Collecting Activity
Brief report of our collecting activity

Collection sector of Suceava Genebank has two different domains:

  • collection of plant genetic resources for completion and diversification of seeds collection
  • collection of plant genetic resources for herbarium (completion and systematization of herbarium collection)

Suceava Genebank keeps in collections a number of 439 plant species, classified in the following culture categories: cereals, legumes, forage grasses, forage legumes, vegetables, roots and tuber roots, industrial plants, medicinal and aromatic plants, ornamental plants. Making of collections had in 1990, at establishment of Suceava Plant Genetic Resources Bank, as the main source, the genetic material stored in Suceava Agricultural Station, the core collection being represented by the maize germplasm. At the beginning of our activity, we continued to acquisition plant genetic resources from collections of various institutions/agricultural stations in Romania, in order to improve inter and intraspecific diversity at the main crops with importance for national agriculture. In parallel, we held an intense collecting activity, almost every year being organized collecting expeditions, with medium or short term, most part of the country being systematically explored. Then, collection priorities have changed over time, so if initially we were collected, only local populations of grains, legumes and potatoes, in the last years, collecting a great variety of vegetable species, and some groups of medicinal plants, herbs, fodder and ornamental, has been the object of our collecting expeditions. In recent years, was initiated the acquisition of genetic material from priority species, established depending on the objectives of collecting/ acquisition.

Acquisition of plant genetic resources is based on Annual Research and Development Program of PGR. In developing of the program, we taking account of projects with collecting activity, with funds from external or internal sources, other than current operating budget of the institution.

Acquisition is most efficient when:

  • a sufficient quantity of sample is available for germination and viability tests
  • a substantial part of the sample can be stored for medium and long term conservation in order to prevent loss of endangered species or to fill gaps on the geographical distribution of the species existing in collections, but with a number of samples relatively small
  • another part may be used in educational interest, in some ecological studies, genetic or botanical or by internal and external users for research purposes
  • also a small part of the sample can be available for immediate use - in breeding programs or for reintroducing in culture of traditional varieties by farmers.

The methods used for the acquisition of new germplasm are:

  • by direct collection - organizing and exploring of own collecting missions. Here we distinguish the following types of collecting missions:
    • collecting missions organized in Romania;
    • collecting missions abroad, which are the subjects of bilateral or international projects.
  • acquisition of biological material from the collections of various entities (institutes/agricultural stations, botanical gardens, etc.), which working with plant germplasm;
  • exchange of germplasm or request of genetic material from the similar units abroad. Applications are made by consulting online databases of various gene banks worldwide, and the selection criteria is the origin of samples, priority given to the material with Romanian origin or from geographical areas in similar terms pedo-climatic, with our country.

Of all, the main source of genetic material is the collecting missions, which are focused on traditional varieties or local populations, old varieties, removed from the culture, forms which are the most threatened by genetic erosion, and also crop wild relatives.

Collecting/acquisition of genetic material is always accompanied by dialogues with local people, owners of agricultural land, which preserves traditional cultivars, trying to get as much information relating to collected samples and pedo - climatic conditions of ecological areas, also socio - economic conditions existing at households in isolated communities, these information being included in “on farm” descriptors.

Suceava Genebank has currently a collection of about 18.400 samples, as a result of a collecting activity for almost 25 years. From these, a number of 7.867 samples representing 253 species were collected in the collecting missions organized by our institution in about 1.034 localities from our country.

Year by year, we enlarged the activity, and so far we succeeded to explore ecological zones more geographical isolated, with a rich biodiversity and a high concentration of local varieties from 38 counties and to collect a highly diversified research material from cultivated and wild flora.

As a result of collecting activity, firstly we succeeded collecting of significant local and traditional varieties, because some farmers still preserve genetic variability of these local populations, by permanent cultivation and their uses, also identification of geographical areas with plant genetic resources of high biological interest, and secondly we focused on mediatization of traditional cultivars importance in conservation and sustainable use of agro – ecosystems, and strengthening the role of local communities for using and promoting these traditional forms.

Photos from Collecting Section

Number of samples collected by Suceava Genebank for the main culture categories:
Culture categoryNo. of samples
Cereals 2880
Legumes 2975
Vegetables 928
Roots and tuber roots 322
Medicinals 144
Industrials 69
Aromatics 62
Wild relatives 40
Ornamentals 17

We collect, study and preserve plant genetic diversity for present and future utilization.