Posted by: Dave DeWitt on Jul 15, 2010
Several varieties of chile pepper seeds, including 'Wenk's Yellow Hots', 'Pico de Gallo', and the "unpredictably hot" 'San Juan Tsiles' have arrived at the so-called "doomsday vault" at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen near the town of Longyearbyen in the remote Arctic. Svalbard has what scientists describe as the most diverse repository of crop seeds and is a safeguard against war, natural disasters, or diseases that could wipe out food crops. More likely, it will be frequently accessed when genebanks lose samples due to mismanagement, accident, equipment failures, or funding cuts. The seeds are stored in four-ply sealed envelopes, then placed into plastic tote containers on metal shelving racks. The storage rooms are kept at −18 degrees C. (-0.4 F). The low temperature and limited access to oxygen will ensure low metabolic activity and delay seed aging. The permafrost surrounding the facility will help maintain the low temperature of the seeds if the electricity supply should fail.