1. Searching for Bioresources
  2. Required Documents
  3. ORDER FORM (Form M-10)
  5. Pricing
  6. Payment
  7. Shipping
  8. Cultivating/Reviving
  9. Genomic DNA
  10. Others

1. Searching for Bioresources

Q.1-1 How do I search for a strain in the JCM collection?

A.1-1 Users are able to search the online catalogue for JCM strains using the scientific name, JCM accession number, accession number of other culture collections, and other strain data (keyword).

Q.1-2 What kind of information can I get from the online catalogue? How do I understand the contents?

A.1-2 Please refer to the “Online Catalogue Information”.

Q.1-3 There's a strain with a JCM accession number cited in a paper that does not appear in the JCM catalogue. Is it possible to obtain this strain?

A.1-3 Please contact us via email <inquiry.jcm@riken.jp>.

Q.1-4 How do I find the JCM accession number of strains that were transferred from the IAM Culture Collection?

A.1-4 If you have the IAM number, please use the “Accession number of other culture collection” search. There are about 1,800 strains that have been transferred from the IAM Culture Collection. A list is available at <https://www.jcm.riken.jp/cgi-bin/jcm/iam_list?lang=en>.

2. Required Documents

Q.2-1 Could you tell me the necessary documents for an order?

A.2-1 Required documents for all orders:
· ORDER FORM (Form M-10)
Only if requested:

Please check 3. List of required documents for further information.

Q.2-2 Do I have to send the original copy of the MTA by mail?

A.2-2 Please send the MTA as a PDF file via email <inquiry.jcm@riken.jp>. However, mail is also acceptable.

3. ORDER FORM (Form M-10)   Form M-10 Sample

Q.3-1 I'm a university student. Can I purchase strains from JCM?

A.3-1 No, students cannot be a RECIPIENT scientist. Please ask your instructor or professor to be the recipient on your behalf.

Q.3-2 I'd like to place a large order, but the order form doesn't have enough space to input all of them. Can I use two forms?

A.3-2 If there is insufficient space, use a separate sheet of paper and make a list of strains titled “Attachment for Order Form.” Also, write “See attachment” on the order form. Then, submit the form with the list as an attachment.

4. MATERIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT (Form M-11/M-11C)   Form M-11 Sample   Form M-11C Sample

・MTA category

Q.4-1 What's the difference between Category I and II?

A.4-1 Please check 2. Material Transfer Agreement for details.
Category I MTA: For not-for-profit academic research by not-for-profit institutions.
Category II MTA: Applicable for the following:
For research to be conducted by for-profit organization.
For collaborative research by not-for-profit organization with for-profit organization.
For research by not-for-profit organization outsourced and sponsored by for-profit organization.
For for-profit research by not-for-profit organization, including R&D with the aim of patent acquisition.

Q.4-2 I'd like to order some strains for my research and apply for patents if possible. Which category form should I use?

A.4-2 Please use a Category II MTA form (For for-profit research).
For further information, please check 2. Material Transfer Agreement.
Note: Please provide a clear description of the purpose.

Q.4-3 I signed a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) with a previous order. If I am submitting an order request for the same strain, is it necessary to submit an MTA a second time?

A.4-3 A previously signed MTA is valid as long as the Recipient Scientist, Authorized Representative, research purpose, and strain(s) are the same. In such cases, enter the number of the previously signed MTA (“BM” + 5 digit number) on the ORDER FORM (Form M-10) and send it to JCM via email <inquiry.jcm@riken.jp>.

・Research purpose (Clause 2(a))

Q.4-4 How do I enter the Research Purpose for Clause 2(a) of the "Material Transfer Agreement"?

A.4-4 Fill in the research purpose in detail. Write specifically how and for what purpose you are going to use the JCM strain(s). If the information is considered insufficient, we may ask you to add more or rewrite it.

Q.4-5 I would like to use strains for multiple research purposes. How should I fill in Clause 2(a) of the MTA regarding the research purpose?

A.4-5 Please submit a separate MTA for each research purpose.

・Terms and conditions (Clause 4)

Q.4-6 Where do I find the terms and conditions for Clause 4 of the "Material Transfer Agreement"?

A.4-6 Refer to the table displayed in the lower part of the JCM Online Catalogue for each strain. If the table indicates “Terms and conditions” “Not imposed”, leave it blank or fill in “N/A”. If the table indicates “Terms and conditions” “Imposed”, click the [information] button, then fill in the whole sentences displayed. (or print out the webpage as an attachment.) Please refer to page 2 of the “Online Catalogue Information”.

Q.4-7 There doesn't seem to be any terms and conditions imposed for a particular strain. What should I enter in Clause 4 of the "Material Transfer Agreement"?

A.4-7 If any of the strains you are ordering do not have terms and conditions imposed, leave it blank or fill in “N/A”.

Q.4-8 There are multiple terms and conditions imposed resulting in not enough space on the form. What should I do?

A.4-8 Enter “See the attachment” in Clause 4 of the MTA, print out the webpage with the terms and conditions on a separate sheet of paper with the heading “Attachment for the MTA”, and attach it to the back of the MTA.


Q.4-9 I purchased a strain from JCM last year. Can I use it for my new research this year?

A.4-9 If a strain is subsequently used for a purpose other than the original purpose, we require that you sign a new MTA. Please inform RIKEN BRC-JCM beforehand of any intent to change the research purpose.

Q.4-10 Can I ask my immediate boss to sign the MTA?

A.4-10 If the candidate is in one of the following positions, he/she can sign the MTA as the Authorized Representative. For anything unclear, please contact us by email <inquiry.jcm@riken.jp>.
· College/University/Graduate School: President, Dean, Director or Head of Department
· Research Institution: Director
· Corporation: President, CEO, Director
· Any officer appointed as Intellectual Property Administrator by the organization
The MTA is a formal contract to be executed between institutions. Therefore, we ask your Authorized Representative to be an authority listed above.

Q.4-11 Can I edit the terms of the MTA?

A.4-11 RIKEN BRC does not accept editing of the terms of the MTA. Please contact JCM via email <inquiry.jcm@riken.jp> if you have any further questions.

5. Pricing

Q.5-1 Could you send me a quotation (a proforma invoice)?

A.5-1 Please fill out the ORDER FORM (Form M-10/10C) and send it to JCM via email <inquiry.jcm@riken.jp>. We will issue a quotation based on the order form and send it back to you via email. At this point, it is not necessary to submit a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA).

Q.5-2 Do you offer any special discounts?

A.5-2 We offer special discounts for large-volume orders. Please check 4. Fees for further information.

6. Payment   RIKEN BRC “Payment procedures

Q.6-1 What forms of payment do you accept? Which payment methods are available?

A.6-1 We accept payments by credit card (MasterCard and Visa only) and bank transfer in Japanese yen.
Note: For users from organizations overseas, RIKEN BRC requires advance payment before sending bioresources. Please pay the distribution fees in advance.

Q.6-2 When can I get my invoice?

A.6-2 RIKEN BRC Front Desk <brc-front@brc.riken.jp> will send you an invoice via email within 10 business days after your order is confirmed and you receive a reception number from JCM via email.
Note: For users from organizations overseas, the RIKEN BRC requires advance payment before sending bioresources. Please pay the distribution fees in advance.

Q.6-3 Unfortunately we cannot pay in Japanese Yen. Are you able to be paid in US dollars, Euros or pound sterling? Can you send me an invoice in U.S dollars/euro?

A.6-3 We accept payments in US dollar (USD), euro (EUR), and other major currencies. We can issue an invoice in U.S dollars/euro when requested. Otherwise, we usually issue invoices in Japanese Yen (JPY).

Q.6-4 We have completed the payment. Can I get the official receipt?

A.6-4 Thank you very much for your payment. With respect to the official receipt, please inquire with the RIKEN BRC Front Desk <brc-front@brc.riken.jp>.

Q.6-5 Could you send us the receipt for the order?

A.6-5 Please request the receipt by email .
If you choose credit card payment, please note that the formal receipt may not be issued until the end of next month.
( If you need the receipt before the end of next month, we can issue a proof of payment, which certifies account information and payment date. )

Q.6-6 We would like to use a courier for the shipment. Could you include the freight in the invoice?

A.6-6 Please refer to our web page that explains the freight.

< 4. Fees >
If the governmental postal service (“post”) is selected as carrier, the fee for shipping will be included in the invoice.
If the forwarder is selected, the shipping company should be arranged for by the Recipient, and the fee for shipping should be handled as cash on delivery (COD).
If required, an import permit/license should be obtained and provided when the order is placed.
The shipping charge will be charged to your account directly by the courier and our invoice will only include the fee for the strains.

7. Shipping

Q.7-1 What shipping method will be used?

A.7-1 We mainly use post and FedEx (or TNT). If you’d like to use an alternative shipping method, please contact JCM at <inquiry.jcm@riken.jp>.

Q.7-2 Can you send me the tracking number when you ship my cultures?

A.7-2 You will receive an email with the title “[RIKEN BRC-JCM] Your resources dispatched” when your package is shipped, and the tracking number will be mentioned in this email message.

Q.7-3 Could you sent the parcel to our affiliated company?

A.7-3 We cannot send cultures to any other person or place except the recipient (recipient’s address) in the order form since the MTA is an agreement between the RECIPIENT and RIKEN BRC.

Q.7-4 I would like to ask if you can provide the official MSDS (Material Safety & Data Sheet) for the strain.

A.7-4 Unfortunately, we do not provide a Material Safety & Data Sheet. All information is shown on our online catalogue.
(We attach a printed catalogue page to the parcel for customs clearance.)

8. Cultivation/Revival

Q.8-1 How do we cultivate strains once we receive them?

A.8-1 Basic information for cultivation (kind of medium, cultivation temperature, related scientific paper information etc.) is provided on the JCM Online Catalogue. Please refer to the catalogue. To revive lyophilized or L-dried cultures, please use JCM designated culture conditions (designated rehydration fluid, medium, temperature, etc.). For how to open Freeze dried or L-dried ampoules, refer to <https://jcm.brc.riken.jp/en/ordering_e/revive_e>. For how to revive Frozen-thawed cultures, refer to <https://jcm.brc.riken.jp/en/ordering_e/revivef_e>.

Q.8-2 We tried to revive the culture we received; however, it was unsuccessful.

A.8-2 Please provide details of your handling of the culture at the time of revival (storage condition until revival, rehydration fluid and medium used for revival, temperature used, number of days of incubation etc.) The curator in-charge of the strain will check the conditions. If we determine that you are eligible for a one-time only free replacement offer, we will provide the same culture or an alternative culture free. However, if the initial failure to revive was not caused by our negligence, or, if the free replacement culture needs to be handled in a BSL2 facility, additional fees for special packaging and transportation may be charged.
Moreover, if revival is not done under JCM designated conditions, is reported after the deadline, or unsuccessful revival is caused by user negligence, the free replacement offer will not apply and you will need to consider re-purchasing the strain. For more details, please refer to <https://jcm.brc.riken.jp/en/ordering_e#terms_of_use>.

9. Genomic DNA

Q.9-1 We would like you to provide genomic DNA of JCM strains.

A.9-1 Genomic DNA of JCM strains can be provided by the Gene Engineering Division. Please refer to <https://dna.brc.riken.jp/en/>, and place an order with the Gene Engineering Division.

Q.9-2 Can genomic DNA that is not listed on the RIKEN BRC Gene Engineering Division Online Catalogue be provided?

A.9-2 If the desired genomic DNA is not listed, contact us by email. Although it takes time, there may be cases where it can be made available.

10. Others

Q.10-1 Could you tell me about the purchasing procedure?

A.10-1 Please check 1. Procedure from order to delivery for details.

Q.10-2 Why does type strain representation for molds and yeasts differ between JCM and other collections?

A.10-2 The rules for naming fungi (mushrooms, molds, yeasts, etc.) follow the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN). The term “type strain” in reference to bacteria is not included in the ICN protocol. For plants and fungi, as a general rule, the “type” attached to a given scientific name cannot be a living organism but, rather, must be a dehydrated specimen or an illustration of the type (although exceptions have been made in recent years for freeze-dried specimens that are metabolically inactive). However, in consideration of the practical utility of a living strain derived from the type strain, the term “ex-type strain” is used to officially designate such strains so that they can be used for purposes of comparison, etc. Accordingly, not only do fungus strains in culture not represent type strains from a nomenclature standpoint, the term “type strain,” in the first place, is not recognized in the official nomenclature rules. That said, the term “type strain” is often used in place of “ex-type strain,” particularly in the case of yeasts, for the benefit of users who deal with microbes including bacteria. Furthermore, considering that many mushrooms and molds are difficult to culture and the fact that the naming of such organisms traces its history back to the time of Linnaeus (1735), ex-type strains do not exist in the vast majority of cases.

Q.10-3 Can we use provided cultures at another organization?

A.10-3 Cultures provided by JCM and their derivatives are only permitted to be used within the institution or organization that executed the MTA, and for the stated research purpose. Use of the provided cultures and their derivatives by organizations other than the institution or organization that executed the MTA, or for research purposes other than those stated, is prohibited. Any questions should be forwarded to us by email .

  1. Procedure for Deposition/Donation of a microorganism(s)
  2. Import-prohibited microorganism(s) by the Plant Protection Act
  3. Filling out required documents
  6. Shipment
  7. Notification of JCM accession number(s)
  8. Certificate of Deposition/Donation and availability of a microorganism(s)

1. Procedure for Deposition/Donation of a microorganism(s)

Q.1-1 Would you clarify the difference between Deposition and Donation?

A.1-1 “Deposition” does not include the transfer of intellectual property rights, and the intellectual property rights of the deposited resources are retained by the depositor/developer. The conditions of use set at the time of deposit are imposed on the recipients as they are.
For “Donation”, the resources and the intellectual property rights of the resources will be transferred to our center. However, Donors are free to use their donated resources after donation.
In the case of Donation, conditions for use other than intellectual property rights can be added, such as “Acknowledgment is required to publish research results.” We recommend “Donation” when you leave public office due to retirement or when it is difficult to answer various questions and requests from users. Please consider Donation along with the deposition.

Q.1-2 What is the cost of Deposition/Donation of microorganism(s)

A.1-2 As a general rule, there is no cost burden to the Depositor/Donor, except for the cost of shipping the culture(s).

Q.1-3 Could you check whether the documents are filled out correctly or not in advance?

A.1-3 Yes, we can do this. Please email PDF documents to inquiry.jcm@riken.jp

Q.1-4 When can we send microorganism(s) to JCM?

A.1-4 Please send microorganism(s) after you receive a fully-signed copy of the executed MTA in PDF and not before.

Q.1-5 What is the normal lead time from shipping microorganism(s) until receiving notification of the JCM accession number(s) for the Deposition/Donation?

A.1-5 It depends on the kind and condition (purity and freshness) of microorganism(s) received. It normally takes one to three months to complete checking and preserving microorganism(s).

Q.1-6 What can I do to shorten the deposition process in order to receive the JCM accession number as early as possible?

A.1-6 We confirm viability and authenticity after we receive strain(s), and it normally takes about one to three months if nothing goes wrong. However, if you can ship us fresh and pure (not contaminated) strain(s), this will help to minimize delays in the process.

2. Import-prohibited microorganism(s) by the Plant Protection Act

Q.2-1 How do I prepare an import permit application form?

A.2-1 JCM fill out an application form for the import permit called the Yellow-Tag based on the input from the depositor and submit it to MAFF (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) on behalf of the Depositor. We ask that you assist this process by providing necessary information (answering five questions).

Q.2-2 What kind of additional information do we need to provide?

A.2-2 Please find the five questions below?
Questions JCM ask are:
Q1. How many containers of the strain(s) and what kind of containers are you going to send?
Q2. Out of the two options available, 1) EMS or 2) the regular postage service, which shipping method will you choose to send the strain(s)? (No other shipping methods are available).
Q3. What is the name of the nearest international airport from your city?
Q4. Can you ship the permitted strain(s) to the Plant Protection Station within 6 months from date the permit is issued?
Q5. Can we send an import permit (Yellow-Tags) to the address you provided in the Deposition Data Sheet (Form M-8)?

Q.2-3 When I answered the questions, I requested to ship my strain by EMS, but when I tried to ship it, the post office did not allow the microorganisms to be shipped. Can I ship my strain by other shipping methods?

A.2-3 Unfortunately, you cannot change the shipping method once the permit is issued. Each Yellow-Tag (import permit) has the permit number and the receiver’s address printed on it, and the receiver’s address is different for each shipping method.

Q.2-4 Can I ship my strain by FedEx or DHL?

A.2-4 Unfortunately, we do not allow the use of private courier services for sending Depositions/Donations. Therefore, we ask you to select one of two shipping methods, 1) EMS or 2) a regular postal air parcel service, when we ask Depositor(s) for additional information.

Q.2-5 I am not able to ship my strain for it to arrive in Japan before the permit expires. Can you extend the expiration date?

A.2-5 In this case, we have to return the current permit to MAFF and apply for a new permit.

Q.2-6 I have two importable strains and three import-prohibited strains to deposit. Can I ship those five strains together after I receive the import permit "Yellow-Tags"?

A.2-6 Unfortunately, you cannot. Importable strains and import-prohibited strains have to be shipped separately. This is because the two importable strains are to be shipped to JCM while the three import-prohibited strains are to be shipped to the Yokohama Plant Protection Station (the address printed on the permit).

3. Filling out required documents

Q.3-1 What kind of documents should we prepare prior to depositing microorganism(s)?

A.3-1 Please fill out 1) DEPOSITION DATA SHEET (Form M-8-P for Bacteria and Archaea or Form M-8-F for Filamentous fungi and Yeast) and 2) MATERIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT (Form M-9 for Deposition or Form M-2E for Donation).

Q.3-2 How can we resize the text in order for it to fit in the limited space?

A.3-2 Opening the file from Adobe®Acrobat Reader®, allow automatic font size adjustment in order to fit the text within the space provided.

Q.3-3 Can I use an electronic signature to sign the MATERIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT (Form M-9) and DEPOSITION DATA SHEET (Form M-8)?

A.3-3 Yes, you may use an electronic signature for those documents as long as the electronic signature is printable.


Q.4-1 Is it possible to deposit unidentified strains or new species, etc. whose descriptions have not yet been published and whose scientific name have not yet been determined?

A.4-1 Yes, it is possible. In such cases, please enter a description such as “Unidentified bacterium.” in the column for scientific name on the Deposition Data Sheet (Form M-8). Please provide information including the strain designation, isolation data, country of origin, etc. There are places for this information to be entered on the Deposition Data Sheet (Form M-8).

Q.4-2 I would like the depositing strain to be released to the public after the paper that I am currently preparing has been published. How should I request this?

A.4-2 Please inform us of your request using the DEPOSITION DATA SHEET (item 16, for bacteria and archaea; item 18, for yeasts and filamentous fungi). Note that the strain will be made accessible to the public at the discretion of the JCM five years after the deposition date.

Q.4-3 What should I do if the accession number of the nucleotide sequence of the rRNA gene (item 12, for bacteria and archaea; item 14, for yeasts and filamentous fungi) is not disclosed in the database?

A.4-3 Please attach the sequence text data of rRNA, ITS, LSU etc. to the deposit receptionist by attaching it to an email.


Q.5-1 I am a PhD student. Can I deposit new species at JCM?

A.5-1 As we execute the MATERIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT between organizations, we do not accept students as depositors.

Q.5-2 Do I need to prepare an MTA (MATERIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT) for each strain?

A.5-2 No, you can list more than one strain in the same MTA as long as 1) they are deposited under the same “Origin of the Biological Resource” and 2) under the same “terms and conditions”. In that case, we recommend you to fill out just strain names/numbers.

Q.5-3 I am planning to apply for citation of a new name in the Validation List of IJSEM. What kind of terms and conditions for distributions should I choose?

A.5-3 The policy of IJSEM (the international Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology) is that authors who wish to propose a new species, a new subspecies or a new combination in IJSEM or wish to apply for a citation of a new name in the Validation List of IJSEM are required to prove deposition of the type strain in culture collections and make it available to the public WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS.

Q.5-4 I was asked by IJSEM to remove all conditions of use and provide a new certificate of deposition. How do I request JCM to remove all restrictions over the use of the deposited strain?

A.5-4 Please request us to change the terms and conditions by submitting “DATA UPDATE SHEET for MTA”.

Q.5-5 I would like to establish conditions that restrict use to non-commercial use. How should I describe the conditions?

A.5-5 Since it is necessary to establish criteria that define non-commercial use, please refer to the following examples.
Example 1) The availability of the BIOLOGICAL RESOURCE is limited to RECIPIENTS of not-for-profit organizations for not-for-profit research.
Example 2) For use of the BIOLOGICAL RESOURCE by a for-profit research, the RECIPIENT must reach an agreement on the terms and conditions of use with the DEPOSITOR and must obtain prior written consent from the DEPOSITOR.

Q.5-6 I am currently preparing a manuscript on a strain that I am planning to deposit in the RIKEN BRC-JCM. I would like to make citation of the paper a condition of deposition/donation. How should I state this on the MATERIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT.

A.5-6 Please include a statement to that effect for Item 7 of the MATERIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT along with information regarding the paper (author name(s), title, etc.). The MATERIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT will be concluded based on that information. Upon publication of the paper, please send us a reprint or information regarding the paper (author name(s), title, journal name, volume, pages, publication year) as soon as possible. This information will be used to revise the MATERIAL TRANSFER AGREEMENT and will be published on the website as a condition for ordering. Please be aware that the strain in question will be made available upon publication of the paper, but the deposition conditions will not be applied until the paper reprint or information is provided by the depositor.

Q.5-7 What kind of job title is required for the Authorized Representative Depositor?

A.5-7 In accordance with the policy of RIKEN BRC, we request that a Dean, Director, President or Director of Intellectual Property Department be chosen as the Authorized Representative Depositor.

6. Shipment

Q.6-1 How should we pack microorganisms?

A.6-1 You can reduce the risk of damage during transportation by wrapping the material in a plastic bag wrapped in cushioning material and putting it in a secure cardboard box.

Q.6-2 What is the shipping address for the microorganism(s)?

A.6-2 We will inform you of the curator in charge of the strain(s) when we send an e-mail to confirm the completion of the MTA.
The delivery address is;
Curator in charge of Microbe Division, RIKEN BioResource Research Center
3-1-1 Koyadai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-0074, Japan

7. Notification of JCM accession number(s)

Q.7-1 How are Depositors/Donors notified of the JCM accession number(s)?

A.7-1 Deposited or donated microbial strains will be registered in JCM and assigned a JCM number after the growth, purity, properties, gene sequence, etc. have been confirmed. We will send you a JCM number notification PDF file by email.

8. Certificate of Deposition/Donation and availability of a microorganism(s)

Q.8-1 When can I expect to receive a Certificate of Deposition/Donation or Availability?

A.8-1 For a new species, etc. to be published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology (IJSEM) or to submit a request for publication of a new species name in the IJSEM Validation List, you must have certification that proves the strain has been deposited in culture collections in at least two different countries and that the strains are available to the public. Please submit an application if you require such certification. A certificate will be issued after the strain has been examined for viability and purity, and the authenticity is confirmed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. We ask for your understanding and cooperation as some time it may be required between receipt of a request for certification and issuance of the certificate in order to perform this examination.

Comments are closed.