Wheat seeds, Triticum aestivum

Wheat seeds, Triticum aestivum

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This image is part of the feature Seed Bank

Credit: JAMES KING-HOLMES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Wheat seeds (Triticum aestivum) stored in an airtight jar. Wheat is a grass that is cultivated to produce flour for staple foods such as bread, pasta, noodles and couscous. It is also used to produce alcoholic beverages, as a biofuel and as straw for livestock fodder, bedding and roofing material. These seeds (grains) are stored at minus 20 degrees Celsius as part of the Millennium Seed Bank Project, an international effort aimed at safeguarding seeds from 30,000 species. This will represent 10 percent of all the world's flowering plants. Most seeds are still viable after several years of cold storage, but some species must be replenished more frequently. In 2007 the seed bank contained the seeds from over 18,000 species.

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