The mission of the Leibniz Institute DSMZ is the research, provision and use of microbial and cellular biodiversity. The DSMZ is both a research infrastructure used by science and industry for non-commercial purposes and a research institution in the field of microbial biodiversity research.

The Leibniz Institute DSMZ is the most diverse biological resource center in the world and one of the largest collections of microorganisms and cell cultures worldwide. With the availability of 80 percent of all formally described bacterial species, the DSMZ hosts the majority of bacterial diversity as well as a globally unique stock of human and animal cell lines, fungal strains, plant viruses, bacteriophages and genomic bacterial DNA for research purposes. The DSMZ is both an active collection and a research institute.

The German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 1996 and plays a key role in the national and international biological research community. As a Leibniz Institute, the non-profit DSMZ is supported by the State of Lower Saxony and funded by the Federal Government and the German states.

The DSMZ was the first "Registered Collection" under the EU Regulation 511/2014 for the Nagoya Protocol and the only recognized international depositary in Germany under the Budapest Treaty. The processes carried out at the Leibniz Institute DSMZ are certified according to various independent procedures including ISO / TC 276 Biotechnology, DIN EN ISO 9001 and OECD "Best Practice Guidelines for Biological Resource Centres". In addition, the department of plant virus is accredited according ISO 17034.