Guidelines for management and use of the scientific Collection of Environmental and Laboratory Microbial Strains (CELMS) at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu
The Collection of Environmental
and Laboratory Microbial Strains (with the acronym CELMS) is a non-medical scientific
collection that contains microbes isolated from different contaminated soil and
water samples, mostly from Estonia, including the Baltic Sea. The collection was
established in order to collect and preserve microbes able to biodegrade
various pollutants or producing useful compounds. Additionally, the collection
holds microbial strains that are selected and/or constructed in laboratory
conditions and bear certain characteristics.
The CELMS collection was founded in
1995. Since the year 2008 the collection is registered at WFCC-MIRCEN (World
Federation of Culture Collections, World Data Centre for Microorganisms, registry
number 926). CELMS is a member of ECCO (European
Culture Collections’ Organisation). The collection is financed by the
Estonian Ministry of Education and Research. CELMS is located at the Institute
of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu (23 Riia Street, Tartu
51010). The guidelines for using the collection can be found here at this
website, the public catalogue is available on the Estonian Electronic Microbial dataBase (EEMB) website (http://eemb.ut.ee/)
in English and Estonian.
2. Special regulations
The idea of the CELMS collection is to promote microbiological studies,
especially in case of the strains having potential value in industry and
biotechnological enterprises, including applications reducing environmental
pollution. On the other hand, the aim of the CELMS collection is also to preserve
the microbial strains as our public wealth. Coming from the fact that the CELMS
collection deals with a genetic resource, it has to meet the demands of the
Nagoya protocol. The Nagoya Protocol on Access to
Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from
their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD). It provides a transparent legal framework for the effective
implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and
equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic
The CELMS collection is divided into two different catalogues:
1) The public collection with a catalogue available on
the EEMB website: the microbial strains with thoroughly characterized features,
data of which has been published. This collection is open for international ordering free of charge;
2) Non-public microbial collection that has restrictions
for public use coming mostly from copyright issues (Budapest Treaty, World
Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)) and that will be included to the
public collection after becoming free from restrictions (patents, copyright,
publishing conditions etc).
Storing and maintaining of the first collection as well as managing
the respective database and catalogue are responsibilities of the collection
manager and the collection curator. The second collection has a general catalogue
with restricted access (on a server of Tartu University (\\albert.domenis.ut.ee) with access
of restriced range of persons). Storing of this collection is a responsibility
of scientists working with these microbes on a daily basis, until these strains
will be added to the public collection. Information about these strains is stored
in the catalogue encoded and in accordance with the law.
The value of microbiologically and genetically uncharacterized strains
could not be determined and hence these microbes are worthless for public use.
The CELMS collection is open for ordering and free use only for
non-commercial acitivities. The potential commercial use must be regulated via
the copyright contracts with the persons who isolated and characterized the
strains in accordance with the rules approved in the University of Tartu and
according to the laws of the Estonian Republic.
3. Structure and management of the
The collection is formed of
collected, bought and donated as well as laboratory constructed/selected microbial
strains and the respective information stored in the digital database.
When submitting new strains to
the public collection of CELMS, a contract (Material Transfer Agreement, MTA) is
signed between the person submitting the strains and the collection manager.
This contract must contain information about the submitted strain(s): specific
characteristics (ability to degrade or produce certain chemicals, resistance to
drugs, presence of plasmids etc), general (isolation location/source, important
features necessary for strain identification etc) and specific information
(nucleotide sequence and GenBank deposition data) as well as information
concerning published scientific data and restrictions coming from copyright
issues etc. These contracts are signed and archived.
Management of the collection
is done with the help of electronic database developed on the basis of dbForge Studio
forMySQL Professional. In the nearest future, the CELMS database is
planned to be integrated to the eBiodiversity web interface (http://elurikkus.ut.ee/).
collection also coordinates and collects data about all other microbial strains
stored and used in Estonia, mostly coming from the need to fulfill the
requirements of the Nagoya protocol, coordinated by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the
4. Storage and viability
control of the samples
The storage items (microbial
strains) are stored at -80°C in multiple parallels in multiple freezers.
Isolated strains are preserved inside sterile cryovials. The terms of
preservation (temperature, running maintenance of the freezers) are controlled
by the staff responsible for the collection. The freezers are equipped with fault
detection and alarm transmitting systems. In case of danger to the storage rooms,
actions are in compliance with the university security rules.
The collection is preserved in
locked refrigerators. The collection is accessible only to the assigned personnel,
in absence of those persons only to the assigned substitutes. No third party
has access to the collection.
5. Use and availability of the
The strains preserved in the
collection as well as all information about them are freely available for use for
academic research (non-commercial purposes) within the institution.
The microbial strains are
available for other institutions of the University of Tartu as
well as other parts according to MTA (Material Transfer Agreement) for academic
research (non-commercial purposes). For signing the contract, please contact the
collection personnel. These contracts are archived.