IV - II - The Fungi Culture Collection (UMIP)


General presentation

 The Collection des Champignons (Fungal Culture Collection) of the Institut Pasteur is in charge of about 2500 strains of fungi (filamentous fungi and yeasts) and Actinomycetes, most of which originated from human lesions. The collection also includes strains from environmental origin (air, soil, decaying plant material, or dead invertebrates, mostly insects). Strains from human origin were isolated either from superficial or deep mycoses. The involved fungal species can be yeasts or filamentous fungi. Among species isolated from superficial mycoses, for instance, there are yeasts (Candida spp., Malassezia spp.) and filamentous fungi such as the Dermatophytes, which are responsible for tineas (genera Trichophyton, Microsporum, Epidermophyton).

The collection started in the 50’s, owing to the Pasteurian scientists, either practicians or not, who dedicated themselves to medical mycology. Among them one could mention the names of Gabriel Segretain, François Mariat, Édouard Drouhet, and later those of Claude de Bièvre, Éveline Guého... Indeed, the Institut Pasteur is well known for its significant role in the development of medical mycology in France. The reputation of the Institut Pasteur in this matter spreads over frontiers, as demonstrated by the wide range of nationalities among the trainees of the annual Medical mycology course of the institute. In the same way, the Fungal Culture Collection is asked regularly to provide fungal cultures people in charge of practical work in specialized Mycology courses at secondary and university level, in France and abroad.

When it is a matter of strains from human origin, the collection is enriched with new isolates either through the deposit by public or private laboratories, or by practicians, or by exchange with foreign collections. In the case of fungal strains isolated from arthropods, the enrichment of the collection resulted from investigations carried out directly in the field by the staff of the collection. Annual report 2006.

In addition to specific collection activities (culture, preservation, identity and viability checking, distribution), idenfication of contaminants isolated from industrial processes, special environments, etc. is performed on request. Contacts : francoise.dromer@pasteur.fr, dea.garcia-hermoso@pasteur.fr

Furthermore, the laboratory developed a sound expertise on systematics, ecology and host specificity of arthropod-pathogenic fungi, especially those belonging to the order Entomophthorales (Zygomycetes). Annual report 2006.

The Collection des Champignons is registered under the number 344 (acronym: UMIP) in the World Directory of Collections of Cultures of Micro-organisms (WDCM). In 2005 the collection joined the European Culture Collections’ Organization (ECCO).

As an integral part of the Centre de Ressources Biologiques de l’Institut Pasteur (CRBIP) in March 2005, the Collection des Champignons met the requirements of the international standard ISO 9001 : 2000.




Curators :
Françoise Dromer et Dea Garcia-Hermoso

M. Kiredjian

Technicians :
A. Pietfroid - M.-A. Rouffaud

Preservation of fungal strains

Several means are theoretically available to preserve cultures of microscopic fungi: on agar slant under paraffin oil, by freeze-drying at - 80°C, or by freezing in liquid nitrogen.

In practice, however, the possible modes of preservation depend on the taxonomic position of strains. For instance, most of the entomophthoralean strains isolated from arthropods cannot be freeze-dried or kept under paraffin oil. These strains are therefore stored at –80°C or in liquid nitrogen. As for the most fastidious strains, they are kept as cultures on agar slants at +10°C.

Unless it is not possible, the strains of the Collection des Champignons are automatically freeze-dried, which is undoubtedly the most convenient way of preservation. Each strain is preserved under two ways of maintenance.

Designation of fungal species and strains

The nomenclature of fungi is governed by the International code of botanical nomenclature. Each fungal species is named owing to a latinized binomial: the name of the genus, followed by the name of the species. The most recent binomial is applied, given taxonomic revisions carried out by specialists could result in binomial changes. The binomial is followed by the name of people who described the fungus. In case there are name(s) between bracketts, it means that the species was transferred into another genus later on.

Example : within the genus Metarhizium, the species anisopliae is spelt as follows: Metarhizium anisopliae (Metschnikoff) Sorokin

That species was first described by Elie Metschnikoff within the genus Entomophthora, under the species name anisopliae. Later on, Sorokin transferred it into the genus Metarhizium on the basis of a comparative morphological analysis.


Dead insect with a Metarhizium anisopliae infection

Description of fungal species involves basically morphological characters. For microscopic filamentous fungi, macroscopic and microscopic characters are considered: texture and colour of cultures on various selected media, growth rate, morphology and size of hyphae, sporulating structures, etc. Biochemical characters are used for identification of yeasts. Furthermore, molecular methods are now available (PCR, RFLP, RAPD, sequences of parts of the genome, etc.) which allow a sharper characterization at the infraspecific level.

The anamorph ("imperpect") and the teleomorph ("perfect") are two states of a fungal species: the former corresponds to the asexual form, the latter to the sexual form. Interestingly, a given fungal species can be known under two binomials; it happens when the anamorph and the teleomorph are described separately, by distinct people. In any case, the binomial applied to the teleomorph covers that of anamorph and takes precedence.

When there are a binomial for the anamorph and a binomial for the telemorph for a given species, the catalogue of the Collection des Champignons mentions both binomials.

The number of each strain is systematically preceded by the international acronym of the collection (UMIP). That number corresponds to the order number of the integrated strain, followed by the year when the strain was integrated into the collection.

Example : the Metarhizium anisopliae strain with the number UMIP 1693.87 was integrated into the collection in 1987 ; it is the 1693rd strain deposited in the collection.

A strain number followed by the letter "T" means that the strain is a type strain.

The biosafety level (1 or 2) of species is the one specified in the Official Journal of European Community, Directive 2000/54/CE from the European Parliament, and from the Council of 18 September 2000.

Vision de tubes

How to grow strains of microscopic fungi?

Usually, filamentous fungi are grown routinely on an agar medium supplemented with malt extract or on potato-dextrose-agar (PDA), yeasts on Sabouraud-agar media. For each strain the usual medium is specified in the catalogue.

When a strain is delivered as a freeze-dried culture, the following prodecure is recommended for obtaining a newly growing culture: open the vial, add to the freeze-dried powder 0,1 mL of liquid Sabouraud medium, shake gently, inoculate one or 2 agar-medium slants (in tubes) with the resulting suspension, place the tubes in an incubator at the optimum temperature. The fungus needs several days generally to recover growth.


The following symbols are used in the catalogue data sheet

Strain history

Habitat, location and year of isolation

Corresponding numbers in other collections

Properties of the strain

Particular features of the strain

Taxonomic comments


Growth conditions

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