Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures

The DSMZ is the most comprehensive biological resource center worldwide. Being one of the worlds largest collections, the DSMZ currently comprises more than 70,000 items, including about 31,000 different bacterial and 6,500 fungal strains, 830 human and animal cell lines, 1,500 plant viruses and antisera, 2,000 plasmids and bacteriophages and 13,000 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 reknown supplier for science, diagnostic laboratories, national reference centers, as well as industrial partners.

The trans-sectoral research of the DSMZ focuses on (1) microbial diversity and the underlying evolutionary mechanisms (genome evolution, population genetics), (2) improved methods for the access and ex situ preservation of biodiversity, as well as (3) molecular mechanisms of biological interactions (symbioses, mechanisms of disease, cancer).

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.