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Author: ABC
Source: ABC
Date: 11 October, 2013

It is hoped thousands of Australian native plants under threat of extinction can be preserved forever in a high-tech frozen archive.

About half the world’s plant species are estimated to be under threat of extinction, and Australia is home to 14 per cent of them.

It is now hoped a cryogenic storage unit can protect Australia’s native plants forever.

The Australian PlantBank is being opened today at the Mount Annan Botanic Gardens in Sydney’s south-west.

New South Wales Environment Minister Robyn Parker says the $19.8 million facility will store frozen samples of native plants into perpetuity.

“We want to protect and keep these plants cryogenically, so that in the future scientists may be able to use them to grow other plants and produce perhaps the food of the future,” she said.

She says it is important threatened plants are preserved for future use.

“We want to make sure that the 14 per cent of those plant species in danger of becoming extinct are preserved,” she said.

The bank will eventually store and conserve all of Australia’s 25 000 plant species.

It will preserve native tissue by freezing it with liquid nitrogen so it can be used for research and regeneration.

The facility was opened today by the New South Wales Governor, Professor Marie Bashir.

“This is a wonderful occasion, because we’re celebrating a visionary project,” she said.

The Australian Plant bank will also be used as an education centre for school students and other visitors.

It opens to the public tomorrow.

Read the article at the ABC