JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Grass seeds. X-ray of Festuca sp. grass seeds. The X-ray reveals viable seeds as those with translucent white contents (endosperm and embryo) and non-viable seeds as empty. These tests are part of quality control at the Millennium Seed Bank, Wakehurst Place, Sussex, UK. This is an international effort aimed at safeguarding seeds from 30,000 species, representing 10 percent of all the world's flowering plants. Seeds arriving at the seed bank are checked for pests, diseases and viability using X-rays and germination tests. The seeds are then stored at minus 20 degrees Celsius. In 2007 the seed bank contained seeds from over 18,000 species spanning 126 countries, making it the largest wild seed collection in the world.
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