Standard Operational procedures (Text in Russian)

The Major Functions of VKM

At present, VKM
collects, studies and maintains authentic strains of bacteria, actinomycetes, filamentous fungi, yeast fungi, genetically modified strains of interest for microbiology, biotechnology, genetics, general and applied biology and other fields of science; educational and practical purposes, thus providing the maintenance of the microbial genetic pool for the present and future generations;
provides with cultures, maintained by the Collection, interested persons and organizations both in this country and abroad in accordance with the national and international rules;
serves as a recognized collection for depositing microorganisms: type strains of newly described taxa, reference strains, strains possessing specific features etc. The list of species maintained by VKM was included in the World Directory of Collections of Cultures of Microorganisms (4) of the World Data Centre, where VKM is assigned number 342;
acts as a depositary of microbial strains deposited for patent procedures; is an International Depository Authority in accordance with the Budapest Treaty on the Mutual Recognition of Deposit in the countries that ratified the Treaty;
gives consultations on isolation, taxonomy, deposition, preservation of microorganisms, bioinformatics etc.;
performs service works on the identification of strains using the modern methods of culture diagnostics;
provides information on the cultures maintained in VKM both by publishing catalogues and on request of users;
communicates with collections both within country and abroad as well as international organizations in its field.
training provided.

Price List


For Russian customers per strain $30.00
For foreign customers per strain $100.00
A reduction of 10% is given if 10 or more cultures are ordered at once.
Per strain/specimen* $90.00
* These prices apply to routine identifications only. If extensive work is needed, the charge will be calculated on the hours of work involved. Charges for analysis of samples to be agreed upon per consignment.  
Set of 10 ampoules freeze-dried materials $100.00
Set of 10 frozen straws $100.00
Sending growing culture on agar from stock $40.00
Sending freeze-dried ampoule from stock $5.00
Fee for deposit $100.00
Annual maintenance $40.00
Charges for patent strains under Budapest Treaty (BT) deposition for 30 years, in conformity with rule 11.4g of the BT $650.00
Inssuance of viability statement, except where BT rule 10.2e applies $100.00
Furnishing samples in accordance with Rule 11 $130.00
Surcharge to cover bank and administrative cost $10.00
Estimates of costs without obligation on request

Supply of Cultures

The cultures enumerated in this Catalogue are distributed within the territory of this country for payments as per letters of guarantee from the customers, specifying their account number in a bank or for an equivalent exchange. In the letter of guarantee, the customer should specify the collection number of the strain requested or, if the number is not available, the known designation of the strain as well as the source of information, why the strain is required etc.

For foreign customers the cultures are issued by request for payment or free on exchange basis.

VKM bears no responsibility for possible damage of cultures during their transportation and/or subsequent maintenance.

Activity of the producing strains is not routinely checked in the Collection if not specified otherwise by the customer.

In order to get VKM cultures of microorganisms you could fill in the order box of the Ordering of strains section in VKM WEB site. Requests for cultures could be also sent to the following addresses :
VKM, Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pushchino, Moscow Region, 142290, Russia.

Generally, VKM sends the cultures in ampoules in the lyophilized state. The strains that do not withstand lyophilization are supplied on agarized medium in test tubes.

Safety Precautions

Under any circumstances, the first thing to consider when choosing a culture should be the strict observance of safety rules and measures. The user should not only follow the established rules but get acquainted with the publications and instructions in this field where the revision of the established views is to a significant extent based on the precedent and occurs no less frequently than the taxonomic revisions. The user of any living culture of any microorganism should clearly understand that he/she takes much greater responsibility for his/her own health and that of people around him/her than in the case of an ampoule with a chemical reagent all properties of which are known or can be securely predicted and the mass of which can only decrease with use.

When working with microorganisms, one should not only observe the safety measures, corresponding to the category hazard of the culture, accepted at that particular time but also have in mind that any increase of the scale of work can increase the hazard.

The Collection does not aquire, deposit or distribute cultures pathogenic for man and animals and quarantine for plants if such properties are known.

Deposition of Cultures

The cultures deposited in the Collection and assigned VKM numbers can be distributed both in this country and abroad. (The cultures deposited in VKM for the patent purposes, see below).

Information on a strain deposited in VKM is written down in a standard information form (Supplement 1). Any additional information on the properties of the culture will be highly appreciated because they enhance interest in the strain.

A culture is deposited in VKM on a nutrient medium or in the lyophilized state, the latter being preferable. Prior to the deposition, the culture is checked for purity, viability and authenticity. If the requirements are observed, it is assigned a VKM number. The person depositing an authentic culture in VKM acquires the right of equavalent exchange for any strain specified in this Catalogue.

Deposition for Patent Purposes
- within the framework of the national legislation

Deposition of cultures in VKM for patent purposes is done for payment based on letters of guarantee, supplemented with two copies of the culture identification form. The form is to be signed by all authors and to be authenticated by the organization sending the culture for deposition. If the strain was not identified up to a species level or pathogenic forms are known to exist among the particular species, the certificate should be enclosed (from competent medical authorities only) about the nonpathogenicity of the culture deposited.

The application for deposition is considered within 10 days. If the decision is positive, the depositor submits the culture to VKM and specifies the method of its storage. When submitted, the culture is checked for purity, viability and authenticity; if necessary, it is lyophilized (the cost being included into the total payment for deposition).

Microbial cultures deposited in VKM for patent purposes are issued based on the written permission of all the authors of the invention only after a protection document is published. VKM bears no responsibility for the properties and/or activity of the strain, which are the object of the invention, but only for its viability.

- within the framework of the requirements and the instruction of the Budapest Treaty on the Mutual Recognition of the Depositing by the Participant Countries

Deposition of cultures as per the Budapest Treaty (28/04/77) is carried out in accordance with its regulations and the Instruction of 31/01/81. The status of VKM at IBPhM RAS as an International Depository Authority has been confirmed in the Notifications which also state the order of collecting payments (custom duties) for services in depositing cultures as per the Budapest Treaty. The procedure involves the filling-in of respective forms accepted internationally (from BP/1 to BP/14).

VKM may refuse deposition in the following cases:
if the offered strains are type (neotype) or any other microbial strains, widespread and represented in several other collections either in this coutry or abroad;
if the offered cultures are non-viable or contaminated;
if the cultures are not in the list of microbial groups deposited by VKM (e.g. bacteria, including actinomycetes and microfungi, including yeasts);
if, due to special features of a strain (or association of cultures) offered, VKM is unable for technical reasons to maintain them for 30 years in authentic state.

Services by Contracts and Agreements

VKM provides consultations on various aspects of collection work, problems of taxonomy, morphology, physiology, biochemistry, ecology and biotechnology of several groups of microorganisms and takes interested persons for probation.

Examples of service works on the agreement basis are as follows.


Bacteria, actinomycetes, filamentous and yeast fungi are identified. The modern methods of diagnostics are used (including the determination of the chemotaxonomic characters - type of cell wall; composition of peptidoglycan; content of menaquinones, phospholipids, fatty acids). Use is made of express immunoassay methods, electrophoresis, analysis of the DNA nucleotide content and DNA-DNA homology, numeric analysis.

Preservation and Storage

Examples of methods used for preservation and storage of microorganisms include: subculturing, drying, low-temperature preservations (cryopreservation) and freeze-drying. Each method is realized by concrete techniques which are indicated in the Catalogue for each strain as an alfanumerical index (see Designations of the methods of preservation and storage).

Cryopreservation is carried out in protective media at an optimal rate of cooling, the samples obtained are preserved at a temperatures of -10°- -18°C (laboratory refrigerations), -70°C (deep freezers), -196°C (liquid nitrogen) or about -150°C (nitrogen vapours).

Freeze-drying is carried out on freeze-drying units of the centrifuge type (Edwards, UK) as well as of the shelf type (FTS Systems, USA). The freeze-dried cultures are preserved either in refridgerators at 4-12°C or at room temperature in cabinets in the darkness.

During the guarantee period, each strain is preserved by two-three methods.

Genetically modified strains are preserved in VKM in the freeze-dried state; in IMG RAS, under the layer of mineral oil, in glycerol at -70°C and on filters in dried skim milk (Sacch. cerevisiae) as well as in the freeze-dried state (E.coli).

Safe keeping

Paid confidential storage services of cultures for customers without their inclusion into the Catalogue are offered.


Users of VKM strain are provided with available information on the cultures maintained in VKM, including that from the constantly updated computer data bases. Examples include information on the storage and preservation methods, optimal mode of storage.

The VKM databank includes, however, not only information on the cultures physically maintained but also on the species lists of some other collections.

Last Updated:  06.10.2018