The objective of germplasm storage is to ensure that seeds are preserved under controlled environmental conditions to maintain seed viability for long periods. Before storage, the seed is dried, as lowering moisture content increases seed storage life. In addition, the storage temperature determines the maximum longevity of the seed. To ensure that seed is not exposed to changes in temperature and moisture during storage, it is packed in sealed aluminium foil bags.

Types of seed storage

  • Medium-term storage – the active collection available for distribution is stored in a walk-in cold room, where environmental conditions are maintained at 150C and 15% relative humidity.
  • Long-term storage – the base collection (i.e., the most original sample) is stored in freezers, where temperatures are maintained at minus 200
  • Safety duplication – the Genebank has taken measures to maintain copies of the seed collection at multiple sites as an insurance against natural disasters or anything that may adversely affect the collection in Nairobi. The Genebank maintains safety duplication collections at the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB), the Kunming institute of Botany’s Germplasm Bank of Wild Species (GBOWS), and the Svalbard Global Seeds Vault (SGSV).

The CIFOR-ICRAF Genebank has a global role to collect, conserve, document, characterize and distribute a diverse collection of agroforestry trees.

  • Prasad Hendre
  • Genebank Manager
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