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Cost Efficiency of Cryopreservation as a Long-Term Conservation Method for Coffee Genetic Resources


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 49 No. 6, p. 2123-2138
    Received: Dec 29, 2008

    * Corresponding author(s): e.dulloo@cgiar.org
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  1. M. E. Dulloo *a,
  2. A. W. Ebertbi,
  3. S. Dussertc,
  4. E. Gotora,
  5. C. Astorgab,
  6. N. Vasquezb,
  7. J. J. Rakotomalalad,
  8. A. Rabemiafarad,
  9. M. Eirae,
  10. B. Bellachewf,
  11. C. Omondig,
  12. F. Engelmanndc,
  13. F. Anthonyc,
  14. J. Wattsa,
  15. Z. Qamarh and
  16. L. Snooka
  1. a Bioversity International, via dei Tre Denari 472/a, 00057 Maccarese, Rome, Italy
    b Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza, Apartado Postal 01-7170, Turrialba, Cartago, Costa Rica
    i currently at Genetic Resources and Seed Unit, AVRDC- The World Vegetable Center, P.O. Box 42, Shanhua, Tainan, 74199 Taiwan
    c Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, 911 Av. d'Agropolis, BP 64501 F34394, Montpellier, France
    d Centre National de la Recherche Appliquée au Développement Rural, BP. 1690 Ampandrianomby, 101 Antananarivo, Madagascar
    e Embrapa coffee/Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, av W3 Norte, final PqEB, 70770-901 Brasilia DF, Brazil
    f Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture Research, Jimma Agricultural Research Centre, P.O. Box 192 Jimma, Ethiopia
    g Coffee Research Foundation, P.O. Box 4 Ruiru, Kenya
    h Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale Terme di Caracalla, 00100, Rome, Italy


Coffee (Coffea spp.) is one of the world's most valuable agricultural export commodities produced by small-scale farmers. Its germplasm, which holds useful traits for crop improvement, has traditionally been conserved in field genebanks, which presents many challenges for conservation. New techniques of in vitro and cryopreservation have been developed to improve the long-term conservation of coffee. But a question remains as to whether these new techniques are more cost effective than field collections and more efficient at reducing genetic erosion. This study compared the costs of maintaining one of the world's largest coffee field collections with those of establishing a coffee cryo-collection at the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Costa Rica. The results indicate that cryopreservation costs less (in perpetuity per accession) than conservation in field genebanks. A comparative analysis of the costs of both methods showed that the more accessions there are in cryopreservation storage, the lower the per-accession cost. In addition to cost, the study examined the advantages of cryopreservation over field collection and showed that for species that are difficult to conserve using seeds, and that can only be conserved as live plants, cryopreservation may be the method of choice for long-term conservation of genetic diversity.

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