The South African National Collection of Fungi (NCF) comprises
of two major collections namely the dried herbarium collection
(acronym PREM) and the live culture collection (acronym
Mycology Unit, Biosystematics Division, Plant Protection
Institute, Agricultural Research Council, KwaMhlanga road, Roodeplaat, Pretoria,
South Africa. Map to premises is available here.
Number of accessions
At the end of 2009 PREM consisted of 63 000 specimens of which
2500 specimens were types.At the end of 2009 PPRI consisted of 10 000
specimens, including species and varieties.
Adriaana Jacobs-Venter project manager of NCF and curator of
Basidiomycota, Fusarium and black yeasts Elna van der Linde,
curator of AscomycotaMariette Truter, curator of Fungi Imperfecti Grace
Kwinda, curator of Zygomycota and primitive fungi
Specimens for research
A loan of the dried herbarium specimens in PREM are available
to researchers on request, while living cultures can be purchase for research
Key activities directly and indirectly related to the National
Collection of Fungi from 1772 to 2009 were summarised and are available here.
Background: The international acronym PREM denotes
the South African National Collection of Fungi, which houses approximately 63
000 specimens. The collection includes material from all continents with its
focus on various surveys undertaken during the past 105 years. Numerous
specimens from other collections have been received and most are incorporated
into PREM. A list of these special
collections is available, as well as a list of specimens received from the
The name PREM was derived from the city in which the collection
is situated, Pretoria (PRE), and the M defines the collection as being
mycological. Background information and historical facts about the collection
were published by Rong &
Baxter in 2006 (Studies of Mycology 55: 1-12).
The collection was established in 1905 and through the vision
and hard work of scientists associated with the collection, the way for the
establishment of a world renounced collection was paved. During the past century
activities at PREM were influenced by socio-economic and political events, and
most recently, the global focus on the conservation of biodiversity. Although
the basic goals and needs to maintain PREM remained integral throughout, various
phases in terms of research focus can be recognised over the past century. In
the early days the emphasis was on collecting and recording of fungi, after
which the focus shifted to mycotoxins and recently to preservation of
biodiversity. There is also an increasing demand for public-good services such
as information and diagnostics surrounding quarantine regulations. Currently,
the research focuses on the survey of ecosystems and molecular
Background:The collection was started as a
research collection in 1981 by Dr Cecile Roux to accommodate the strains that
formed part of her study on Pithomyces chartarum a pathogen of rice and
sorghum and responsible for facial eczema of sheep. The collection is
affiliated with the World Federation of Culture Collections and houses ca. 10
000 cultures that include numerous important plant-pathogenic and mycotoxigenic
genera isolated from various mono-cultural crops and natural ecosystems in South
PPRI public collection:Strains deposited in PPRI of
the NCF are maintained and preserved according to the highest standards and
renowned preservation methods. Deposits are free of charge. Depositors with the
NCF are entitled to receive their strains free of charge at first request. A deposit
form containing basic collection information should be completed and
supplied with any culture. However, the institute does not guarantee
preservation of strains for any period of time from the public collection.
Strains from the PPRI public collection are available to the public and
researcher institutes for research purposes only. A material
transfer agreement form has to be signed before the cultures can be
PPRI reserved collection:Strains deposited in the
PPRI-reserved collection of the NCF are maintained and preserved according to
the highest standards and renowned preservation methods. When clients require
that their cultures are maintained as part of the reserved collection, the NCF
guarantees restricted access to the strains. Reserved strains are not available
for general public or other researcher for the duration of the reservation
period. The maintenance of these strains does however form part of the routine
maintenance regime followed in the public collection. A fee will be charged for
the maintenance of reserved cultures for the duration of the reservation period.
Deposits:Request to researchers to
deposit specimens:Microbiologists are earnestly requested to send any
species of interest for incorporation into the National Collection of Fungi’s
PPRI and PREM collections. However, the deposition of strains that have been
extensively studied for metabolites or other properties is also recommended.
Donors should provide the correct name of the author of the species and supply
full particulars regarding host, substrate, locality, pathogenicity, genetic
modification, conditions for preservation and date of isolation according to the
We urge that strains that represent or may represent either a
new species or new taxa be sent to the NCF prior to publication to ensure
allocation of a unique PREM and/or PPRI number which is cited in any publication
afterwards. In case of living cultures, such strains will be incorporated in the
collection with the author's rights strictly safeguarded by requesting
reservation (restricted use) of cultures against use by anybody else. Such
reservation is guaranteed and strictly enforced.
The institute is always grateful to receive reprints of
publications arising from work on its specimens.
Support the National Collection of Fungi in preserving
our fungal biodiversity
Kind of material that may be
depositedPPRIThe NCF accept fungal strains that can be
maintained with routine laboratory techniques without significant modification
during storage in ultralow temperature, freeze drying or on agar slants. Strains
requiring special cultural conditions can be accepted under special conditions
and are subject to additional fees (on request).
If cultures are considered to be a special hazard (e.g. new
quarantine species, new plant disease or species of economical importance), the
collection should be contacted before sending the strains.
We do not accept human or animal pathogens.
PREMDried herbarium material i.e. fungal cultures
or dried host material that represents a specific species, first report, etc.
should be deposited according to the guidelines provided in the PREM
material deposit protocol. Depositors are requested to deposit ample
material for future evaluation of the material.
Administrative and technical requirements and
proceduresRequirements to be met by the depositor (PREM &
PPRI) The depositor is required to complete the supplied deposit
form. In the event of a later indication or amendment of a scientific
description and/or proposed taxonomic designation, the depositor must inform the
collection of such changes in a timely fashion.
Format and quantity (PPRI)The NCF prefers to
receive fungi submitted for deposit as agar slants. A minimum number of two
replicates should be supplied by the depositor. No culture will be accepted
without full collection data.
Time required for viability testing (PPRI)The
average period required for testing viability is 2 weeks; occasionally viability
testing may take longer, particularly if specialized media is required.
Checking and supplement of stocks by the depositor
(PPRI)The NCF may routinely ask the depositor to check the authenticity
of the deposited strains after sub-culturing. New batches of cultures are
prepared whenever it is necessary to supplement diminishing stocks.
General (PREM & PPRI)The preferred
language for correspondence is English.
The NCF does not enter into any written contract
with the depositor defining the liabilities of either party but, by
signing the deposit forms, the depositor surrenders any right to withdraw his
deposit during the storage period.
Certain micro-organisms are subject to import and/or
quarantine regulations. The depositor should contact the Department of
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to obtain the necessary information and
Contact person: Dr A. Jacobs-Venter