The predecessor of NCAIM, the Hungarian Microbiological Gene Bank (HMGB) was established in 1974. In the early years the HMGB existed as a decentralised organisation. It consisted of some 30 research- and industry laboratories that were grouped according to their special expertise such as plant protection, soil-, medical-, veterinary-, food microbiology and so on. The co-ordinating centre resided in our culture collection in the Department of Microbiology of the University of Horticulture and Food Science, Budapest.
Running and managing culture collections in the form of a decentralised national organisation can serve the purpose to a certain extent, as our ten years experience did show. It was certainly less expensive since costs were shared, further development and expansion of the organisation was impractical.
The idea of centralisation and establishing a national collection was supported by two major motives. One was the need to establish a culture collection of micro-organisms of industrial and agriculturalimportance. The other one was the intention to acquire the status of an international depository authority for patent strains. The then opening Hungarian Biotechnology Program in the years 1983-1986, National Community for Developments provided substantial support to our collection and enabled its for development. It was decided that a national culture collection would be established in our culturecollection by leveraging existing facilities and equipment In 1985, the name of the culture collection was changed to National Collection of Agricultural and Industrial Micro-organisms (NCAIM).
In the following year on June 1, 1986 NCAIM was approved as an International Depository Authority.
NCAIM became independent from the Department of Microbiology in January, 1994. Since then, the culture collection has existed as a separate Department. In the year 2000 was established a newuniversity, Szent István University with ten Faculties. It was named after Szent István, who was the first Hungarian King who reigned from 1000 to 1038. Three Faculties of University of Horticulture and Food Science joined to Szent István University in 2000. Following the expansion and reorganisation of the university, NCAIM became part of the Faculty of Food Sciences of Szent István University. In2004 NCAIM became part of the Faculty of Food Sciences, Corvinus University of Budapest. From 1986 to 1994 the national culture collection was funded by the Ministry of Agriculture. From 1994 NCAIM is being financially supported by the Ministry of Education.
The main function of NCAIM is to
collect, maintain and store bacteria, filamentous fungi and yeasts with relevance for biotechnology, different areas of microbiology and to teaching
receive, preserve, and maintain strains for the patent purposes under Budapest Treaty and for safe deposit
supply institutions, scientists, and students with NCAIM cultures
offer identification services to the industry and research laboratories
provide data on NCAIM strains in form of printed catalogues, or online
make available training courses, and provide consultations.