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Simple Humidity Monitoring Plays Vital Part in Largest Seed Conservation Operation

The Millennium Seed Bank is the largest conservation project of its type with over 50 global partnerships. The united aim is to not just save the world's endangered plant species but also to save species useful to countries like Africa who are prone to environmental adversity. In a conservation project of this magnitude, Tinytag data loggers have a simple but essential role to play. Approximately 25 data loggers in the UK and 50 throughout the global partnerships monitor the ambient temperature and humidity of the seed at the point of collection during transit and at the appropriate centre of seed conservation - the Millennium Seed Bank in Kew being the centre of excellence.

As a world-wide conservation initiative partially funded by governments, data loggers provide an inexpensive back up or even primary source of information to developing countries. Post harvest handling of precious seed collections is a subject very close to the scientists at Kew. The moisture status at the time of collection may be high enough to place them at risk of deterioration through premature ageing or mould growth during transit if not carefully monitored. A safe moisture level is 50% equilibrium Relative Humidity (eRH) and the humidity data monitored by the data logger will provide early indications of the seeds' status and trigger remedial action if needed before and during transit. Data can be downloaded using the Tinytag Explorer software at any point for trends but quite often the data logger display itself is viewed and decisions made accordingly. Back at Kew, the data loggers continue to monitor the ambient temperature and humidity of the seed specimens within a controlled environment, which is in individual sealed glass storage jars.

Tinytag data loggers are used in many environmental and conservation projects due to their ease of use, affordability and accuracy. Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place is particularly important because of the extensive laboratories, its houses and the comprehensive experience of its staff. These scientists are dedicated to the cleaning, storage, germination-testing and study of seed

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