RBG Kew houses one of the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world, containing over 8.5 million items and representing 95% of the world’s vascular plant genera and 60% of fungal genera.
The strength of Kew’s collections lies not only in their extraordinary breadth and depth, but also in the unique suite of collections, the synergy between them, and the high quality of curation. These collections include the Herbarium, with over seven million specimens, the largest Fungarium in the world, with over 1.25 million specimens, the world’s most diverse wild plant DNA and tissue bank, the largest Economic Botany collection, an extensive botanical microscope slide collection, an in vitro collection, and the world’s only global wild seed bank such as the International Plant Name Index, The Plant List, Index Fungorum and Species Fungorum.
RBG Kew’s living collections comprises of 68,000 accessions of living plants, covering 22,000 taxa.
RBG Kew manages extensive laboratory facilities, which include equipment that facilitates cutting-edge research and analysis across a wide – range of research disciplines (see infrastructure services on offer).
RBG Kew’s laboratory facilities are extensive and include bioimaging, molecular biology, small molecule analysis, in-vitro biology and seed biology laboratories.
The bioimaging and flow cytometry facilities provide access to light, fluorescence, phase contrast, differential interference contrast, polarisation, field emission scanning with x-ray microanalysis and transmission electron microscopes, and flow cytometers for genome size estimations. Microscopy preparation equipment includes a laser micro-dissection system, a high pressure cryo-freezer and freeze substitution system, cryo and standard ultramicrotomes.
The molecular biology laboratories provide facilities for the extraction of DNA and RNA from plant and fungal samples. Equipment is available for performing Sanger sequencing and DNA microsatellite techniques, and these can be analysed using Geneious and Genemapper software. Next Generation Sequencing techniques can also be performed and optimised on the in-house MiSeq platform.
A laboratory for small molecule analysis is equipped with instrumentation for isolation and analysis of secondary metabolites from plants and fungi, and metabolomics studies. Analytical instruments include high- and low resolution LC-MS/MS, ambient ionisation MS, HPLC, GC-MS, NMR (400 MHz) and FT-NIR. The GC-MS is additionally capable of direct thermal desorption analysis and the high resolution LC-MS can be converted to direct nanoflow infusion/ionisation for shotgun metabolomics/lipidomics.
The In-vitro laboratory facilities provide all the equipment required for micropropagation techniques, including the use of temporary immersion systems for multiplication in liquid culture and photoautotrophic micropropagation using CO2 enrichment.
At the Wakehurst site there is access to seed processing laboratories (incl. X-ray analysis equipment), initial drying room, and 2 ripening rooms, a germination laboratory with 10 stereoscopes and dust controlled work stations, and seed research laboratories. The seed storage currently comprises six cold rooms at -20°c accessed from a large final drying room.
RBG Kew Library, Art and Archives contains 300,000 Printed books, journals and pamphlets covering a global range of plant and fungal science, as well as horticultural history. There are c. 4,600 archive collections comprising of around 7,000,000 sheets comprising of unpublished material, as well as correspondence, field notebooks and photograph albums, records of plans received at Kew and sent from Kew, maps, and plans tracing the development of the Gardens. There is also an art collection of over 200,000 prints, paintings, and drawings.
Alan Paton, A.Paton@kew.org
Alan Paton, email@example.com