Since 1971, the Laboratory of Parasitology-Mycology of the Academic Hospital and Faculty of Medicine of Montpellier (formerly Laboratory of Medical Ecology and Parasite Pathology) has constituted a collection of strains of the protozoan parasite Leishmania (flagellates, Kinetoplastids, Trypanosomatidae), thanks to the intensive works of Prof. Jean-Antoine Rioux and later, Prof. Jean-Pierre Dedet.

This collection is unique in the world by its importance, as it contains more than 6,000 strains of Leishmania from 67 countries on five continents, and more importantly from a wide diversity of hosts (human, animal reservoirs and Phlebotomine vectors) and eco-epidemiological situations.

The expertise accumulated in various aspects of this disease and its pathogen, as well ,as this collection, allowed the Laboratory to be recognized as National Reference Center for Leishmaniases (CNRL) in 1998.

The collection consists mainly in strains of Leishmania isolated in culture and stored in liquid nitrogen. The strains are systematically typed before storage and on thawing for any cession.

The BRC-Leishmania comprises:

– One Level 2 and one Level 3 biological safety laboratories (in vitro cultivation units),
– One cryopreservation unit.

Identification/typing of Leishmania strains can be performed, using two outsourced services:
– Molecular identification is performed in the Dept. of Parasitology-Mycology of the Academic Hospital of Montpellier, by MLST (Multi Locus Sequence Typing).
– A phenotypic typing is also performed by MALDI-TOF at the CNRL

A biochemical identification using the classical reference method of isoenzyme electrophoresis (MLEE) is still possible at the CNRL, but only for specific scientific purposes.

Quality Management

The BRC-Leishmania is part of the wider BRC of the Academic Hospital of Montpellier. As such, it has been engaged for several years in a Quality management system aiming at the certification according to ISO 9001 and NF S96-900 standards.

The BRC-Leishmania is a member of the network of French microbiological BRC (FBRCMi) and Inserm Biobanques network.

The collection has been recorded since 2005 in the database of the World Data Centre for Microorganisms of the World Federation for Culture Collection under No. WDCM 879.