Cryopreservation

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Abstract

Cryopreservation is employed for long-term conservation of plant biodiversity including species with recalcitrant and intermediate seeds, vegetatively propagated plants, rare and endangered species and biotechnology products. New, vitrification-based cryopreservation techniques have been developed over the last 20 years, which allow cryopreserving a large range of plant species, both from temperate and tropical origin. Cryopreservation is much more advanced for vegetatively propagated plant species than for recalcitrant and intermediate seed species. Only a limited number of examples of large scale, routine application of cryopreservation is found in the case of tropical plant species, including coffee, cocoa, Musa and cassava. Fundamental research aiming at improving our understanding of physical and biological mechanisms related to tolerance of plants to dehydration and cryopreservation is carried out by an increasing number of research groups worldwide. It is hoped that this will allow cryopreservation to become more broadly applied for long-term conservation of biodiversity of tropical plant species.