Slovenian Collection of Industrial Microorganisms (ZIM) today preserve over 4200 microorganisms that have been systematically collected over the last 30 years, mainly from regional foods, beverages and natural habitats.
Our R&D activities focus mostly on isolation and characterization of yeasts, lactic acid bacteria, bifidobacteria and food-borne pathogens. The aim of the collection is to distribute microbial strains to support scientific research; to exploit microbial biodiversity for novel biotechnological applications; and to support the teaching process at different levels of education.
Most strains have been identified using state-of-the-art molecular methods and in the last 10 years all strains have determined their bar code sequences, which are also available via the online catalogue. As an ex-situ Conservatory for Microbial Diversity, we have implemented the recommendations of the OECD Commission for the Management of Cultural Collections. A comprehensive database of microbial resources contains information on isolation source and geographic location, host and substrate, phenotypic properties and genomic data.
ZIM Collection is an infrastructure center with expertise in various classes of microorganisms. It offers various services, including identification, strain characterization, public or secure deposit of microbial cultures and advice on various topics related to food microbiology and food technology.
Collection of Industrial Microorganisms (ZIM Collection) was established in 1991 at Biotechnical faculty by Professor Peter Raspor who systematically catalogued microorganisms deposited in different laboratory collections. Among those, the yeast collection established by Professor Alexander Konjajev soon after foundation of Agronomy department in 1947 was the largest and it soon expanded with the establishment of Food Science and Technology Department in 1960.
In the following years a collection of Slovenian wine yeast isolated and characterized by Professor Slavica Šikovec was added to the old collection. During last fifteen years the collection rapidly expanded through many sampling projects, which included collecting Slovenian wine yeasts, brewing yeasts, yeasts from olive environments, dairy yeasts and lactic-acid bacteria from Western Balkan countries. The collection was also expanded with bacterial isolates, namely acetic acid bacteria from Slovenian vinegar and foodborne pathogens (Campylobacter, Pseudomonas).
The most recent expansion was in 2018 when culture collection with the strains from vineyards and surrounding natural habitats assembled by Professor Jure Piškur and his co-workers merged with ZIM collection. The ZIM collection was headed by Professor Peter Raspor until his retirement in 2014. Since 2014 the collection has been managed by curator Neža Čadež. ZIM collection is also located at the Department of Animal Science, Institute of Dairy Science and probiotics where it is curated by Dr. Bojana Bogovič Matijašić. It comprises lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria isolated from different sources such as fermented food of dairy and non-dairy origin, from human milk, from milk of different animal species and from infant gut.
The first catalogue of the collection was published as a printed edition in 1995 (Raspor in sod., COBISS.SI- ID - 51376896), but since 2020 it has been accessible via the collection's website (Neža Čadež in sod., COBISS.SI- ID).
In the past few years many students enrolled in Microbiology, Food Technology and Biotechnology study programs or Erazmus+ exchange programs assisted in the identification of cultures by DNA sequencing:
Petra Doušova, Maša Hribar, Ines Jerovšek, Viktorija Jovanova, Lea Kastelec, Katarina Krajnik, Anja Krivec, Mojca Likar, Neža Mandl, Mateja Mervič, Martina Podgoršek, Janja Pukmajster, Hana Šuranska, Urška Vrhovnik, Klavdija Žerdoner.