Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures

The DSMZ is the most comprehensive biological resource center worldwide. Being one of the world's largest collections, the DSMZ currently comprises more than 83,000 items, including about 37,500 different bacterial and 8,600 fungal strains, 900 human and animal cell lines, 860 plant viruses plus antisera, 1,100 bacteriophages and 20,000 different types of bacterial genomic DNA. All biological materials accepted in the DSMZ collection are subject to extensive quality control and physiological and molecular characterization by our central services. In addition, DSMZ provides an extensive documentation and detailed diagnostic information on the biological materials. The unprecedented diversity and quality management of its bioresources render the DSMZ an internationally renowned supplier for science, diagnostic laboratories, national reference centers, as well as industrial partners.

The trans-sectoral research of the DSMZ focuses in (1) microbial diversity and the underlying evolutionary mechanisms (cross-cutting research topic Systematics & Evolution), (2) the diversity of microbial functions and adaptations (cross-cutting research topic Functional Diversity), and (3) the molecular mechanisms of biotic interactions (symbiosis, mechanisms of disease, cancer; cross-cutting research topic Pathobiology). On the applied side, research also covers the development of methods for the access and ex situ preservation of biodiversity.

The DSMZ maintains specific expertise and offers counseling in the areas

  • microbial taxonomy, phylogeny and species description
  • standardization and quality assurance of bioresources
  • biosafety and biosecurity
  • legal framework for the exploitation of bioresources (Patenting, Convention of Biological Diversity, Access and Benefit Sharing)

The DSMZ employs around 200 people from 18 nations. The share of women is 70 percent overall and 45 percent of the employees are scientists with a share of women of almost 50 percent. The proportion of female non-scientific staff is almost 90 percent.