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The Seed Bank for Native Plants in Cultivation at the Main Botanical Garden of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

Volume 2 Number 9 - December 1997
Prof. Valentina L. Tikhonova and Dr Igor A. Smirnov

A comparative study on the influence of storage at -20ºC and cryopreservation (-196ºC) for one month on the laboratory germinability of seed for more than 150 species was carried out. The germination, growth and development of plants in field conditions from seed after storage at different temperatures have been studied for 30 species. The influence of non-deep and deep freezing of seed on the growth and development of succeeding generations of plants (10 species) was investigated. Very interesting data were acquired on the prolongation of life of microbiotic seeds, on the long-term preservation of the genetic resources of 25 species of medicinal plants and on the influence of cryopreservation on seeds of various families. The experimental work showed considerable potential for the cryopreservation of seed of native plants.

A database of the anatomy, morphology and the biology of seeds of native species of plants has been created. The computer database is based on BG-RECORDER (BGCI's software package for the management of living plant collections).

Further international training for the staff of the seed bank at the Moscow Botanic Garden would be highly desirable to enhance the operation of this important facility.



Seed Banks

Seed banks are essential for ex situ conservation, and many botanic gardens contribute and collect seeds for storage. However, setting up a bank, collecting and maintaining viable and representative stocks is very challenging.

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US-Russia Botanical Exchange Programme
Set up in 1972, when the US and Russia were locked in a hostile and escalating arms race, this program brought botanists together. Ever since, it has been facilitating the co-operation of US and Russian botanists through joint expeditions, conferences, seed exchange and plant conservation projects.