Skip to content


The International Collection of Micro-organisms from Plants (ICMP) had its origin in 1952 as the personal collection of plant pathogenic bacteria and rhizobia of Dr Douglas W. Dye.

It expanded as the culture collection (PDDCC) of Plant Diseases Division, and later Plant Protection Division, of the New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). Initially, cultures were maintained by serial transfer of slope cultures, but in 1962 the process of vacuum-drying was introduced. Fungal cultures, initially maintained under oil, then by a variety of methods, were first included in the Collection in 1961. Following the reorganization of science in New Zealand in 1992, the collection was transferred to Landcare Research, one of eight New Zealand Government-owned “Crown Research Institutes”. In 1993, preservation using liquid nitrogen was introduced for fungal and bacterial strains which had been difficult to maintain by vacuum drying; this has since been used for all new accessions.

The first catalogues issued by the Collection were the PDDCC Catalogue preprint edition (1978), followed by a first edition (1981) and a supplement (1982), and were of bacteria. One catalogue for fungi was issued as PDDCC Catalogue of Fungi (1983). A second edition was published in 1988. The third edition (1997) , divided into two parts, included 5850 accessions of bacteria and 4200 of fungi, as well as an index of plant­–host microorganisms and a numerical index; a supplement was published in 1999. No further print catalogues were produced, and these now superseded by the present online database .

The first computer database for ICMP was developed in 1978 and used punch cards to store culture information. This was followed by several different computer databases, including a mainframe run by DSIR Applied Maths, followed in 2002 by a Microsoft access database that was converted to SQL for internet searching. In 2011 a purpose-built CIS (Collection Information System) was developed for all Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research’s systematics collections . This system allows daily website updates.

From its establishment until 2004, ICMP was located at Mt Albert Research Centre, Mt Albert, Auckland, New Zealand. In 2004 it moved with Landcare Research to new facilities at its current location, 231 Morrin Rd, St Johns, Auckland 1072.


  • Doug Dye 1952 - 1972
  • John Young 1973 - 2007
  • Shaun Pennycook 2008 - 2010
  • Peter Buchanan 2010 - 2013
  • Bevan Weir 2013 - current

Maureen Fletcher was a longstanding technician at the ICMP collection serving from 1980 until her retirement in 2014.

The text of this page is available for modification and reuse under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License and the GNU Free Documentation License (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts).


The ICMP supports national and international research through the provision and storage of bacterial and fungal cultures.

The Mycology and Bacteriology Research Group at Landcare Research comprises ten staff, undertaking fungal and bacterial systematics and plant pathology research. In addition to ICMP, Landcare Research is also custodian of the New Zealand Fungal and Plant Disease Collection (PDD, 95 000 dried specimens) and maintains large molecular and culture lab facilities, along with extensive literature resources on fungi and plant-associated bacteria.

Funding and staffing

The collection is funded primarily by the New Zealand government through “Backbone Funding ” from the Ministry of Science and Innovation. The Collection is managed by senior science technician, Megan Petterson. The collection curator is Dr Bevan Weir.

Searching the collection

The ICMP database is available online , this is updated daily, and has a 'google-like' search box to search for taxonomic names, localities, hosts, or specific properties.

Alternatively you can search both the ICMP and PDD (dried fungal collection) by names and synonymy through the nzfungi2 interface ; this has more basic specimen details, but includes taxonomic literature and New Zealand presence / absence data.

We also publish a list of the recommended rhizobia strains for inoculating legumes, and Dr Weir maintains an external list of the current names of rhizobial species.

The accuracy of the database depends on information from those who deposit strains in the Collection. The ICMP will be grateful to anyone who can supply additional information on the strains that it holds, such as new publications or GenBank data, or who can correct any mistakes.

Rhizobium strains

Current Rhizobium Strain Recommendations

The following is a list of 34 ICMP strains of Rhizobium, Mesorhizobium, and Bradyrhizobium rhizobial strains that are recommended for inoculating plants for effective nitrogen fixation. This list is based on previous recomendations published in 1980 and 1992. The ICMP numbers link through to our database with full information on each strain.

No guarantee can be made to the effectiveness of any strain, and it is recommended that a combination of strains be used to cover varieties requiring specific strains for effective nodulation.

Legume (common name) Legume (binomial) ICMP number
White clover Trifolium repens 2668 ; 2666 ; 2163
Red clover Trifolium pratense 2668 ; 2666 ; 2163
Alsike clover Trifolium hybridum 2668 ; 2666 ; 2163
Subterranean clover Trifolium subterraneum 5938
Kura clover Trifolium ambiguum  
  • Diploid
  4071 ; 4072
  • Tetraploid
  • Hexaploid
Lucerne Medicago sativa 2751 ; 2752

Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil
Both diploid and tetraploid i.e. including cv. ‘Maku’

Lotus pedunculatus 5798 ; 5942
Bird's-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus 9005 ; 3663
Lotus Hybrid G4712 Lotus pedunculatus tetraploid x Lotus corniculatus 1326 ; 5798 ; 3663
Soybean Glycine max 2860 ; 2862 ; 2863 ; 2864 ; 2882
Pea Pisum sativum 5943
Faba beans Vicia faba 5943
Vetches Vicia spp. 5943
Beans Phaseolus spp. 3305
Crop lupins Lupinus spp. 4771 ; 3155 ; 8377
Serradella Ornithopus sativus 4771 ; 3155 ; 8377
Crown vetch Coronilla varia 5805 ; 5944
Sainfoin Onobrychis viciifolia 3157
Lupin species for high country vegetation Lupinus polyphyllus 5376
Sky Lupine Lupinus nanus 5376
Open lupine Lupinus vallicola 4683 ; 4771
Tick-trefoil Desmodium spp. 1302
Winged bean Psophocarpus tetragonalobus 8467
Sulla Hedysarum coronarium 6932
Chickpea Cicer arietinum 6937
Cowpea Vigna unguiculata 8467