The Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS) Fungal Biodiversity Centre - an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and situated in Utrecht - maintains a world-renowned collection of living filamentous fungi, yeasts and bacteria.
The Institute's research programs principally focus on the taxonomy and evolution of fungi as well as on functional aspects of fungal biology and ecology, increasingly making use of molecular and genomics approaches. The institute employs circa 70 personnel, among whom 20 scientists.
The Collection now maintains over 50.000 strains of micro-organisms, representing a large percentage of the species in the fungal kingdom that have been cultured to date. In diversity of species it is unchallenged as a reference centre for mycological research. The task to preserve the organisms while maintaining their original characters is a perpetuating challenge to technicians and scientists alike. Because the increase in the number of organism acquisitions is not proportional to an increase in assistance, preservation on agar has been minimized, thus placing high demands upon long-term preservation, a focal point for collection research. The value of a collection depends not only on the quality of the strains, but equally on the amount and accuracy of the data attached to them. Although there are considerable differences among the various taxonomic groups, efforts are taken to increase the amount of information. The available databases allow random information retrieval and give not only access to strain data, but also to literature while links to on-line information present elsewhere are provided. CBS is a centre of expertise, advising on mycological problems of a scientific, health-related or industrial nature. It offers various services including identifications, patent deposits and courses. Research projects for third parties can be carried out on a strictly confidential base. The institute also publishes books and the journals Studies in Mycology, CBS Biodiversity Series and Persoonia.