Collection of pure cultures of microorganisms
The Laboratory of Biodeterioration Research maintains a unique collection of pure cultures of microorganisms of various systematic groups. The collection of microorganisms is a foundation for microbiology research, practice and development, and a source of microorganism strains and information about them. The collection reflects microbial biodiversity, because saprotrophic, mycosymbiotrophic, parasitic, microscopic fungi, yeast and bacteria strains used in biotechnology are maintained. To date, over 2,500 strains of microscopic fungi, yeasts and yeast-like fungi and bacteria species are stored. Every year the collection is augmented with new species and strains of microorganisms functioning on various substrates, possessing specific properties of applied significance as well as producing biologically active substances (enzymes, proteins, vitamins, organic acids, pigments, etc.). The strains of microorganisms patented in the Republic of Lithuania and maintained in the collection are as follows: Trichoderma harzianum VNB-16, decomposing fuel oil (LT patent N 4794B); Candida lipolytica C.6.1-5, oxidizing oil and petroleum products (LT patent N 4793B); Pseudomonas fluorescens IGN 57, decomposing oil and petroleum products (LT patent N 4792B); and microorganism Candida lipolytica and Trichoderma harzianum strains, which are designated for biodegradation of the industrial production waste monoethanolamine (MEA) (LT patent N 5502B). A large part of the collection of medically important microorganisms belong to the genera Trichophyton, Microsporum, Candida, Geotrichum, Aspergillus, etc. The collection of microorganisms functioning in the environment allows the maintenance of a valuable microbial gene pool, assisting knowledge and ensuring peculiarities determining their vital importance and application. Control of the cultures deposited in the collection is carried out periodically; novel efficient methods of storage and sustaining activity are being elaborated. For long-term maintenance of microorganisms, cryogenic and lyophilization methods are used. Currently, an electronic database on pure cultures of microorganisms sustained in the collection of the Laboratory of Biodeterioration Research is being created. The electronic database on the maintained gene pool of microorganisms will satisfy the needs of higher education and research, environmental protection and control institutions, manufacturers and the general public.