Microbial cultures and associated information databases on phenotypic, genotypic, and ecological characters underpin most areas of microbiology, molecular biology and biotechnology and enable progress in these and related disciplines. The key role of culture collections and biological resources has been recognised in recommendations to government [ The National Strategy on the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity, 1992; Bioprospecting: Discoveries changing the future (House of Representatives Standing Committee on Primary Industries and Regional Services), 2001; Biological Resource Centres: Underpinning the Future of Life Sciences and Biotechnology (OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry, Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy), 2001]. Implementation of these recommendations is essential for the progress of science and biotechnology in Australia.

The Australian Microbial Resources Research Network will develop coordinated national access to comprehensive microbiological and information resources amongst the research community to support the competitive development of the life sciences and biotechnology in Australia for research, industry, and education. The focus of the Network will be on microorganisms, including the Bacteria, Archaea, Micro-algae, Fungi and Yeasts, Protozoa, and Viruses, but may also include collections of animal and plant cell cultures, genetic vectors, and DNA resources which are maintained using similar methodologies.

The objectives of the Network will be achieved by the development of:

  • An internet website to link research groups studying or using Australian microbial resources.
  • An Australian Microbial Resources Study (AMRS) to accelerate the discovery and exploitation of unique Australian microbial diversity.
  • An integrated national network of Australian Collections of Microorganisms (ACM).
  • An electronic Australian Microbial Resources Information Network (AMRIN) for access to information on microbial biodiversity resources including information on cultures and their characteristics, taxonomic expertise, identification services, ecological data, methodologies, relevant publications, and with links to international resources.
  • Interactions and collaborations between research scientists and the biotechnology industry for innovative biotechnology.
  • Postgraduate and postdoctoral training of scientists to meet the national strategic needs for skilled taxonomists, ecologists and microbial biotechnologists.
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