A NEW online seed catalogue has been launched by the Australian Grains Genebank (AGG) to make the seeds that underpin the development of new crop varieties more accessible to researchers.
The genebank, which opened in 2014 as a partnership between the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Victorian Government, is Australia's national resource centre that provides access to grain crop genetic resources to the Australian grains industry.
The creation of the catalogue was to encourage researchers and educators to grow and study in the agricultural industry and can be accessed Australia-wide.
Agriculture Victoria researcher and leader of the AGG Dr Sally Norton said the genebank was dedicated to preserving and making available plant genetic resources of grain crops that are valuable to Australia's research and breeding industries.
"The catalogue will enhance the existing services of the genebank and give registered users all the expected benefits of a searchable database," Dr Norton said.
"It gives people online shopping cart functionality, allowing them to search seed lines and request samples with a few simple mouse clicks."
Dr Norton said the seed catalogue is a Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) database system, which is a common software system used to manage information about seeds and plant tissue globally.
"Through our partnership with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), AGG's ultimate goal is to unlock the genetic potential of plant genetic resources for cereal, oilseed and pulse crops to underpin the development of high yielding, climate resilient crops that will benefit Australian graingrowers," she said.
The AGG currently stores more than 200,000 types of seed covering 1250 species.
The oldest Australian variety in storage is Farrer wheat, from the late 1890s, while the latest addition is a newly-developed variety of oats.
"The new online catalogue will allow interested parties to look up information about our seed stock and request them for research, breeding and training and educational purposes," Dr Norton said.
"Our collection includes both temperate and tropical cereals, legumes, oilseeds and other crop types.
"We also maintain historical information on the seed lines."
The AGG is one of the largest collections of grain crop species globally - including cultivated, landrace and wild relative species of temperate and tropical crops.
They acquire new seed lines, or germplasm, each year by importing from overseas, through deposits from Australian organisations, and through collecting missions targeting crop wild relatives from around Australia.
All germplasm entering the AGG can be stored at subzero temperatures without killing the seed, and can be stored for up to 50 years.
Wild relative species, varieties (cultivars and traditional landraces) and core diversity sets for each crop are stored long-term, while breeding lines and identified genetic duplicates may be stored for the short or medium term.
Under the Genebank cold storage conditions, most seed can survive for more than 50 years or more before losing its ability to grow.
To access the seed catalogue, visit the Australian Grains Genebank landing page on the Agriculture Victoria website.