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seed banks

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michelle tang

on 23 January 2014

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Transcript of seed banks

Located deep inside a mountain...
on an island between Norway and the North Pole...
is the
Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
so what's the
In the past century, our crop diversity has plunged alarmingly in numbers.
If a blight or disease were to spread, then many of our crops would die. A famine like the Irish Potato Blight of 1845 will most likely occur on a mass scale.
On the other hand, agricultural diversity would secure human nourishment.
Because of this trend, farmers began to plant crops that are genetically similar, and have become our stereotypical image of that species (for example, yellow corn).
Whose fault is this?
Consumers tend to buy produce that are aesthetically attractive in appearance and not to mention low in nutrients (compared to the other varieties of the species).
Those of us in developed countries have diets based on only common foods with only a certain number of variations of the same crop.
This has caused us to be dependent on certain types of food. We would not be even able to eat other things- our bodies can only rely on the foods we're familiar with.
There were 307 varieties of sweet corn in 1903. In 1983, only 12 were found in the National Seed Storage Laboratory.
The Svalbard
(from National Geographic)
They are one of our ex situ conservation methods for plants.
The purposes of these seed banks are...
To regenerate certain crops that have started to decline in numbers,
to expand their database on the seeds; gathering information on certain seeds,
and to conduct experiments on certain plants for research purposes.
What can we do?
We can donate to organizations such as the Global Crop Diversity Trust,
the KEW Millennium Seed Bank Project and the...
We can be more open minded when buying foods.
Buying more varieties of foods may be more of a hassle, but the benefits are great.
Or you can even preserve your own seeds!
Reduce the moisture content of the seeds
Clean the seed samples of any debris that may have come with it during the collection process
X-Ray a sample of seeds to make sure that they are indeed healthy and alive
Then place them in an air tight container; locking moisture out
Then place them in a refrigerated area
Preserving seeds is like how the Native Americans dried their meat in for the winter; we're preparing for the times ahead.
All that we have now, isn't going to last forever.
Full transcript