Sharing knowledge to save more seed
10 May 2018
The inner workings of the Australian Grains Genebank at Horsham were shared with two international scholars last week as a part of an initiative to collect and conserve forest species in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
With support from the Crawford Fund and the Australian Grains Genebank (AGG), researchers Jimmy Frans Wanma and Gibson Sosanika travelled to Victoria for training in developing ex-situ genebanks for seed conservation.
In the two weeks prior to their visit to the AGG, Mr Wanma and Mr Sosanika visited Kakadu in the Northern Territory for training in crop wild relative seed collecting. This part of their trip was supported through the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) Kew Gardens and the Australian Seed Bank Partnership.
Mr Wanma, who is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Papua, Indonesia and Mr Sosanika, who is a researcher at Papua New Guinea University of Technology, undertook the eight-day training course with Australian Grains Genebank leader Dr Sally Norton, and Agriculture Victoria molecular plant breeding research scientist Katherine Whitehouse and collection technical officer Kevin Murray.
Dr Norton said the training was aimed at assisting the international researchers to develop improved programs to conserve the forest species they work with in their home countries for resource management and food security.
"The AGG has implemented best practice into its activities and is well positioned to provide this training to the international participants," Dr Norton said.
While in Horsham Mr Wanma and Mr Sosanika received hands-on experience in setting up seed viability tests, collecting data, assessing data integrity and the management of data in specialised databases. They also studied of the principals of post-harvest seed threshing and cleaning, and the preparation of seeds for long-term storage, which was complemented with practical experience.
Mr Sosanika said the training had provided him with an applied understanding of genebank practices based on international genebank standards.
"We hope to share our new skills and knowledge with colleagues when we get home, resulting in improved conservation of forestry species in both Papua, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea," he said.
Dr Norton said the training had resulted in strengthened connections."This has the potential to improve the exchange of germplasm and data and develop opportunities for collaborative research to more effectively use and conserve germplasm," she said.
Contact Name: Justine Severin
Contact Number: 0436 674 804
Categorised under: Forestry,Agriculture