What we do

NCIMB Ltd supplies microbial cultures and provides a range of microbiology, biological material storage and analytical services to industrial and academic customers around the globe. Our products and services deliver essential underpinning support for research and innovation programmes, quality control programmes, intellectual property protection, microbial identification and environmental monitoring.

We manage the National Collection of Industrial Food and Marine Bacteria, the biggest reference collection of industrially and environmentally valuable microorganisms in the UK, and are an International Depository Authority (IDA) for bacteria, fungi, bacteriophages, plasmids and plant seeds that are the subject of patent applications.

Our skilled microbiologists have extensive experience of providing GMP standard microbial identification services as well as monitoring the microbial populations that influence corrosion, and we offer a next generation sequencing and bioinformatics service that includes whole genome sequencing and metagenomics services.

NCIMB’s analytical services department undertakes fuel testing, ecotoxicity testing, and offers a suite of commonly requested chemical analyses and tests for effluents and oilfield produced waters.

Our customers include companies in the pharmaceutical, personal care, food, drink and supplements, oil and gas, agricultural and environmental sectors, as well as research organisations around the globe.

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.