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Storage of bread wheat, durum wheat, triticale and related cereals

Contributors to this page: CIMMYT – Wheat, Mexico (Thomas Payne), ICARDA, Syria (Ahmed Amri) with inputs also received from CIMMYT – Maize, Mexico (Suketoshi Taba), USDA – National Small Grains Collection, Aberdeen, Idaho (Harold Bockelmann), CGN, Wageningen, The Netherlands (website) and IPK, Gatersleben, Germany (Helmut Knűpffer).

Contents:
Base collection
Active collection
Storage management

Base collection

Cold and dry storage rooms for conservation of seed. Notice the warm clothes of the genebank staff (photos: CIMMYT)

Definition

The base collection is a long-term storage facility. The initially collected seed accession sample is used as a bench mark for monitoring changes in the genetic identity and diversity of the accession, over time and after cycles of regeneration, that may arise due to genetic drift. The facility should insure that an accession’s seed viability remains at acceptable levels for at least 50 years, or at least one cycle of the regeneration of the accession.

When should base collection samples be used

Sample specifications

Minimum sample size for storage

A representative sample should be used to avoid genetic drift. There are a few options that could be chosen:

Minimum viability for storage

Moisture content

To avoid any deterioration to the stored seed samples.

Container specifications

Seed packaging method

Specifications of packaging material

Storage specifications

Assigning location codes

For easy access and location of the accessions.

Storage conditions

Low temperatures and seed moisture content are important to maintain seed viability.

Recording information during storage – Base collection

The following information should be recorded for each step:

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Active collection

Definition

The active collection consists of accessions that are designated as available for distribution and hence are accessed more frequently than those in the base collection. The active collection is intended to preserve germplasm viability in medium-term storage conditions for at least 20 years or for half of one regeneration cycle in the base collection.

When should active collection samples be used

Sample specifications

Minimum sample size

Viability for storage

Moisture content

To avoid any deterioration to the stored seed samples.

Container specifications

Seed packaging method

Specifications of packaging material

The packaging material must be moisture resistant and withstand storage at low temperature for long periods of time without cracking or any other physical deterioration.

Storage specifications

For easy access and location of the accessions.

Assigning location codes

Storage conditions

The temperature can be between 0oC and 10oC with a relative humidity (RH) of 25% to 35% to ensure the seed viability for more than 20 years. Low relative humidity in the storage room is more important to the seed longevity than low temperature.

Recording information during storage – Active collection

The following information should be recorded for each step:

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Storage management

Storage space arrangement

It is very important to permit easy access to the accessions.

System for tracking material/inventory system

Samples must be quickly accessed.

A good system as used at CGN Wageningen, The Netherlands:

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The Genebanks

The 11 CGIAR genebanks currently conserve 730,000 of cereals and grain legumes, forage crops, tree species, root and tuber crops, bananas and crop wild relatives.

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