Seed bank cold storage vault

Seed bank cold storage vault

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This image is part of the feature Seed Bank

Credit: JAMES KING-HOLMES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Seed bank cold storage vault, Millennium Seed Bank, Wakehurst Place, Sussex, UK. The Millennium Seed Bank Project is an international effort aimed at safeguarding seeds from 30,000 species. This will represent 10 percent of all the world's flowering plants. Seeds arrive from researchers around the world. They are cleaned, assessed for viability, dried and then stored in airtight jars in a dark vault at minus 20 degrees Celsius. Each jar is numbered and barcoded for identification. Most seeds are still viable after several years of cold storage, but some must be replaced more frequently. In 2007 the seed bank contained over a billion seeds from over 18,000 species, making it the largest wild seed collection in the world.

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