Svalbard Global Seed Vault safeguards Strawberry and watermelon seeds for future

In total, five genebanks sent almost 6 500 accessions for the February deposit at Svalbard Global Seed Vault  

Source: public domain(

Source: public domain(

 FAO’s International Year of Fruits and Vegetables is being recognized all around the globe—including at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. As NordGen staff went to the Seed Vault for the first time this year, seeds from watermelon, strawberry and pumpkin were safeguarded for the future. NordGen also carried in seeds from several other species from gene banks in Africa, Europe and South Asia.

Strawberries and watermelons may not come to mind when picturing the frozen, barren landscape surrounding the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, but this week, seeds from both those fruits were deposited in the Seed Vault for long-term safekeeping.

 As the first seed chamber is full, NordGen is now carrying seeds into the second chamber of the Seed Vault.In total, five genebanks sent almost 6 500 accessions for the February deposit at Svalbard Global Seed Vault; Africa Rice in Côte d’Ivoire, ICRISAT in India, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) in Germany, SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre in Zambia and the national gene bank in Mali. The Seed Vault safeguards over one million seed samples in total, deposited by almost 90 genebanks over the past 13 years.a

“We want to use a range of methods to ensure we properly conserve the genes of these valuable fruits.The institute completed its second deposit in the Seed Vault this week, safeguarding seeds of wild strawberry.Step by step, we will add to our genebank’s collection in the Seed Vault. So far, we have only a few samples stored there, whereas other genebanks store thousands”, said Monika Höfer, the manager of the JKI’s Institute for Breeding Research on Fruit Crops.

 This deposit also marked a notable first: NordGen Seed Vault Coordinator Åsmund Asdal will put JKI’s seeds into the same box as last year’s deposit to save space for future shipments. This is now possible thanks to an update to the Seed Portal, the database system managed by NordGen which is containing information about the seeds in the Seed Vault and at which shelf they’re stored.



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