Alternatives to Conventional Seed Banking

 Photo of Brighamia insignis cultivated plants at the National Tropical Botanical Garden nursery

  1. What are the Alternatives to Conventional Seed Banking? Joyce Maschinski and Valerie Pence
  2. Collecting and Maintaining Exceptional Species in Tissue Culture and Cryopreservation: Valerie Pence, Murphy Westwood, Joyce Maschinski, Christy Powell, Nellie Sugii, Diana Fish, Julianne McGuinness, Pat Raven, Julian Duval, Tomas Herrera-Mishler, Andy Love, Christina Walters, Christa Horn, Matt Taylor, Thomas Ott, Steven Koehler, and Matt Horning
  3. Field Genebanks or Inter Situ Collection: Joyce Maschinski, Murphy Westwood, Kayri Havens, Sean Hoban, Stacy Anderson, and Seana Walsh


Alternatives to Conventional Freezer Storage

Part 2 describes the special handling and options available for species that have seeds that cannot withstand desiccation and freezing.


Prior to Collection

  • Review species’ biology and knowledge of seeds.

While Collecting

  • Collect both shoots and seeds.
  • Balance capturing diversity of 50 maternal lines with institutional capacity.
  • Transport material quickly to lab.


In Vitro



  • Place in appropriate airtight container.


  • Isolate tips.
  • Follow protocols, documenting each step.
  • Modify protocols as necessary and document.
  • Strive for 10 shoot tips per maternal line.


  • After cryopreservation, warm material.
  • Place onto nutrient medium.
  • Take steps to avoid contamination.
  • Acclimatize.


Prior to Collection

  • Review species’ biology and institutional capacity.
  • If possible, use genetic studies to guide collection targets.

While Collecting

  • Follow standard protocols.

Maintaining the Collection

Have a question or info about Exceptional Species Curation?


Suggested Citation

Center for Plant Conservation. Alternatives to Conventional Seed Banking in CPC Best Plant Conservation Practices to Support Species Survival in the Wild. Web Version. Accessed: 12/01/2020 - 3:20am