Welcome to the ARS Culture Collection (NRRL)

The ARS Culture Collection is one of the largest public collections of microorganisms in the world, containing approximately 98,000 isolates of bacteria and fungi. The collection is housed within the Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research Unit at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois. The scientists and staff of the ARS Culture Collection conduct and facilitate microbiological research that advances agricultural production, food safety, public health, and economic development. These goals are pursued through in-house research that improves understanding and utilization of microbiological diversity and through efforts to enhance the value and accessibility of microbial accessions in the Agricultural Research Service Culture Collection.

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View the research being done with NRRL Culture Collection Strains.

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Our Policies and Procedures

Open Collection Policy (Strain Requests)

Requests should be made via the online ordering system for strains in the public access catalog. Inquiries regarding strains not found in the online catalog should be made by e-mail to The Collection Manager and should include the accession number, if known, and the name of the organism.
Plant pathogen strains require an APHIS PPQ 526 permit and animal pathogen strains require an APHIS VS 16-3 permit in advance of shipment.

Open Collection Policy (Strain Deposits)

Requests for deposition of strains into the ARS Open Culture Collection must be made to the Collection Manager in advance of shipment of culture materials. This must be done to ensure the Collection will be able to cultivate the microorganism(s), is willing to accept the proposed deposit, and has the appropriate APHIS permits, when necessary.
Please click on this link for the deposit spreadsheet NRRL Deposit Spreadsheet.

Open Collection Policy (Strain Fees/Limit Policy)

All strains from the Open Collection are free of charge, excluding postage and customs fees.
Requests must be limited to 24 strains per request, and may total no more than 24 strains to a given laboratory/ department on an annual basis.
(24 strains per any 12 month period).
Inquiries regarding obtaining more strains than the annual limit should be directed to the Collection Manager
well in advance of a request.

Patent Collection Policy (Strain Requests)

Strains in the Patent Collection are not available in the Online Catalog. To request a patent strain, you must email us a digitally signed letter of request on your institution's letterhead stating the NRRL # for the strain, along with a prepaid shipping air waybill for a 1 lb padded envelope. There is a charge of $40.00 for each strain requested. If your institution requires a PO# on invoice, please include in your letter. We will send an invoice for payment via email, once the strain(s) have departed to shipping.

Patent Collection Policy (Strain Deposits)

We accept mold, bacteria and yeast for deposit for patent protection under the Budapest Treaty. Requests for deposition of strains into the ARS Patent Culture Collection must be made to the Collection Manager in advance of shipment of culture materials. A deposit form for each strain must be completed and sent with the cultures. There is a charge of $670.00 per patent strain deposited in the patent collection.
Please click on this link for the deposit form NRRL Patent Deposit Form

Shipping Cost/Procedures

All requests must include an electronic image (PDF) of a prepaid shipping label for a 1 lb (0.5 kg) padded envelope (8.5" x 11"). Carriers include FedEx, UPS, USPS.
All international orders use FedEx, UPS or DHL and will need a Proforma Invoice completed and scanned at check-out. Invoice total value is $1.00.
Shipping From:
Collection Manager
ARS Culture Collection (NRRL)
1815 N. University Street
Peoria, IL 61604

Processing and Preserving Strains

Most orders are shipped to the customer the same day the order is placed.

Strains that need to be restocked or shipped in a metabolically active state will take additional time to process.

Many strains are maintained as lyophilized preparations at 4°C. Cells are suspended in serum, dried down, and vacuum sealed.

Some strains, however, require storage in liquid nitrogen vapor for long-term viability, increasing the strain processing time.

2019 Distributions


Orders Placed


Strains Sent


Unique Recipients


Unique Countries

Patent Payments



  • Pay with credit/debit/ACH

  • Include "NRRL Culture Collection - Peoria" in remarks

  • Mode Code: Peoria, IL (5010)



  • Payable To:


  • Send To:
    Sandy Rowell
    Budget, NCAUR
    1815 N. University St.
    Peoria, IL 61604

Purchase Order


Our Scientists

Kirk Broders

Curator/Lead Scientist

Kerry O'Donnell

Research Microbiologist

Our Staff

Travis Adkins

Collection Manager/Computer Tech

Tabi Morton

Microbiology Technician

Former Scientists and Staff

Todd Ward

Director/Research Leader

David P. Labeda

Lead Scientist

Cletus P. Kurtzman

Research Microbiologist

Alejandro Rooney

Research Microbiologist

Stephen Peterson

Research Microbiologist

James Swezey

Collection Manager


  • Jan Suszkiw,ARS Office of Communications
  • February 2018

ARS Culture Collection: A Valuable Resource

Read More »

  • Jan Suszkiw,ARS Office of Communications
  • February 2018


Watch Video»

  • J.K. Kaplan,ARS Office of Communications
  • April 2016

A Culture of Innovation (NRRL)

Read More »

Get in touch




Send Message


Collection Manager
ARS Culture Collection (NRRL)
1815 N. University Street
Peoria, IL 61604