Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen

The Leibniz Institute DSMZ - German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH (Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH) (abbreviation is DSM and DSMZ[1]) was founded 1969 as the national culture collection in Germany. This independent non-profit organization is dedicated to the acquisition, characterization, identification, preservation, distribution of Bacteria, Archea, fungi, plasmids, bacteriophages, human and animal cell lines, plant cell cultures and plant viruses. The organization is member of the German Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and of worldwide organizations like the European Culture Collections' Organisation (ECCO), the World Federation for Culture Collections (WFCC), and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).

Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen
TypeIndependent, non-profit organization
PurposeNational culture collection
  • Germany
LeaderJörg Overmann
AffiliationsEuropean Culture Collections' Organisation

The DSMZ has close working links with several other international culture collections, including the International Collection of Microorganisms from Plants (ICMP) in New Zealand, the CFBP in France, the Belgian Co-ordinated Collections of Micro-organisms (BCCM/LMG) in Belgium, the National Collection of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria (NCPPB) in the UK, and others.

Jörg Overmann has acted as scientific director since 2010.

Collection and servicesEdit

The DSMZ has, at present,[when?] about 30,000 cultures, including 19,000 different cultures of microorganisms, 41 plant cell cultures, 1400 plant viruses, 800 human and animal cell lines, and 6700 patent deposits and safe deposits. Only biological material of biosafety levels 1 and 2 is housed. The scientific services are offered to support fundamental research and processes of industrial production or ecological development, but also for the elucidation and solution of biological material. The DSMZ is recognized as an International Deposit Authority (IDA) for the deposit of biological material under the Budapest Treaty. Information on cultures and services, catalogues and lists are available online at the DSMZ website.[2]

The DSMZ offers bioinformatic services such as databases on bacterial nomenclature and diversity, and tools to calculate DNA–DNA hybridization values from genome sequences for microbial classification.[3]

It also manages the online metadatabase BacDive, which provides strain-linked information about bacterial and archeal biodiversity.[4]


The research activities at DSMZ are focussed on collection-related fields, including microbial taxonomy, phylogeny, evolution, molecular biodiversity studies, development of preservation methods for biological material, characterization and identification of cell lines and microorganisms as well as detection and elimination of mycoplasms and viruses from human and animal cell lines. The DSMZ is involved in several large-scale genome-sequencing projects in collaboration with the Joint Genome Institute.