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Providing seeds for research

Since 2003 Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership has supplied seed samples for use in research that investigates the priority sustainable development areas of water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity.

Petri dish containing seeds

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership provides seeds for research

Since 2003 Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership has supplied around 3,000 samples for research, each containing 50 seeds. These seed samples are used to further scientific understanding of priority sustainable development areas, including water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity.

Seed samples are sent out following receipt of a signed, and legally binding, Material Supply Agreement (MSA). This agreement states that the material shall only be used for non-commercial scientific purposes, and prohibits any commercial use of the material, progeny or derivatives. Samples are only sent out to individuals affiliated with organisations involved in non-commercial research or conservation.

Below are some examples of the types of sustainable development research that our seed collections have been used for.

Research area

Water

  • counteracting dryland salination¬†
  • combating desertification

Seed samples supplied to: Australia, Pakistan and Egypt


Energy

  • seeking photosynthetically efficient species

Seed samples supplied to: USA


Health

  • culturing threatened medicinal plants¬†
  • improving and controlling the quality of essential oils

Seed samples supplied to: Pakistan and Brazil


Agriculture

  • understanding the poisoning of livestock by 'locoweeds'
  • exploring unconventional forage legumes
  • preventing the accidental introduction of 'new' weeds

Seed samples supplied to: Canada, Mexico and Israel


Biodiversity

  • discovering the causes of alien species invasiveness

Seed samples supplied to: USA


Chemicals

  • remedying heavy metal contamination
  • understanding the transmission of herbicide resistance between weedy species

Seed samples supplied to: USA