William James Beam started the Beal Seed Viability Experiment first. He was an American Botanist who worked at the Michigan State University.
Beal Seed Viability Experiment
- In the year 1879, Beal began one of the longest running experiments in botany. The experiment aims to study how long a weed can stay dormant in agricultural fields.
- The Beal filled 20 bottles with a mixture of seed and sand. Each bottle consisted of 50 seeds from 21 different species. These bottles were buried with their necks pointing down to exclude water.
- The main objective of the experiment was to unearth the bottles every 5 years. And then plant these seeds to observe how many of the seeds sprouted.
- Later, the botanists who continued the experiment extended it to opening the bottle once in 10 years. And now it has been extended to once in twenty years.
- This experiment is still running in the soil of Michigan State University. The study is due to end in the 2100.
- So far, the experiment has run for 142 years.
Findings of the Experiment
In the year 2002, the Beal Seed Viability Experiment founded that some weed seeds are capable of surviving even 100 years if placed in an uncorked bottle with sand buried into soil.
It is a seed bank. It houses samples of more than 1 million (10 lakh) crop varieties from 5000 different species. Around 25 of the world seed varieties are stored in the vault. It is located in the Arctic region in the Island of Spitsbergen.