Germplasm Database

MG Seed Bank History

Within the frame of the “FAO/IBP Technical Conference” held in Rome (Italy) in 1967, three gene banks had been proposed for establishment: Lund (Sweden) for northern Europe, Braunsweig Folkenrode (Germany) for central Europe and Bari (Italy) for the Mediterranean Region.

In 1969 the Committee for Agricultural Sciences of the Italian National Council of Research approved the creation of the Germplasm Laboratory in Bari after the proposal of Prof. G.T Scarascia-Mugnozza. Thanks to the collaboration with the Faculty of Agruculture of the University of Bari, the Germplasm Laboratory became active starting since 1970.

The different steps of the construction of the Bari seed bank in 1971.
Snapshots of the expeditions in Africa and South America carried out in the past by the personnel of the Institute for seed collection.


Seed and germplasm collection at the MG genebank started in 1971. Thenceforth, more than 120 expeditions have been carried out in southern and eastern Africa, Middle East and the Persian region, and all around the Mediterranean basin. Such explorations resulted in more than 13,000 samples collected that are currently conserved and maintained at the genebank.

Following is a partial report concerning the expeditions organized and carried out in the past by the personnel working at the former Germplasm Istitute (now included in IBBR):

Country Years of expedition
Algeria 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978
Egypt 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982
Ethiopia 1973, 1974
France (Corsica) 2003, 2004
Greece 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980 (mainland) and 2005, 2006 (Crete e Ionian islands)
Libya 1981, 1983
Morocco 1984
Somalia 1980
Spain 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979
RSA/Lesotho 1988
Tunisia 1976, 1977
Italy every year between 1971 and 2015, more recently focusing on “geographic islands” and “etno-cultural islands”

Snapshots from the past

Challenging trails for the explorers collecting new material for the seed bank on steep clay slopes in southern Italy.
A snapshot of an expedition in southern Italy carried out in the past by the personnel of the Institute for seed collection.
Personnel of the Germplasm Institute looking for samples of Brassica macrocarpa at Favignana, Egadi islands (Sicily, Italy).