Seed Biology Laboratories
Home to a wide of range of facilities to enable our seed research.
Our Seed Biology Laboratories are based at Wakehurst, within the Millennium Seed Bank building, and offer a variety of options for seed research.
We have a wide range of facilities that allow seed ripening, drying, processing and germination testing along with low temperature storage and cryopreservation capabilities. In addition, we have a selection of microscopy and imaging techniques that include digital x-ray analysis. Our laboratories are equipped with instruments to undertake biochemistry, biophysical, chemical and molecular analyses. Our in vitro facilities, as well as the selection of growth chambers which offer a range of temperature and humidity conditions, are used for plant development studies. Use of the Seed Biology Laboratories also includes access to the Seed Collection, which holds, at present, over 39,000 species.
The laboratory management team can assist with project design, planning and analysis of results. Our available facilities support both the strategic outputs of the Kew Science Strategy (such as our aim to bank 25% of the world's seeds), as well as many of the cutting-edge science research projects currently being undertaken within Kew, for example low temperature storage of recalcitrant species and seed longevity studies.
Facilities and equipment
Seed ripening/drying and cleaning
- Humidification rooms set at 60%RH and 75%RH
- International standard dry room at 15°C/15%RH
- Seed cleaning lab
Microscopy and images
- Ergonomic stereomicroscopes
- Axiocam digital imaging (micro & macro)
- Refrigerated microtome
- Digital x-ray
- Equilibrium relative humidity sensors
- Igasorb moisture sorption generator
- Gravimetric moisture contents
- 45 x temperature and light controlled cabinets (0°C to 40°C range with alternating temperatureoptions)
- 2 x thermogradient plates
- Germination scoring Lab
Comparative longevity/seed ageing
- Seed ageing ovens 40°C, 50°C, 60°C, 70°C and 80°C
- Variable humidity conditions
- Climate controlled chamber
- High pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC)
- Gas chromatography mass spectropscopy (GCMS)
- UV Spectrophotometer
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and electrophoresis tanks/quantitative PCR
- Spectrophotometer/UV light box and UV cross linker
- UV/chemiluminescence gel and blot scanner
- Differential scanning calorimeter (DSC)
- Dynamic mechanical analyser (DMA)
- Time domain nuclear magnetic resonance (TD-NMR)
- Puncture Force Mechanical analysis
Cryobiology and low temperature storage
- -180°C cryo-stores
- Liquid nitrogen storage
- Ultra low temperature freezers -10°C to -80°C
- Planar programmable freezer
In vitro studies
- Laminar flow cabinets
- Benchtop autoclaves
- Temperature and light controlled cabinets
- Growth chambers with programmable temperature/humidity and light levels
Accommodation and residential facilities are also available for visiting researchers.
The Analytical Methods team support Kew's scientific research through the development and implementation of new methods.
Millennium Seed Bank
Our Millennium Seed Bank is home to over 39,000 species and is the largest and most diverse wild plant species genetic resource in the world.