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Saving for future growth

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-04-23


An aerial photo shows a worker harvesting seed pods from the forage grass plantation on March 23. ZHANG MAO/FOR CHINA DAILY

On March 23, researchers at the National Tropical Forage Grass Midterm Seed Bank in Danzhou, Hainan province, were busy working. They dried tropical forage seeds collected from the bank's plantation in the sun and then peeled them, weighed them, measured how many had germinated and placed them in packs that were then vacuum sealed.

Then those seeds, having gone through dozens of treatment processes, were moved from the open drying grounds to indoor laboratories in the seed bank. There, stored in rooms with a constant temperature of -4C, they will remain dormant until they are reintroduced into the wild in the future.

According to the institution, it has collected 14,673 sacks of seeds belonging to 759 species of 280 genera in 29 families, and it has already put 9,980 sacks of seeds of 623 species of 245 genera in 16 families into cold storage. The seeds have been harvested by the researchers for nearly 30 years.

The collection of tropical forage seeds saved in the bank is the largest in the country and second-largest in the world.


Worker Bai Changfu displays seed pods he harvested from the bank's forage grass plantation on March 23. ZHANG MAO/FOR CHINA DAILY


Bai, who has worked in the plantation for more than 20 years, and his wife Fu Jinke dry bags of seed pods on bamboo trays. ZHANG MAO/FOR CHINA DAILY


A worker uses a sieve to get rid of shucks, shells and leaves mixed with the seeds. ZHANG MAO/FOR CHINA DAILY


Technicians count seeds at a laboratory at the seed bank. ZHANG MAO/FOR CHINA DAILY


A researcher checks the serial number on a bag of seeds in a storeroom with a constant temperature of -4C. ZHANG MAO/FOR CHINA DAILY


At a nursery of the National Tropical Forage Grass Mid-term Seed Bank in Danzhou, Hainan province, plants from a foreign country grow in pots and wait for researchers to estimate their adaptability to the island. ZHANG MAO/FOR CHINA DAILY


Researcher Liu Guodao checks the condition of seedlings at the nursery. ZHANG MAO/FOR CHINA DAILY