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Seed Research and Technical Cooperation with Brazil

The purpose of this project is to conduct joint seed research leading to enhanced opportunities for the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources of Brazil, including through knowledge exchange.

Kew’s Seed Conservation Department has maintained active scientific engagement with Brazilian partners since the 1990s, and this has accelerated since 2006 with the supervision of several Brazilian postgraduate students, the provision of advanced seed morphology training, and associated technical engagement with government and university partners. The strongest research link has been with the Federal University of Lavras with whom 7 postgraduate students have been supervised (4 PhDs completed by September 2011). Since 2006, the collaboration has resulted in 10 publications in international peer-review journals

The related project "Morpho-physiological aspects of tree seeds from the Amazon and their implications on seed storage" with the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA) has enabled advanced morphology training to be provided to Brazilian students and a PhD student project on oxidative stress has been started. Researchers at São Paulo University (UNOESTE) and the Federal University of Parana (UFPR) have participated in the Darwin Initiative-supported project Orchid Seed Stores for Sustainable Use (OSSSU).

Future plans include the provision of advanced training in molecular aspects of seed dormancy, and the use of genomics in seed conservation. Technical cooperation will also be strengthened through the exchange of seed bank management experience with Cenargen-Embrapa and University partners that store seed for conservation, research and sustainable use purposes.

Key papers published since 2006

  • Alves-Da-Silva1 D, Borghetti F, Thompson K. Pritchard H, Grime JP (2011) Underdeveloped embryos and germination in Aristolochia galeata seeds. Plant Biology (Special Issue: Pollination and Reproduction Biology) 13, supplement, 104–108.
  • Pinto LVA, Amaral da Silva EA, Davide AC, Mendes de Jesus VA, Toorop PE, Hilhorst HWM (2007). Mechanism and control of Solanum lycocarpum seed germination. Annals of Botany 1–13. doi:10.1093/aob/mcm211.
  • Amaral da Silva EA, Toorop PE, Nijsse J, Bewley JD, Hilhorst HWM (2008). Exogenous gibberellins inhibit coffee (Coffea arabica cv.Rubi) seed germination and cause cell death in the embryo. Journal of Experimental Botany 56, 1029–1038.
  • Batista GS, Mazzini RB, Gimenes R, Pritchard HW, Pivetta KFL (2011). Effects of substrate and mechanical scarification on the germination of Syagrus oleracea (Arecaceae) seeds. Seed Science and Technology 39, 649-654.
  • Hosomi, S.T., Custodio, C.C., Seaton, P.T., Marks, T.R., Machado-Neto, N.B. (2011) Improved assessment of viability and germination of Cattleya (Orchidaceae) seeds following storage. In Vitro Celleular & Developmental Biology – Plant DOI 10.1007/s11627-011-9404-1. (IF=1.060)

Project partners and collaborators

  • Federal University of Bahia (UFBa)
  • Federal University of Lavras (UFLA)
  • Federal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT)
  • Federal University of Sergipe (UFS)
  • Federal University of Tocantins (UFT)
  • *National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA)
  • Federal University of Parana (UFPR)
  • São Paulo University (UNOESTE)
  • State University of Sao Paulo (UNESP)
  • State University of Feira de Santana (UEFS)
  • *Cenargen-Embrapa

* Memorandum of Cooperation agreements in place

  • Wageningen University

Project funders

  • Millennium Commission
  • Darwin Initiative (Orchid Seed Stores for Sustainable Use (OSSSU))
  • National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) - research council for student scholarships

Annex material

Conferences and workshops

Prof Hugh W. Pritchard:

  • Keynote lecture – Seed Survival. International Seed Testing Associations triennial meeting (2007), Iguassu Falls attended by 500 people
  • Keynote lecture – HW Pritchard. Ex situ conservation of palms. SYMBAMPALM, November 2010, Campinas.
  • Keynote lecture - HW Pritchard: Seeds as Natural Capital. 10th Conference of the International Society for Seed Science (ISSS), Bahia, Brazil, 10-16 Apr 2011 .

Dr Peter Toorop:

  • Invited speaker - Abrates (Brazilian Society for Seed Technology) meeting in Curitiba 2009. Lecture attended by 250 participants.

Phil Seaton:

  • Invited speaker - Biodiversity and Environmental Education at October 2010 meeting on ‘Local Development and Environmental Education: New Challenges’ at UNOESTE.

Dr Ilse Kranner:

  • Lecture - Nagel M, Rehman A, Tschiersch H, Rolletschek H, Borisjuk L, Kranner I and Börner A. Genetic variation of seed deterioration in wheat. 10th Conference of the International Society for Seed Science (ISSS), Bahia, Brazil, 10-16 Apr 2011.
  • Poster - Calvi GP, Aud FF, Ferraz I. DK, Kranner I. Glutathione concentrations in Eugenia stipitata Mc Vaugh seeds stored at different moisture contents. 10th Conference of the International Society for Seed Science (ISSS), Bahia, Brazil, 10-16 Apr 2011.
  • Lecture - Kranner I and Pritchard HW: Non-invasive diagnosis of seed stress and viability. 10th Conference of the International Society for Seed Science (ISSS), Bahia, Brazil, 10-16 Apr 2011

Michael Way:

  • Co-chair and presenter: Round table on the role of seed banks in support of plant conservation & habitat restoration in Latin America & Caribbean. Latin American Botanical Congress (2010), La Serena, Chile.