As part of Member Country benefits, a free microbial identification service is available to CABI Member Countries in bands 1-4 (i.e. those with a UN Index Number between 0 - 0.999).
CABI Member Countries eligible for the free service are currently:
Anguilla / Bahamas / Bangladesh / Bermuda / Botswana / British Virgin Islands / Brunei / Burundi / Chile / Colombia / Cote D’Ivoire / Cyprus / DPR Korea / Gambia / Ghana / Grenada / Guyana / India / Jamaica / Kenya / Malawi / Malaysia / Mauritius / Montserrat / Myanmar / Nigeria / Pakistan / Papua New Guinea / Philippines / Rwanda / Sierra Leone / Solomon Islands / South Africa / Sri Lanka / St Helena / Tanzania / Trinidad / Uganda / Vietnam / Zambia / Zimbabwe.
The free service provides specifically for identification of bacteria and fungi of agricultural/horticultural importance or origin, relating to food security or plant health, including quarantine organisms.
Within each qualifying Member Country, the free service is available to:
- National and Regional Agricultural Research Centres
Government Institutions responsible for agriculture and food security
University Departments whose studies relate to agricultural research
A limited number of identifications can be provided under the scheme as detailed below:
- A maximum of 5 samples per institution may be submitted at any one time
A maximum of 10 samples per institution may be submitted in one year
How to apply for the free service
Customers are advised to check that their samples qualify for the free service before dispatch. A request to send material should be made directly to the CABI Microbial Identification Service firstname.lastname@example.org. Notification will then be provided as to whether the material can be accepted for free processing. Material dispatched to CABI without prior notice may not necessarily be accepted for processing under this scheme. In this circumstance the sender will be notified.
More information on country eligiblity and how to access services and submit samples is available (Member Country access only).
Conditions required for acceptance
The following requirements must be met when submitting samples:
- The sender is requested provide details stating the relevance of their enquiry to plant health issues of agricultural/horticultural importance or food security
Samples must be submitted with adequate documentation
Samples must not be known or suspected to be pathogenic to man or animals
Samples in culture must be pure (not mixed), containing only one organism
Samples sent as cultures must be free of mites
Advice on preparing cultures
- Cultures should be pure, containing one organism only
Malt Agar is recommended for growing fungi and yeasts and Nutrient Agar for bacteria
For bacteria and yeasts, prepare fresh cultures using the quadrant streak method and submit in 90mm Petri dishes. We need well-separated single colonies for DNA extraction
For fungi, send cultures that are 1-2 weeks old and sporulating if possible. Send in Petri dishes or on agar slopes in bottles or test tubes
For all samples, use clear containers to permit observation of colonies
Ensure Petri dishes are sealed completely around the edge with tape
Check that bottle caps are not over-tightened
Fit test tubes with a sterile cotton-wool bung or use tubes with screw-tops
Label each isolate with a reference number or code
Send in UN 3373 approved packaging and follow IATA packaging instruction 650
If sending known hazard group 2 microorganisms, use UN 2814 approved packaging and follow IATA packaging instruction 602(class 6.2)
Please see our postage & packing regulations for more information
Preparing dried specimens
- Specimens (e.g. infected roots, stems, leaves) should be fully dried before sending.
Press leaves to avoid curling
Submit specimens with sporulating material if possible and send several pieces
Attach delicate specimens on to card before sending
Place each sample in a separate paper enveloped labelled with your own reference number
Do not use plastic bags for sending samples as these can cause condensation and result in spoilage
Send samples in a crush-proof box to avoid damage in transit
Retain a representative collection of each sample as material is not normally returned
Sending microscope slides
- Material mounted on glass slides to accompany cultures and specimens are not required but may be useful if the sender is interested in only one organism and several others are present on the specimen
Send in a close-fitting cardboard or plastic slide box
Protect with packing material and send in a crush-proof container
- These are useful to show symptoms of plant disease
Place in paper envelopes and send with the samples
Samples are not returned so you are advised to keep some material for your own reference.
Customers are advised to check cultures and specimens for the presence of mites before sending. Samples that contain mites cannot be accepted for processing.
For information on how to prevent and control mites see mite control information
Documentation required when sending samples
A copy of our Members ID request form for the submission of samples should be completed and sent with the samples. For advice on completing each section, see the instructions given on page 4 of the form.
A copy of our Letter of Authority to import material for identification must be sent with all batches of samples. Complete Box 1 of the form and attach this to your documentation inside the package. If possible, please also attach a copy to the outside of the package. The package should have our import licence number, (as given on the Letter of Authority), marked on the outside.
Address to send samples
In the case of fungi and bacteria in pure culture, which have been accepted for free processing, these should be submitted to:
Microbial Identification Service
Samples of plant material for diagnosis of disease organisms should be submitted to:
The Plantwise Clinic