National genebank was established in 1984. The research activities are carried out according to the FAO standards (1980-1995-2014) for long-term conservation of plant germplasm under controlled conditions.
Three collections are maintained:
- Base collection-long-term conservation of accessions in hermetically closed containers at -18ºC and at 3–7% moisture (depending upon species). Under these conditions the plant germplasm could be preserved with minimal changes over decades or hundred and more years;
- Work collection – consists accessions with temporary registration in the National inventory. The seeds are conserved there for 3-10 years under +6 ºC, 50%RH;
- Collection for free exchange- accessions for free exchange with national and international partners.
In the National Seed Genebank of Bulgaria are preserved above 60 000 seed samples, from them 43 147 are under long-term storage conditions. Base collection is presented from 33 families, 150 genus and 600 plant species.
The specific activity of the established Laboratory to the National Gene Bank includes the following tasks: seed control analysis and preparation of the samples for preservation; monitoring checks of the status of the seed; support of exchange collection and establishing of free exchange; defining the cultivar identity according to the methods ISTA and UPOV.
The collection kept in the National gene bank was published in the electronic catalog on Plant Genetic Resources EURISCO (http://eurisco.ipk-gatersleben.de). The Genebank undertakes non-currency exchange with more than 100 gene banks and botanical gardens in the world and offers its partners in Bulgaria the chance of free exchange of germplasm, registration and free ex situ preservation of plant samples (wild species, local forms, cultivars, selection lines).