Other Useful Links and Resources
Follow the links to these other useful sources of information for genebank staff facing problems with ‘difficult’ seeds.
Seed Information Database - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK
The Seed Information Database (SID) is a compilation of seed biological trait data from Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank collections and from other published and unpublished sources. It includes seed storage behaviour information for more than 10,600 species and germination protocols for more than 12,400 species. There are also modules on seed morphology, seed dispersal, and seed oil and protein content.
Crop Genebank Knowledge Base - Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
The Crop Genebank Knowledge Base shares best practice for managing crop genebanks. It includes information about the conservation, characterization, regeneration and safety duplication of banana, barley, cassava, chickpea, forage grasses, forage legumes, maize, rice and wheat. It also includes a section on general procedures of wider relevance and an extensive set of learning resources.
The ISTA International Rules for Seed Testing (edition 2010), the handbook on seedling evaluation and many other publications are available for purchase via the ISTA website.
The AOSA Rules for Testing Seeds (2010) and other AOSA publications are available for purchase via the AOSA website. The list of species without AOSA rules (pdf), with suggested germination procedures for more than 800 species and genera not included in the official AOSA rules, and the tetrazolium testing updates are also available on this site.
Digital Atlas of Economic Plants - University of Groningen, Netherlands, and Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI), Germany
The Digital Atlas of Economic Plants includes high-quality close-up images of the seeds and fruits of economic plants. Search by scientific name, common plant name, plant part, economic use, geographical distribution and size.
Ellis, R.H., Hong, T.D. and Roberts, E.H. (1985). Volume II: Compendium of specific germination information and test recommendations. Handbooks for genebanks, No. 3. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome, Italy.
Long out of print, but available on-line via Bioversity International’s Publications pages, the 'Compendium of Specific Germination Information and Test Recommendations' provides general approaches to promoting germination, together with detailed information and, when available, prescriptions for overcoming dormancy in 58 plant families.
Hong, T.D. and Ellis, R.H. (1996). A protocol to determine seed storage behaviour (pdf). IPGRI Technical Bulletin, No. 1. International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Italy.
This publication outlines the methodology for determining whether or not a species shows orthodox seed storage behaviour. It provides advice on the implementation of the protocol, examples of ways in which the results from seed storage studies could be misinterpreted due to confounding factors, as well as several alternative approaches for estimating seed storage behaviour prior to carrying out actual investigations with the seeds.
Hong, T.D. and Ellis, R.H. (2002). Storage (pdf). In J.A. Vozzo (ed) Tropical Tree Seed Manual. Agriculture Handbook 721, pp125-136. USDA Forest Service, Washington DC, USA.
An essay summarising the principal differences in seed storage behaviour among species. This is focused on tree seeds, but also contains useful citations from other plant life forms.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards (pdf). FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
The Genebank Standards contain descriptions of seed storage conditions and standards for the exchange and distribution of seeds from genebank collections. This publication is currently under revision, but is still a good reference.
Rao, N.K., Hanson, J., Dulloo, M.E., Ghosh, K., Nowell, D. and Larinde, M. (2006). Manual of seed handling in genebanks (pdf). Handbooks for Genebanks No. 8. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy.
This is a standard reference for genebank work and a good source of practical information on seed conservation, technology, storage and management. It includes a useful summary of the recommended germination conditions for the main crop species. Also available in French (pdf) and Spanish (pdf).
Smith, R.D., Dickie, J.D., Linington, S.H., Pritchard, H.W. and Probert, R.J. (eds) (2003). Seed Conservation: turning science into practice. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK.
A review of the scientific knowledge that underpins seed banking, this book is the outcome of a workshop in 2001 hosted by the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership. It reflects international collaboration on the seed conservation of wild plant species and contains useful chapters on seed maturity, seed viability and drying, seed bank design and the viability equations.
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