National Reference Collection overview

CHAP’s National Reference Collection contains biological samples of importance to UK crop health research and development, and is physically located at CABI in Egham. It has been established with assistance from CABI, Fera and Rothamsted Research, and is open to supply and receive samples from researchers in the UK – building a resource for future generations.

Bringing together subsets of the world-class collections of these three CHAP partners under one online searchable database called the Portal (https://chap-solutions.co.uk/nrc-portal/), the National Reference Collection (NRC) represents the UK’s first designated crop health focused collection. The collection includes plant associated microorganisms, entomopathogenic fungi, crop weed seeds exhibiting different herbicide resistance profiles, pest insect larvae and environmental samples as well as plant pathogenic fungi and bacteria.

Subject to approval and adherence to our policies, academic organisations and commercial companies in the agri-tech and biotech sectors are able to access a unique, world-class resource of crop-relevant biological samples, as well as technical support if required, thereby considerably broadening the industry’s scope in the search for novel biologicals and other innovative and sustainable crop protection products. With this in mind, the laboratory team works in close collaboration with CHAP’s Fungal Biopesticide Development Laboratory, with a pipeline of newly collected candidates. With the support of experts at CABI, this facility is able to test the mass production potential and screen the efficacy of novel biological plant protection products.

By exploring the resources available in the NRC, commercial companies can search for sources of novel biological products and utilise associated data (where available) to extend plant protection product life. This might include genetically and geographically varied field samples, which can then be screened against test subjects from the NRC. Academic communities, plant breeders, plant pathologists and entomologists on the other hand can access the samples and associated data to enhance their investigations into resistance development, modes of action, genomics, or other core research areas. This may aid the understanding of population dynamics of different biotic crop threats.

The NRC is partnered with CABI’s Genetic Resource Collection, which is a member of the United Kingdom Biological Resource Centre Network (UKBRCN), a UNESCO Microbial Resource Centre (MIRCEN), and an International Depository Authority (IDA) within the Budapest Treaty (1977). All samples in the NRC comply with the Nagoya Protocol, and ABS established by the Convention on Biological Diversity.

As well as providing access to research samples via the Portal, the NRC also welcomes the deposit of important samples of relevance to UK crop health from external sources, for long-term stable storage. Deposits are preserved in-house using two gold-standard methods of preservation developed by CABI, and can be stored under 3 different levels of protection based on the requirements of the depositor. For example, fee-free deposits become open access to other researchers on the Portal, supporting and improving public research activities across the sector. Whereas paid secure and safe storage services provide confidential storage of commercially-important samples, these samples are not accessible publicly.

In summary, our services include:

• The supply of novel biological organisms and any associated data with potential agri-tech applications to support research and development.

• Access to expertise from technical staff and partners.

• The preservation and long term stable storage of key crop reference samples of national importance – for industry and researchers.

If you would like to learn more about the samples and services available through the National Reference Collection, please contact enquiries@chap-solutions.co.uk.

If you wish to discuss the storage of strains as part of a patent application process, please contact CABI directly, an IDA (International Depositary Authority) under the Budapest treaty.

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