(Télam, CONFIAR – Per Griselda Acuña from the Argentine Network of Scientific Journalists).- Although in Argentina there are several banks that preserve various groups of plant species, both wild and cultivated, in the Germplasm Bank of Tropical and Subtropical Species (Bgctes). Created last December in Corrientes, it already contains more than 800 entries representing around 150 species, and presents unique features in the NEA region.
Eyes on the conservation of biodiversity, Bgctes collections of the Faculty of Agrarian Sciences of the National University of the East (UNNE) and the Institute of Oriental Botany (Ibone), which is a double dependency, UNNE and Conicet. .
The variety of family plants and the joint work of the two institutions make this Bank unique in the country.
“In the first place, there are two different institutions that work for the conservation of biodiversity and in terms of the materials preserved, they are very different, that is, very different families of plants, to which we will surely add new ones. collection materials that will increase the already existing diversity”, noted Graciela Lavia, PhD in Biological Sciences and Conicet researcher at Ibone.
And he continues: “Its final goal is to achieve the conservation of biodiversity in the short, medium or long term, avoiding the loss of genetic diversity due to environmental, physical, biological factors, or as a result of human activities”, he said. in dialogue with Web-Trust.
“In our bank today, most of the material is from the province of Corrientes, but there are also materials from other provinces that have been collected with the necessary permits, because each province has the rights to its genetic resources”, explained the scientist.
Regarding the process of collecting and preserving the germplasm of the plant species, Lavia emphasized strict dryness and hermetic conditions so that the seeds remain viable for longer.
“Each group of plants in our conservation bank has a particular methodology for material collection and conservation,” he said.
“The most common way in which the germplasm is preserved is in the way of refrigerating the seeds. So that they can be preserved as long as possible by collecting them and drying them correctly. All seeds have a percentage of water in their constitution. This should be reduced to a minimum, without losing any strength. This is to say, the less water the seed has, the longer the preservation ” he explained.
When the drying is finished, it is to preserve the condition and is generally done in the most possible hermetic containers, such as aluminum trilaminated envelopes, glass jars with hermetic lids, to avoid rehydration of the material. And according to the material, the preservation is at 5°C, that is, the temperature of the refrigerator for domestic use. Others can be stored in a freezer at -20°C.
And he continues: “Seeds are not all the same and they differ in morphology and physiology. The ideal is the assessment of the material to be preserved in the best conditions, that is, the conditions to be preserved in the seed. A longer term preserving the viability of the same, so that, for example, if the maximum preservation period of the seed is five years , when those years pass and those seeds germinate, we receive a percentage of normal plants equal to the original one”, he defined.
The Germplasm Bank collected specimens several decades ago, more than 800 introductions in seed collections, live collection in greenhouses, in the field and in vitro conditions. It has species of plants from various families, making it a valuable material for botanical diversity and conservation of species of provincial, regional, national and global importance.
“There are 800 entries that represent about 150 different species,” observed Lavia.
Among the species that are conserved in Bgctes are the species of wild and cultivated vegetables: Arachis and Stylosanthes; Grass: Paspalum, Andropogon; varieties of cassava (Manihot esculenta), aguaí (Chrysophyllum gonocarpum) and orchids.
But the one in Corrientes is not the only one: Lavia explained “many germplasm banks in the region of around 20 belong to the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), and they work in various experimental stations and especially dedicated to crops and rural relatives. In addition, many universities and centers research CONICET and other public institutions (national, provincial and municipal) in germplasm banks are more focused on native plants.
The researcher highlighted the importance of developing this type of proposal in the face of constant threats that the flora has suffered. “This plan makes it possible to preserve the species in many threats, such as the degradation of natural habitats, environmental changes, pollution, the expansion of the agricultural frontier, and especially in our region, long droughts or fires”; to return
Likewise, he emphasized the importance of exchanging materials with other institutions “always within the formal framework that is required”.
Other artists from Conicet and UNNE also participated in the Bgctes organizing writing commissions, such as Ricardo Medina, Andrea Brugnoli, María Hidalgo, María Laura Pérez, Paula Alayón Luaces and Alejandra Ortiz.