Storing seeds is essential to preserve the genetic diversity of plants on the planet. The tradition of preserving seeds in so-called “banks” started a few centuries ago, and today stored materials present
historical and agricultural value. They are also called seed libraries which preserve not only biological material but information on strategies for enhancing productivity and resistance which evolved throughout centuries. Seed banks provide breeders with all the necessary genes necessary to improve the quality of yield. Besides, such storage allows conserving biodiversity, at least in laboratory conditions. Seeds are stored at low temperatures and protected from the external damage.
Seeds at such special storage are kept in appropriate temperature and moisture conditions so that they remain alive. If moisture is about 1 percent, and temperature reaches no higher than 10 degrees Fahrenheit, some seeds can survive for more than 5 years. After that time, mother plants are regrown and new seeds are taken for storage again. However, drying and cooling must not be overdone not to harm seeds which are more sensitive to low temperatures.
Further research made by the Food and Agriculture Division of the UN developed better standards for seed banks to preserve the longevity of the material. The optimal relative humidity is 20 percent and temperature – -20 degrees Celsius. These conditions are called conventional and they are suitable for most important agricultural species such as vegetables. However, some species will not survive these conditions and are preserved cryogenically.