National Fungal Culture Collection of India (Acronym- NFCCI) is a unique national facility established in 2008 by DST, New Delhi at Agharkar Research Institute, Pune. It is an affiliate member of World Federation for Culture Collections (WFCC) and is registered with the World Data Centre for Microorganisms (WDCM-932). This facility has been established with the overall aims to conserve fungi as genetic resource pools for future research, capacity building in thrust area of taxonomy (HRD) and to provide service (s) in authentication of fungi. NFCCI is an exclusive repository holding over 2800 strains of different groups of fungi. The NFCCI has several competent scientific and technical staff who executes the responsibilities.
Pure cultures of fungi are becoming increasingly important in diverse fields such as agriculture, medicine and industrial biotechnology. Tropical fungal biodiversity deserves exploration and conservation in pure cultures as a pre-requisite to advance researchers in areas such as diseases, control, exploration for novel bioactive molecules and industrial enzymes. Our knowledge of tropical fungal biodiversity as well as availability of pure cultures for R & D process needs greater emphasis to be laid for future scientific advances in fungal-based technologies. The national facility comprising of following activities:
Repository: Receipt, verification, preservation, maintenance and accession of cultures are the core activities which are undertaken on routine basis. Conservation of diverse fungal strains under optimal conditions is undertaken following standard protocols, viz., preservation in glycerol, mineral oil, sterile distilled water and in lyophilized form. In addition, authentic strains are also preserved in liquid nitrogen (cryopreservation). Inventories and databases are developed to store relevant information on cultures maintained in NFCCI.
Services: With the available expertise, services for morphological & molecular identification of fungal cultures, analysis for TVC/CFU, deposition and accession of fungal culture are provided. In addition, authentic fungal strains are also supplied to academia, research institutions and industries.
R & D: The facility is also a centre of active research focusing on diversity and taxonomy of fungi, which is a topic of great interest. Mycodiversity exploration, identification (by polyphasic approaches), characterization and documentation of micro and macrofungi of diverse taxonomic groups (incl. lichenized fungi) are undertaken. Concerted efforts are being made to bring into pure culture of diverse fungi including rare and less investigated taxa for conservation and biotechnological applications. In addition, screening of fungi of different taxonomic groups for polyketide pigments production and in-silico analysis is also undertaken to understand the involvement of polyketide synthase (PKS) in different biological processes of pigment production.
Human Resource Development:National level workshop is conducted to capacity building in thrust areas of fungal taxonomy and ex-situ conservation. However, individual training is also imparted on request.