ULiège takes part in the European MIRRI project for the use and preservation of microbial resources

In Research

The cyanobacteria collection (BCCM/ULC) of the University of Liège InBios Research Unit is part of the new European Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure (MIRRI). MIRRI provides access to a wide range of quality microorganisms, their derivatives and associated information and services, available for basic and applied research.


n October 21, the microbial resources research infrastructure MIRRI was granted formal recognition as a "European Research Infrastructure Consortium" (ERIC). MIRRI includes 14 partners from 10 European countries - Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Russia. As a founding member of MIRRI-ERIC and the consortiumBelgian Coordinated Collections of Microorganism(BCCM), Belgium is at the heart of the MIRRI-ERIC project. With its collection BCCM/ULC, the University of Liège will actively participate in MIRRI-ERIC activities

The BCCM/ULC collection hosted by the unit InBios (Protein Engineering Center/ Faculty of Science) of the University of Liege is supported by the Belgian Science Policy (BELSPO). Its specific role will be to provide training on the isolation, culture, preservation and characterization of cyanobacterial strains. The collection is involved in other tasks, such as the definition of standardized protocols, the creation of a common catalog, the combination of services by different collections to create a complete service, communication to the general public, etc.

The participation of ULiège in numerous expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic has allowed us to collect samples in many polar habitats," explains Annick Wilmotte, Senior Research Fellow at the In-Bios Research Unit and head of the collection. The strains of (sub)polar cyanobacteria that we have been able to isolate or receive constitute to date the largest documented collection in the world for these regions."


Microorganisms were the first forms of life on our planet, allowing the evolution of the rest of biodiversity, including humans. These microorganisms still play a fundamental role in the ecological balance and each exploration of new or extreme habitats is an opportunity to discover new ones. More recently, the exploration of the human microbiome has shown their abundance in the human body and their importance for our health. We owe many foods but also ecosystem services (composition of the atmosphere, degradation of organic matter, biological purification of water...) to microorganisms and biotechnology makes ample use of their surprising metabolic capacities. However, it is considered that less than 1% of their biodiversity is described and accessible. Being able to isolate them in culture, characterize their biodiversity and preserve them in the long term is crucial to better understand them and use them in applied processes. This requires specialized structures that manage the strains but also the associated information and have the expertise of modern techniques in taxonomy, metabolite research, genomics, etc. The European continent has a long history of research in microbiology and the first public culture collections were created in the late 19th century.

MIRRI-ERIC will create a synergy between the numerous national collections and will allow them to increase their visibility and their use in basic and applied research. By providing high quality microorganisms, in compliance with (inter)national legislations and by making available the great expertise of the partner collections, MIRRI-ERIC aims to support research and development in the biomedical and life sciences.

To know more about MIRRI-ERIC


Annick Wilmotte

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