SERVICES AND HISTORY OF THE ARSEF COLLECTION
Deposition and Exchange of Cultures
The ARSEF collection and its staff encourage depositions of entomopathogenic fungal cultures of strains used in published studies, and into the associated herbarium of voucher and reference specimens.
Depositors may reserve the right to limit redistribution of any culture deposited with ARSEF for specified times upon consultation with the curator.
Depositors can receive subcultures of their own depositions at any time; these cultures do not affect any allowances of free cultures.
Exchanges of cultures between ARSEF and other research or general collections of fungal cultures are encouraged and are not subject to numerical limits.
When sending cultures and/or specimens to ARSEF, it is very important to include as much of the following information as possible:
- Scientific name (and taxonomic authority) of the fungus.
- Common and scientific name (with taxonomic authority) of the host.
- Order and family of the host. (This is very important information!)
- Date and site of collection.
- Name of collector.
- Date of isolation and name of isolator.
- Any collection, accession, or other identifier number(s) applied by the collector or sender.
- Culture medium on which a culture is sent.
- Any special requirements or conditions for growth (such as medium, temperature, pH).
Prior to shipping cultures from countries outside the United States contact the Curator to obtain the appropriate needed importation permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, Plant Protection and Quarantine (APHIS-PPQ).
Specimens and cultures of unidentified fungi from invertebrates can be submitted to ARSEF for diagnosis. This service is an important function of the ARS Collections of Entomopathogenic Fungi and is provided without charge. Identifications and information about the disposition of specimens will be provided to the sender as quickly as possible.
Acknowledging ARSEF Strains in Publications
We request that all publications using or referring to strains obtained from ARSEF acknowledge the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ARS Biological Integrated Pest Management Research Unit and state the ARSEF accession numbers of these strains. We would very greatly appreciate receiving reprints of all past, current, and future publications or even periodic notification about research in progress involving the use of ARSEF strains.
Accession numbers of strains from commercial culture collections such as the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS), United Kingdom National Culture Collection (IMI), and other registered general service collections are listed in this catalog to provide complete information about specific isolates.
Representation of cultures obtained from ARSEF as being from ATCC, CBS, IMI or UAMH or any other general service culture collections violates trademark laws, and persons doing so are subject to prosecution. Cultures received from ARSEF should be referred to by their ARSEF numbers only even if they are co-deposited in other other culture collections.
Updated, Special, and Electronic Catalogs
Complimentary copies of the ARSEF database structure and/or the customized application used to manage it can be obtained upon consultation with the curator of the ARSEF collection. The complex software application used to manage all aspects of the operation and recordkeeping of the ARSEF collection was designed and executed using 4th Dimension® (now 4D®) relational database software by Timothy S. Larkin.
A fully interactive, searchable version of ARSEF culture accession data is available online. If you cannot complete a needed search using this online search function, submit your needs to the Curator, and a PDF catalog file presenting the results of your search will be returned as quickly as possible by email.
Release of ARSEF Cultures from Containment or Quarantine
Neither the curator nor any employee of ARSEF or of the Biological IPM Research Unit is entitled to authorize the release of any culture it provides from laboratory containment or quarantine in the United States or elsewhere. Recipients of ARSEF cultures are responsible for obtaining all appropriate and necessary permissions from or for providing official notifications to appropriate regulatory agencies in the receiving country.
History and Goals of ARSEF
The goal of the ARS Collection of Entomopathogenic Fungal Cultures (ARSEF) is to provide fundamental support for basic and applied research on the fungal pathogens of invertebrates.
Since its establishment in the early 1970s, this collection has provided general research resources for the isolation, collection, preservation, and distribution of fungal strains from insects, other arthropods, and nematodes. ARSEF actively seeks to acquire and, on request, to distribute strains under active study for use in research programs. The basic research subjects directly associated with the collection include fungal systematics, fungal cytology, pathobiology, and methodologies for long-term preservation of fungal germplasm. The culture collection and its associated collection of microscope slides and herbarium specimens provide invaluable support for taxonomic research on and the diagnoses of fungal pathogens of invertebrates. Identification services for specimens and cultures have always been available free of charge upon request. We strive to provide users with accurately identified and pure (uncontaminate) fungal cultures. The taxonomies used to identify the fungi in the collection are continuously updated to reflect their current supported classifications. The curator of the collection welcomes all correspondence about nomenclatural or taxonomic changes or possible misidentifications involving any ARSEF strains.
The ARSEF collection began as the Richard Soper (RS) research collection in a USDA-ARS laboratory at the University of Maine, Orono (UMO), and its cultures were at initially designated by a UMO or RS prefix before being renamed as ARSEF in 1985. In 1978, the ARS Insect Pathology Research Unit relocated to Ithaca, NY, to work with the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) on the Cornell University campus. The Insect Pathology Research Unit became the Plant Protection Research Unit (PPRU) in 1985, and was renamed in 2008 as the Biological Integrated Pest Management Research Unit (BioIPM).
The ARSEF collection moved from BTI in 1990 into new facilities in the US Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory which was, in turn, rededicated in 2008 as the Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health to commemorate the completion by Dr. Holley and his team in this building of the first sequencing of any nucleic acid for which he received the 1968 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. This remains the only Nobel Prize ever received by any ARS scientist.
The Biological Integrated Pest Management Research Unit operates the ARSEF culture collection for the USDA Agricultural Research Service; the collection is not now and never has been owned or controlled by the Boyce Thompson Institute. ARSEF is one of the largest germplasm collections in the ARS, and is globally recognized for its active support of research on fungal pathogens of invertebrates. ARSEF and its associated herbarium are registered under the ARSEF acronym sinced 1985 with the World Data Center on Microorganisms (WDCM, under the auspices of the World Federation of Culture Collections) and with the Index Herbariorum (maintained by the New York Botanical Garden).
From 1977 through 2008, all ARSEF strains were preserved by immersion in liquid nitrogen. Since the late 1990s, the collection has been lyophilizing (freeze-drying) those isolates that could tolerate such treatment while still maintaining cryogenic stocks of all isolates. ARSEF ships freeze-dried units of all isolates whenever possible; all isolates not available in such an inactive form are shipped as living cultures on appropriate culture media. Requests for cultures are filled in the order in which they are received, with an average processing time for most requests being 2-3 weeks but often less when only lyophilized isolates are included in a shipment.