University of Parma Culture Collection


Microorganisms are distributed in every ecosystem and biotic component of the planet, including soil, water, atmosphere, human beings, animals, plants and other living creatures. Their presence is usually functional to the perpetuation of the ecosystem itself and the relationships between specific microbial populations can determine their survival and activities.

Microbial genera and species adapted to specific ecological niches have innate and acquired characteristics, often peculiar, which constitute an unique heritage for knowledge and development. Indeed, these characteristics can be studied, characterized, preserved and used in a targeted way for the improvement of life quality and safety in different sectors: agricultural, food, environmental, pharmaceutical, medical, technological.

At the University of Parma there are agro-food and industrial, environmental, inspection/veterinary, and clinical microbiologists, taxonomists and geneticists. The Food Microbiology area of the Department of Food and Drug currently preserves about 4500 microbial isolates from different food products, production processes and processing environments.

From this biological richness, identified and characterized at different levels, has born the pilot project for the creation of the microbial collection of University: University of Parma Culture Collection (UPCC). The project was supported by the Rector who, following the financing of basic tools for the maintenance and management of biological resources, supported the request for association to MIRRI-IT, the Italian node to the biggest European research infrastructure in the field of microbial collections (MIRRI-ERIC).

UPCC aims to bring together the biological resources within the University of Parma and coordinate them within the Joint Research Unit MIRRI-IT, thus contributing to conservation, knowledge, sharing and scientific, technological and industrial transfer of this richness.

In this scenario, the establishment of a University microbial collection and its maintenance are considered to be of great utility for the preservation of biodiversity, but also for the potential industrial applications of those microorganisms characterized and preserved.

With a view to the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, which is currently partially implemented in Europe, a recent national collaboration has shown that, in the most important universities, microbiological working groups in agronomic and food sectors provide personnel specifically dedicated to the maintenance of microbial collections for both taxonomic and technology transfer application.



collection of microorganisms characteristic of Italian PDO productions

collection of microorganisms of potential targeted use in industrial fermentations for the food sector

collection of microorganisms characteristic of foods with health implications (probiotics or prebiotic producers)

collection of pathogenic (or potential) microorganisms, contaminating food (useful for prevention studies)

collection of biotypes producer of molecules with industrial application (new antibiotics, bacteriocines, aromatic compounds, enzymes..)

collection of biotypes of interest for the biotransformation of industrial agro-industrial wastes through fermentation

collection of biotypes of agro-zootechnical interest



UPCC is located in the laboratories of the Food Microbiology Area (Pad.19 Food Project Area) of the Department of Food and Drug. Equipment for isolation, purification, preservation, identification and phenotypic and genotypic characterization of the isolates are also present.



Prof. Valentina Bernini, Scientific Coordinator

Dr. Alessandra Masci, Curator

Prof. Erasmo Neviani, Founder

Prof. Monica Gatti

Prof. Camilla Lazzi

Prof. Benedetta Bottari

Dr. Alessia Levante

Dr. Elena Bancalari 

Prof.ssa Adriana Ianieri