Cryopreservation lab of the Federal Ex Situ Genebank for agricultural and horticultural plants at the Leibniz Institute (IPK), Germany. Photo: © Leibniz Institut (IPK)

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Working Group activities and related events

August 2022
Miloš Faltus (Czech Republic) and Bart Panis (Belgium) were appointed as co-chairs of the Cryopreservation Working Group. For more information, read the Letter of appointment (320,3 KB).

February 2022
The ECPGR Working Group on Cryopreservation was established.

Background information

According to the independent expert Feasibility Study for a Safety Back-Up Cryopreservation Facility commissioned to investigate and provide recommendations for the long-term secure conservation of recalcitrant seed and clonal crops, eight research institutes in seven European countries apply cryopreservation as a routine method to conserve their crop genetic resources. These include crops grown in Europe such as apple, citrus, garlic, grape, mint, hops, potato and strawberry, as well as tropical crops important for the European markets such as coffee and banana. Currently, about 4,500 accessions are cryopreserved in Europe, almost half of the world’s cryopreserved accessions. Nevertheless, many thousands of accessions remain at risk. 
The Cryopreservation Working Group objectives include:

  • Document the status of cryopreservation and the presence of long-term storage facilities as well as of experienced cryopreservation researchers in Europe
  • Ensure that plant cryopreservation research in Europe is maintained at a critical mass to enable continuing advances in the science 
  • Ensure that European crop collections conserving species with non-orthodox seeds have access to cryopreservation technologies in order to store their germplasm safely for future generations
  • Investigate the possibility for cryopreserving orthodox seed collections with a focus on species with short-lived seeds including many vegetables such as leeks, onions and parsley 
  • Explore the application of cryopreservation to crop wild relatives or wild species and trees
  • Increase collaboration between European scientists and institutes holding crop collections to establish a European Cryo Hub
  • Create one or more cryopreservation backup facilities 
  • Develop new biobank technologies and data management systems for cryopreserved collections.

Related Information

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