DAF Culture Collection

This expression of interest was formally released via QTenders on 1 November 2018 and closed on 30 November 2018; however, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) reserved the right to enter into discussions for access arrangements at any time following this process. Any interest received in the DAF Culture Collection will be considered dependent upon departmental capability and existing access arrangements.

Access to the DAF Culture Collection for bio-discovery and commercialisation

The Culture Collection (living component) is a unique collection of living cultures of fungi, bacteria, and viruses that are rich in species diversity. The Culture Collection is located within the DAF Herbarium which has more than 90,000 specimens, including over 82,000 fungi representing virtually all of the known plant pathogenic microfungi in Queensland. The Culture Collection contains about 23,000 living cultures of fungi and bacteria which are preserved, either freeze dried or lyophilised in small ampoules; frozen at -80°C or stored underwater. Each specimen is catalogued and includes information about their collection.

The Culture Collection represents a potential source of natural products (chemicals, proteins, genes) that may have economic value in the search for new compounds (bio-discovery) in pharmacology, biotechnology, industrial and agriculture applications.

As of early June 2020, the Culture Collection contained 25,135 cultures, composed of 22,681 fungi, 1,503 bacteria and 951 viruses. This Culture Collection is Australia’s largest repository of plant pathogens found in tropical and subtropical regions.  The uniqueness of the collection is that approximately 15,000 of the cultures have been isolated from Queensland, with many specimens from the tropical areas. Most of the specimens have been obtained from plants, as pathogens and endophytes, with significant collections from insects and soil.

The Culture Collection is growing at a rate of 2-3% per annum with new accessions. The Culture Collection can be grown at a faster rate with specific commissioned collection activities.

The stated mission of the DAF Herbarium is to acquire and disseminate knowledge of the diversity and systematics of fungi for the benefit of the Queensland and Australian community. The application of this knowledge and expertise is claimed to support sustainable primary industry based enterprises by providing solutions for market access, biotechnology, production research, extension services and natural resource management.  Research emphasis is on plant pathogens of agricultural and environmental importance. On-line information about specimens is provided to world-wide users through publication in electronic databases.

The Culture Collection is maintained by Dr Roger Shivas, Kaylene Bransgrove and Dr Yu Pei Tan whose research focus has been fungal taxonomy and biosecurity.


This EOI is seeking organisations with commercial expertise in microbial-based bio-discovery wishing to secure the rights to access, either whole or specific parts of, the Culture Collection for commercial bio-discovery purposes.

Location and access

The collection is located at the Queensland Government Ecosciences Precinct site in Brisbane and is maintained as a reference collection for biosecurity diagnostic purposes.

Access to the collection may be through the supply of specimens to laboratories within Australia or overseas under a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA); positioning staff to work on-site with the collection; or work with the DAF team to collect new specimens.

Isolates held in the Culture Collection

The number and type of isolates held in the Culture Collection are:

No. of living specimens Taxonomic group Comment
13,500+ Sordariomycetes Very diverse, mostly plant pathogens.  Some saprobes, endophytes of plants, and insects pathogens
4,200+ Dothideomycetes Includes many plant associated and plant pathogenic fungi
1,000+ Saccharomycetes Mostly yeasts, many isolated from leaf surfaces of native plants in Queensland. Evidence of many new species.
800+ Insect pathogens Diverse group, several new genera and species isolated from insects in Queensland rainforests
300+ Agaricomycetes Mushrooms, pathogens, parasites, decomposers and symbionts of both plants and animals
200+ Eurotiomycetes Common airborne fungi that cause mould on fruits and other organic material
100+ Ustilaginomycota Smut fungi. Only a small number have been cultured as this is not necessary for identification.
700+ Bacteria Mostly associated with diseases of cultivated plants


Possible access and commercial arrangements may include the following options or combination of options which are negotiable based on interest and demand:

  • exclusive (with the exception of DAF staff or its agents) or non-exclusive access to the collection
  • access to the whole collection or more parts of the collection
  • payment of up-front and / or annual fees to access the collection, the quantum to be based on the level of access
  • royalty payment through commercialisation
  • one-time/one-off fee to access a specific part of the collection
  • fees to undertake specimen collection, identification and storage
  • hosting a scientist(s) and providing access to working laboratory / facilities based on site fees.

Intellectual property


Licencing and royalties


EOI components and process (including evaluation where required)

Requests for access should include an indication of what option(s) for accessing the collection are sought, the area of interest, and duration of accessing the collection to assist in determining availability and capability of providing the desired samples.

Depending on the request, access to the collection may be provided to multiple parties concurrently for different purposes.

DAF reserves the right to enter into negotiations and contractual arrangements with any organisation after the EOI process.

Further information

For all commercialisation enquiries, please contact the Customer Service Centre for further information.

CAVEAT: Following closing of the EOI, an evaluation panel will review the submissions and progress accordingly. If no submissions are received by the closing date, DAF reserves the right to directly approach and negotiate a commercial arrangement or consider an offer from an external party. The release of an EOI is an 'open process' meeting the principles of probity - open, fair, equitable and transparent.