The German Archaea Centre at the University of Regensburg was founded in 1990 by the former head of the Institute of Microbiology, Prof. Dr. Karl O. Stetter. Archaea were defined by Carl Woese as the third domain of life, besides the „classical“ Bacteria and the Eukarya. Members of the archaeal domain are evolutionary independent and especially in the beginning of the research on Archaea (e.g. between 1980 and 2000) they were mainly isolated from unusual (and for humans „extreme“) biotopes, like hot acidic solfataric fields, deep sea black smokes, strictly anaerobic sediments, or saturated salt brines. Meanwhile, metagenomic data show that Archaea inhabit nearly all biotopes on earth, although most of them can still not be grown in the lab. A significant amount of the cultivated Archaea has been enriched, isolated and described by scientists at the Institute of Microbiology in Regensburg. However, due to their often extreme habitats, conventional cultivation vessels, like glass or stainless steel fermentors could not be used for large scale cultivation. Therefore, we set up a fermentation plant suitable for the cultivation of Archaea mimicking their natural habitats (e.g. incubation temperatures up to 120 °C, five bars over-pressure and pH values between 1 and 12). Meanwhile, the fermentation plant encompasses ten bio-reactors with a volume ranging between 10 to 300 litres. The fermentors are enamel-protected from the inside and all components for stirring and gassing are made of titanium (to protect materials against corrosion). In addition, every fermentor can be supplied with individually composed gas mixtures (e.g. N2, H2, and CO2). This provides us with the unique opportunity, to grow and deliver nearly all available Archaea in large scale. However, it has to be mentioned that the cell yields are often not comparable with those of typical Bacteria like E. coli, Bacillus or Pseudomonas strains. Nevertheless, the Archaea Centre in Regensburg is more than a fermentation plant. Within the last decades more than 1800 strains and isolates of Archaea were obtained (mostly in pure culture, e.g. by the use of our optical tweezers). These cultures are stored in our culture collection, the largest collection of Archaea species in the world and the collection forms the basis for research on Archaea at the Institute of Microbiology. Please also see the following article that presents the history and current status of the Archaea Centre. see
The Archaea Centre offers routinely cell masses of the following type strains, mainly on the basis of scientific collaborations. Further organisms can be ordered on request (if available).