Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Back up bananas

I was extremely pleased to see last night that the BBC caught up with me on the subject of the Svalbard seed vault :) Tuesday 26 February was the day of the official opening.

Svalbard is only part of the story though because the storage conditions don't suit all plants, only those which have seeds that can be dried and stored. Bananas don't.

Photo by L. Guarino via Bioversity. Creative Commons licence.

Bananas and plantains cannot be dried and stored but they do need cold ( -196C) temperatures. The Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) in Montpellier in the south of France has taken delivery of a safety backup of samples from Leuven in Belgium, in the same way that Svalbard has taken delivery of seeds.

If anything should happen to the original samples there is now a duplicate set available. It may seem unlikely but a typhoon damaged the Philippine rice gene bank, and looters destroyed wheat and lentil gene banks at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. It is essential to preserve these collections of biodiversity.

Other crops that are best preserved by tissue culture or in field gene banks are coconut, cassava, yam, potato, sweet potato and taro.

For the full story see Bioversity.

Update: posts also from DianeCA of Metamorphoses and RennyBA has loads of pictures on his Terella - he has been to Svalbard!


  1. Hi A.... Im raja...
    I got the book :) Started reading it..... Im so happy to have a nice book as a gift...

    Thank You very much....


  2. Hi Raja, I'm so glad it arrived.

  3. Sorry, sorry, This is what happens when reading blogs, from the newest and backwards, and when not visiting for a while.
    I'm red as a coocked lobster

  4. Yea, its sad that not all can be stored in the seed vault at Svalbard, but lets hope the scientist can make out a plan not to long from now.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend :-)

  5. @Tor :) I don't know about the red lobster, but I do remember a fetching shade of pink in one of your holiday pictures :)

    @Renny, I've added a link to your Svalbard post. How wonderful to have been there

  6. Thanks for plugging me - I've updated mine with a link to yours too :-)

    Wishing you still a lovely weekend!


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