The largest seed bank in the southern hemisphere is being constructed in Sydney’s south-west to help prevent a loss to the planet’s diversity of flora. Scientists are collecting and housing a range of plants and seeds to fill Mt Annan’s PlantBank, which is being built under the management of the Australian Botanic Gardens.
The Mt Annan PlantBank will eventually house up to 25,000 plant species not just from Australia, but from around the Asia-Pacific. Project manager Brett Summerell told abc.net that the PlantBank would be a form of “ultimate insurance”. ”If something calamitous happens then we’re able to extract the seed from the seed bank, re-grow them, and in some cases re-vegetate areas so that the plants are still existing,” Summerell said. The bank will include a super-sized refrigerated vault to house trays and envelopes full of seeds. Summerell says the seeds are sealed under a vacuum so that they will last a long time.
The ultimate goal is to collect and store seeds or live tissue from all of Australia’s 25,000 plant species. Up to 200 million living seeds may eventually be stored in its thermally-efficient, refrigerated vault, designed to withstand fire and other threats. PlantBank will be open to the public and is expected to attract local, national and international visitors and students. There will be opportunities to interact with scientists and advanced technology while learning about Australian plants. It will be a place to educate us all and inspire a new generation of scientists. Read the full article »»»»