The recent evolution of bacterial species can be elucidated with the aid of large historical strain collections. Unfortunately, information for some of these strain collections is not publicly available, or only in a format which is not readily digitized. The form of storage of traditional collection often requires considerable space and microbiological access to the individual strains can be time consuming. One such historical strain collection was assembled by Professor H.P. Seeliger, the so-called 'Special Listeria Culture Collection' (SLCC). The SLCC contains over 6000 Listeria strains which had been isolated between 1921 and 1987. The information on the properties of the strains was hand written or typed, primarily in German, and the stabs and lyophils used for storage were not ordered. Here we present a description of this strain collection after resuscitation and digitalization. Data were transcribed into a relational database and the revived bacterial strains were stored in a robotically friendly format, where the location of each tube is stored in a database. We resuscitated 4404 Listeria strains from the SLCC, and summarize their properties as well as making the detailed strain information publicly available. This digital information and the revival of the SLCC will facilitate historical analyses of the phylogeography of Listeria.
© 2011 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.