NCIMB is a Scottish company with an international client-base. We ship microbial cultures around the world and offer a trusted range of microbiology, analytical and biological material storage services. Our customers include household names in food, drink and energy production as well as some of the world's biggest pharmaceutical manufacturers. We also work with universities, research institutes, small companies and start-ups.

Whoever we are working with and whatever product or service we are providing, we pride ourselves on delivering high levels of customer service.

What we do

At the heart of our company is the UK's National Collection of Industrial, Food and Marine Bacteria - a fantastic collection of environmentally important and industrially useful bacteria from which we take our company name. You can learn more about the history of our culture collection in the NCIMB timeline. We ship strains from our culture collection to customers in industry and academia around the world.

Our microbiology services help our customers manage microorganisms - whether they are a pharmaceutical company that need microbial identification of environmental isolates from their production facilities, a probiotics company screening candidate strains for antimicrobial resistance or an oil company monitoring the microbes that can influence corrosion in production facilities, our services help them to achieve their goals.

NCIMB's analytical services include ecotoxicity testing using our own BEIS recommended multispecies microbial tests MARA and LumiMARA, a suite of commonly requested effluent tests, and fuel testing of marine gas oil and diesel.

As curators of a major culture collection, we are experts in the storage of biological material. We have used that expertise to develop a trusted range of biological material storage services for companies and academic researchers that require an offsite back up of their important biological material. We can store bacteria, plasmids, bacteriophage, DNA, protozoa, fungi, algae, orthodox plant seeds and plant cell tissue cultures. NCIMB is recognised around the world as a depository of biological material that is the subject of patent applications. 

Why choose NCIMB?

Our customer feedback tells us that our customers value our high levels of customer service including: clear concise communication; staff that are always keen to help or advise; excellent quality control and attention to detail; excellent technical support; ease of sending samples; and fast turnaround times.
70 years
1000s of isolates
Customers in six continents
Investing in the latest technology
WFCC affiliated
Working to internationally recognised quality standards

Our History

NCIMB Ltd was established as a company in 1982, but the history of the National Collection of Industrial, Food and Marine Bacteria itself goes back much further.

During the 1950s, the UK Government merged the National Collection of Industrial Bacteria and the National Collection of Marine Bacteria to create the National Collection of Industrial and Marine Bacteria. This collection continued to be part of the Scientific Civil Service until 1982 when it was transferred to the University of Aberdeen, and NCIMB Ltd was created as a wholly owned subsidiary of Aberdeen University Industrial Services (AURIS).  At this time the company also gained the status of International Depository Authority under the Budapest Treaty, and as such began storing patented plant seeds and strains of microorganisms that are involved in patented processes.

In 1993, the National Collection of Food Bacteria was moved to NCIMB, further extending its remit as the UK’s premier collection of environmental reference strains, and in 2000, NCIMB Ltd was spun out from the university to become an independent company.

Since then the company has continued to manage the UK’s National Collection of Industrial, Food and Marine Bacteria as well as developing a range of microbiology services and products that build on our heritage of managing, understanding and exploiting bacteria. These include microbial identification services, biomaterial storage services and toxicity tests as well as oilfield microbiology services. Today, NCIMB is also a well-established provider of analytical services for the environmental and oilfield sectors.