As part of Darwin Initiative grant (18-010) to support the sustainable harvesting of Brosimum alicastrum we were very fortunate in working with a team from the Millennium Seed Bank of RBG Kew. Anaíte López from the Instituto Nacional de Bosques in Guatemala spent one month at the Seed Bank working with Tim Marks, Wolfgang Stuppy and Louise Colville under the guidance of Hugh Pritchard, the head of seed research. Brosimum alicastrum is difficult to store and this has had an affect on its use in reforestation in Central America. The team at the Seed Bank undertook a range of experiments to identify the optimal conditions for storage. The research involved several new and exciting findings which we are in the process of publishing. Fortunately it also identified conditions which support storage for up to a year.
Optimal storage conditions consist of maintaining seed at 15°C and upper limit of humidity of 75% RH. Surprisingly humidity can be much lower without impacting on seed viability. Storage at 15°C prevents most of the in-storage germination seen at higher temperatures, and the chill damage occurring at 10°C or below, where subsequent electrolyte leakage encourages fungal damage during germination phase.