The Leibniz Institute DSMZ - German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH (Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH) was founded 1969 as the national culture collection in Germany. The independent, non-profit organization is dedicated to the acquisition, characterization and identification, preservation and distribution of Bacteria, Archea, fungi, plasmids, bacteriophages, human and animal cell lines, plant cell cultures and plant viruses. The collection is member of the German Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and of worldwide organizations like the „European Culture Collections' Organisation“ (ECCO), the „World Federation for Culture Collections“ (WFCC) and the „Global Biodiversity Information Facility“ (GBIF). The DSMZ also has close working links with several other international culture collections, such as ICMP in New Zealand, CFBP in France, BCCM/LMG in Belgium, NCPPB in the UK, and others. Since 2010 Prof. Dr. Jörg Overmann acts as scientific director.
The DSMZ has, at present, about 30,000 cultures, such as 19,000 different cultures of microorganisms, 750 plant cell cultures, 550 plant viruses, 740 human and animal cell lines, and 6700 patent deposits and safe deposits. Only biological material of biosafety levels 1 and 2 is housed. The scientific services are offered to support fundamental research and processes of industrial production or ecological development, but also for the elucidation and solution of biological material. The DSMZ is recognized as an International Deposit Authority (IDA) for the deposit of biological material under the Budapest Treaty. Information on cultures and services, catalogues and lists are available online at the DSMZ website. The DSMZ offers bioinformatic services such as databases on bacterial nomenclature and diversity as well as tools to calculate DNA–DNA hybridization values from genome sequences for microbial classification.
The research activities at DSMZ are focussed on collection-related fields, including microbial taxonomy, phylogeny, evolution, molecular biodiversity studies, development of preservation methods for biological material, characterization and identification of cell lines and microorganisms as well as detection and elimination of mycoplasms and viruses from human and animal cell lines. The DSMZ is involved in several large-scale genome-sequencing projects in collaboration with the Joint Genome Institute.