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Collecting and matching microbial strain identifiers

Short description 

Microbiologists and researchers working with microbial strains often struggle to effectively compare their own results with existing scientific information. The burden of resolving strain-based information from different platforms falls on the individual, which can be time-consuming and cumbersome.

To make this process easier, StrainInfo is a service being developed to provide a one-stop shop for strain identity information. Strain identifiers represent a universal language for working with strains and can be found throughout literature, databases, and culture collection catalogs. The most widely used strain identifiers for microorganisms are culture collection numbers (CCNo) like DSM 20083 or LMG 10502, which are assigned by culture collection centers during strain deposition. The variety of primary sources for CCNo and the absence of a centralized resource impede the finding that DSM 20083 and LMG 10502 represent the very same strain.

Resolving these identifiers facilitates the discovery of corresponding strains and the gathering of additional strain information. This is the prerequisite for microbiologists to compare their own results with other scientific information and integrate this data into their own analysis. StrainInfo provides culture collection numbers, their relations, and associated information on taxonomy, sequence accessions, and literature to help researchers in their work with microbial strains.

Graphical abstract

Graphical abstract Use Case Strain-ID

Graphical abstract “Use Case Strain-ID” by Lorenz Reimer with visual adaptation by Thomas Clavel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).

How you can contribute 

You are a … 

  • microbiologist trying to identify and match CCNo to a given strain:
    Use the service StrainInfo and provide feedback
  • microbiologist with cultures prior to their deposition:
    Register your strain designation, get a persistent strain identifier, and provide feedback using the built-in feedback (future service in the year 2024/25)


Below, you will find the output provided by the Use Case. If you are interested in the development stages of the project, these are indicated by the following tenses and suffixes.
The output for the research community is already established (-ed for past tense), is currently being (-ing for present progressive) in progress, or will be soon set-up (present tense) for future endeavors.

Output for researchers
  • Resolving CCNo and strain designation, and their relations to sequences, species names, and literature
  • Using the API to synchronize or update your data, or retrieve new culture data
  • Register your strain designation prior to deposition, and receive a persistent identifier (PID) starting in the year 2024/25
Infrastructure output
  • Created and testing the beta version of StrainInfo database
  • Gathering feedback on functions and user experience of strain identifier service starting March 2023
  • Providing a central registry/ resolution database for CCNo and strain designation

Project Lead

card image

Lorenz Reimer

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7805-0660
Bioinformatics & database development at German Culture Collection Centre/ Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH


culture collection numbers

persistent identifier

microbial strains