Submitted to: In Vitro Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2001
Publication Date: August 27, 2001
Technical Abstract: Germplasm repositories collect, maintain, evaluate, and distribute plant materials to interested scientists throughout the world. International shipping of in vitro cultures is often more successful than distribution of other plant forms because the cultures are more likely to comply with quarantine regulations. Seasonal availability of scionwood or rooted cuttings may limit their usefulness for germplasm distribution. Transportation of sterile cultures can be challenging as well. Maintaining sterility within the container, liquefaction of the medium due to shaking or cabin pressure changes during the flights, freezing or overheating, and neglect on shipping docks for extended peiods are a few of the difficulties. The National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, OR distributes 200-500 plant tissue cultures to national and international requestors each year and has developed procedures for distribution that minimize these common problems. Shoot cultures are transported in sealed, semi-permeable plastic bags that are carefully folded and packed in crushproof containers. Sealed tissue-culture bags eliminate the contamination threats posed by air pressure changes or movement of the growth medium into the caps that can be a problem with tubes or jars. Firm medium(7-8 g.L-1 agar), careful folding, and packing of the bags in crushproof boxes with adequate packing materials minimize the shifting of plants and medium in transit. Special attention to weather conditions en route and timely alerting of the recipient prior to arrival date decreases the number of shipments lost due to freezing, overheating, or long delays in customs or quarantine offices. Cultures remain viable for a month or more at room temperature when properly packed & shipped.