCO XLI and moderated a session on new techniques and approaches. In the frame of MIBIREM, his team aims to develop quality standards for the preservation and distribution of bioremediation consortia that are able to degrade petroleum hydrocarbons, cyanides and lindane which are all important chemical pollutants. Whilst ECCO XLI came too early to present MIBIREM results, forthcoming ECCO meetings will be a key platform to present and disseminate their findings.
Author: Peter Vandamme
Professor in microbiology
Faculty of Sciences, Ghent University