Members holdings

The CELMS (Collection of Environmental and Laboratory Microbial Strains) is a collection of non-medical environmental and laboratory microbial strains situated at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu. The collection was founded in 1995. Since year 2008 the collection is registered at WFCC-MIRCEN World Data Centre for Microorganisms (registry number 926). 

The collection is financed by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research. Majority of strains have been isolated from polluted areas with strong oil shale mining and chemical industry impact. Since year 2008 bacterial isolates from different regions of the Baltic Sea have been added to the collection. In the period 2019-2020, several microbial strains were isolated from water samples taken from the western and southern Atlantic during the sailing voyage of the Estonian sailing ship "Admiral Bellingshausen" to the Antarctic. 

Main tasks of the collection are extension of collection with new strains and type cultures, characterization of strains and distribution of microorganisms for purpose of research and education.  

Services Offered

The CELMS offers following services: identification and deposition of microbial strains, delivery of deposited strains, consulting.


CELMS is connected to research going on at the Chair of Genetics at Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Tartu. The main research activities are related to the use of the biochemical and molecular methods for the characterization of microbial strains and diversity of functional genes. Information on cultures are available online at