An Aberdeen University-based company has launched an international rescue mission to save threatened privately owned collections of microbes.
As a first step, the National Collection of Industrial, Food and Marine Bacteria, has saved the world famous Nathan Smith/Ruth Gordon Bacillus Collection in Virginia, United States.
The American collection of some 1,700 bacteria includes strains known to produce important compounds useful to industry and medicine. Peter Green, curator of the Ncimb, said there are probably thousands of private collections that may represent a scientist's life's work.
It is crucial to save these for future generations of scientists, he said.