"The Westerdijk Institute conducts research in three themes, namely agriculture, health and industry. In agriculture groups focus on combating fungal pathogens in food and fibre crops to enhance trade, as well as food spoilage. In health the focus is on rapid clinical fungal diagnostics, and microbial resistance (Netherlands Centre for One Health). In industry groups focus on fungi in building materials, Novel Fungal Products, antibiotics and antimitotics, fungal enzymes, metabolites, and the bioeconomy. Research projects are generally in collaboration with universities, institutes, companies and international partners.
The microbial Biological Resource Centre (mBRC) provides cultures to stakeholders for research ranging from environmental microbiology to medicine, and in industrial and applied research, and for the production of food, pharmaceuticals, and thus provide essential components for the advancement of life sciences, the support of the biotechnology sector, and the further development of the bio-economy.
During 2012-2016 several mBRCs joined the preparatory phase project of the Microbial Resources Research Infrastructure (MIRRI), paving the way to creating the MIRRI-ERIC that will aim to support researchers from academia and bio-industry to further develop their research leading to innovation through:
• facilitated access to genetic resources via a single entry point portal, for material, data and expertise;
• interoperability of data with facilitated data mining of trusted data;
• legal compliance (with inter alia the Nagoya Protocol);
• broader coverage of genetic resources with a coordinated approach towards isolation and deposit of microorganisms in BRCs and an increased visibility of specific parts of the holdings via the MIRRI-ERIC portal;
• improved service offer with coordinated or tailor-made services.
Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute (KNAW) will act as the national node MIRRI-NL within the MIRRI-ERIC (second step submission to the EC is in preparation). Historically, the Netherlands has been one of the pioneer countries in Europe in the field of microbiology (Antonie van Leeuwenhoek!) and ex-situ preservation of living microorganisms in culture collections (Johanna Westerdijk!). Today, the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute (KNAW) maintains all public living microbial collections of the Netherlands. The CBS Collection of living fungi and yeasts founded in 1904 is one of the oldest and largest fungal collections in the world, comprising a total of 100 000 strains, representing 6000 genera, 19 000 species, and 12 600 type strains. Secondly, a single public resource for bacteria, the NCCB Collection (Netherlands Culture Collection of Bacteria), was created in 1998 by bringing together the LMD collection for wild-type bacteria of Delft and the Phabagen Collection for mutant bacteria of Utrecht and is maintained by the Westerdijk Institute.
MIRRI-ERIC will be a distributed research infrastructure. The Central Coordinating Unit (CCU) consist of two distributed sections, the Statutory Seat located at University of Minho in Braga (Portugal) and the Collaborative Working Environment (CWE) Hub operated from University of Valencia (Spain). Through its national nodes it will integrate the mBRCs of Belgium, France, Greece, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain. Together they have produced a large number of guidelines towards high quality standards, excellence in preservation of genetic resources, access and benefit sharing regimes in compliance with the Nagoya Protocol, and more.
The Westerdijk Institute also has a dried fungal collection (fungarium), and thus also participates in DiSSCo, a new European research infrastructure to integrate services across all European natural history collections. We are also part of the national roadmap with Naturalis and IBED (Amsterdam) in forming the facility NIEBA-ARISE and the Netherlands Species Reference Database."