The World Data Center for Microorganisms (WDCM) and Center for Microbial Resources and Big Data of the Institute of Microbiology of CAS (IMCAS) jointly released the "2016 Microbial Resource Development Report for China" on Sept. 6. It is the first report on China's microbial resource development.
The report describes and evaluates the development of microbial research in China and provides a reference for formulating research plans and the direction of development. In the report, scientists analyzed papers and patents related to microbial research based on microbial resource collections in China.
China achieved significant progress in research on microbial resources from 2001 to 2015, according to the report. Globally, China ranks first in patent culture collection and is second only to the United States in the volume of papers in the field of microorganisms.
According to statistics of Culture Collections Information Worldwide (CCINFO), a world directory of all registered culture collections, China has 33 culture collection centers, with 182,235 sharable bacterial strains.
China's total number of culture collections ranks fourth in the world. Culture collection centers worldwide preserve 96,907 patented strains, while 11,977 are in China's General Microbiological Culture Collection Center.
The report was completed by three CAS institutions: the Institute of Microbiology, Shanghai Information Center for Life Sciences, and Chengdu Documentation and Information Center.
"Life on earth depends on microorganisms and their sustainable utilization is essential for human civilization. We will release global microbial resource reports next year," said Dr. MA Juncai, director of WDCM and director of the Center for Microbial Resources and Big Data.
Microbial resources may be the largest not yet effectively developed and utilized natural resource on Earth, with gigantic industrial value. The research and utilization of microbial resources by modern technology has become a strategic focus of global biological resource competition.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, major developed countries have determined their strategies and goals for biotechnology development over the next several decades. Establishing China's microbial resource protection policy and new technology for development and utilization of microbial resources will be of strategic significance.
WDCM is the only worldwide data center for microorganisms under the World Federation for Culture Collections. In October 2010, IMCAS won the bid for hosting the center, which was first hosted by the University of Queensland, Australia and later the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN), Japan. This year marks the 50th anniversary of WDCM. As of now, 708 microbial resource culture collections from 72 countries and regions have shared their information through the WDCM data portal.