Bioversity International

International Musa Germplasm Transit Centre

The International Musa Germplasm Transit Centre (ITC) is hosted at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and is home to the world’s largest collection of banana diversity.

The Bioversity International Musa Germplasm Transit Centre (ITC) is home to the world’s largest collection of banana germplasm. The collection contains more than 1,500 accessions of edible and wild species of banana and is hosted at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven). Photo: Michael Major/Crop Trust

The collection includes more than 1,500 accessions of cultivated and wild species of banana. The accessions are kept in vitro under slow growth conditions at 16°C. For security, samples are frozen in liquid nitrogen at –196°C. Such cryopreserved material can be conserved indefinitely and revived into full banana plants as needed. In addition, this frozen collection is safety duplicated at the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) in Montpellier, France.

The Laboratory of Plant Pathology from Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (Liège University, Belgium) provides virus-indexing and plant health services. Virus negative material is freely available for international distribution upon request from the MGIS website, which holds passport data on all ITC accessions. Samples are accompanied by a health statement, phytosanitary certificate and a copy of the Standard Material Transfer Agreement.

ITC collaborates widely with partners in many locations around the world through the Musa Genetic Resources Network (MusaNet).


Key Staff

Genebank Manager: Bart Panis





Key performance indicators of CGIAR genebanks, 2012-2021

HINT: Use the search key to filter the data. For descriptions of performance indicators, click here.
Indicator 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
1. Total number of accessions 1,455 1,479 1,518 1,544 1,546 1,566 1,617 1,624 1,682
2. Total number of accessions that are currently available 897 897 938 957 980 987 946 988 1,033
3. Number of seed accessions 0 0 0 0 0 0
4. Number of vegetatively-propagated accessions 1,455 1,479 1,518 1,544 1,546 1,566 1,617 1,624 1,682
5. Number of live plant accessions 0 0 0 0 0
6. Number of seed accessions held in long-term storage and safety duplicated at two levels 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
7. Number of vegetatively-propagated accessions in cryopreservation or safety duplicated as in vitro 801 801 801 924 921 1,079 1,053 1,053 1,517
8. Number of wild species accessions 181 180 171 175 179

Genebank operations, 2012-2021

HINT: Use the search key to filter the data
Indicator 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
1. Number of accessions with passport & characterization data available . . . . . . . 1,600 1,621 1,642
2. Number accessions received 30 43 22 5 20 66 25 34 45 0
3. Number accessions regenerated 3 0 20 46 27 17 65 84 0 52
4. Number accessions multiplied 1,209 1,226 1,184 1,361 1,213 1,175 1,208 3,742 0 2,526
5. Number accessions health tested 17 78 0 0 40 44 27 32 66 85
6. Number accessions cleaned 20 9 5 2 0 77 23 67 0 37
7. Number accessions viability tested 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Number of samples distributed to users within and outside the CGIAR, 2012-2021

HINT: Use the search key to filter the data. For descriptions of performance indicators, click here.
Indicator 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
1. Total number external germplasm requests 68 66 37 51 49 43 33 46 28
2. Number of samples distributed within the CGIAR 177 61 118 0 67 11 29 92 0
3. Number of samples distributed outside the CGIAR 1,009 644 1,032 860 551 445 553 304 530
4. Total number of samples distributed 1,186 705 1,150 860 618 456 582 396 530
5. Number of accessions distributed within the CGIAR 177 61 118 0 64 11 29 91 0
6. Number of accessions distributed outside the CGIAR 532 431 693 617 537 438 515 299 525
7. Total number of accessions distributed 709 492 811 617 601 449 544 390 525
8. Total number of accessions distributed outside the CGIAR with SMTA 537 438 515 299 525
9. Total number of unique accessions distributed outside the CGIAR with SMTA 405 348 515 299 525

Genebank Platform publications, 2017-2020

Recent publications with at least one CGIAR genebank staff as author. HINT: Use the search key to filter the data.
Authors Article title Publication name URL
Sinnesael, A., Eeckhout, S., Janssens, S., Smets,E., Panis, B., Verstraete, B. Detection of Burkholderia in the seeds of Psychotria punctata (Rubiaceae) – Microscopic evidence for vertical transmission in the leaf nodule symbiosis. PLoS One READ
Ellis, D., Escobar, R., Gueye, B., Panis, B., Vollmer, R., Popova, E. Cryobanking clonal crops: When knowledge and practice are not the same. Cryobiology, Abstracts of CRYO2018 READ
Němečková, A., Christelová, P., Čížková, J., Nyine, M., Van den houwe, I., Svačina, R., Uwimana, B., Swennen, R., Doležel, J. and Hribová, E. Molecular and cytogenetic study of east African highland banana. Frontiers of Plant Science READ
Sardos, J., Christelová, P., Čížková, J., Paofa, J., Sachter-Smith, G. L., Janssens, S. B., Rauka, G. , Ruas, M. , Daniells, J. W.,Doležel, J.,Roux, N. Collection of new diversity of wild and cultivated bananas (Musa spp.) in the autonomous region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution READ
Rouard, M., Droc, G., Martin, G., Hueber, Y., Sardos, J., Guignon, V., Cenci, A., Geigle, B., Hibbins, M., Yahiaoui, N., Baurens, F., Berry, V., Hahn, M., D’Hont, A., Roux, N.  Three new genome assemblies support a rapid radiation in Musa acuminata (wild banana). Genome Biology and Evolution READ
Halewood, M., Lopez Noriega, I., Ellis, D., Roa, C., Rouard, M., Sackville Hamilton, R. Using genomic sequence information to increase conservation and sustainable use of crop diversity and benefit-sharing. Biopreservation and Biobanking READ
Max Ruas, V. Guignon, G. Sempere, J. Sardos, Y. Hueber, H. Duvergey, A. Andrieu, R. Chase, C. Jenny, T. Hazekamp, B. Irish, K. Jelali, J. Adeka, T. Ayala-Silva, C.P. Chao, J. Daniells, B. Dowiya, B. Effa effa, L. Gueco, L. Herradura, L. Ibobondji, E. Kempenaers, J. Kilangi, S. Muhangi, P. Ngo Xuan, J. Paofa, C. Pavis, D. Thiemele, C. Tossou, J. Sandoval, A. Sutanto, G. Vangu Paka, G. Yi, I. Van den houwe, N. Roux, M. Rouard MGIS: managing banana (Musa spp.) genetic resources information and high-throughput genotyping data. Database READ
Al-Idrus, A., Carpentier, S.C., Ahmad, M.T., Panis, B., Mohamed, Z. Elucidation of the compatible interaction between banana and Meloidogyne incognita via high-throughput proteome profiling. PLoS ONE READ
De Clerck, C., Crew, K., Van den houwe, I., McMichael, L., Berhal, C., Lassois, L., Haissam Jijakli, M., Roux, N., Thomas, J. and Massart, S. Lessons learned from the virus indexing of Musa germplasm: insights from a multiyear collaboration. Annals of Applied Biology READ
Bawin, Yves; Panis, Bartholomeus; Vanden Abeele, Samuel; Li, Zhiying; Sardos, Julie; Paofa, Janet; Ge, Xue-Jun; Mertens, Arne; Honnay, Olivier; Janssens, Steven Genetic diversity and core subset selection in ex situ seed collections of the banana crop wild relative Musa balbisiana Plant Genetic Resources READ
Alberto Cenci , Yann Hueber, Yasmin Zorrilla-Fontanesi, Jelle van Wesemael, Ewaut Kissel, Marie Gislard, Julie Sardos, Rony Swennen, Nicolas Roux, Sebastien Christian Carpentier and Mathieu Rouard Effect of paleopolyploidy and allopolyploidy on gene expression in banana BMC Genomics READ
Yaw Nti-Addae, Dave Matthews, Victor Jun Ulat, Raza Syed, Guilhem Sempéré, Adrien Pétel, Jon Renner, Pierre Larmande, Valentin Guignon, Elizabeth Jones, Kelly Robbins Benchmarking database systems for Genomic Selection implementation Database READ
Hammond, Stacy Denise Hammond; Viehmannova, Iva; Zamecnik, Jiri; Panis, Bart; Cepkova, Petra Hlasna Efficient slow-growth conservation and assessment of clonal fidelity of Ullucus tuberosus Caldas microshoots Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture READ
Prudente, Debora de Oliveira; Paiva, Renato; Domiciano, Debora; de Souza, Lucas Batista; Carpentier, Sebastien; Swennen, Rony; Silva, Luciano Coutinho; Nery, Fernanda Carlota; Flausino Maximo, Wesley Pires; Panis, Bart The cryoprotectant PVS2 plays a crucial role in germinating Passiflora ligularis embryos after cryopreservation by influencing the mobilization of lipids and the antioxidant metabolism Journal of Plant Physiology READ
Sinnesael, Arne; Leroux, Olivier; Janssens, Steven B.; Smets, Eric; Panis, Bart; Verstraete, Brecht Is the bacterial leaf nodule symbiosis obligate for Psychotria umbellata? The development of a Burkholderia-free host plant PLoS One READ
Panis, B. Sixty years of plant cryopreservation: From freezing Hardy mulberry twigs to establishing reference crop collections for future generations Acta Horticulturae READ
 Wilms H, Rhee JH, Rivera RL, Longin K, Panis B Developing coconut cryopreservation protocols and establishing cryo-genebank at RDA; a collaborative project between RDA and Bioversity International Acta Horticulturae READ
Folgado R, Panis B Cryopreservation of Ashe magnolia shoot-tips by droplet-vitrification Acta Horticulturae READ
Panis, B. Crop Cryopreservation For Ensuring Food Security; Realizations And Challenges Cryobiology READ
Margit Drapal, Elisabete Barros de Carvalho, Mathieu Rouard, Delphine Amah, Julie Sardos, Ines Van den Houwe, Allan Brown, Nicolas Roux, Paul D. Fraser Metabolite profiling characterises chemotypes of Musa diploids and triploids at juvenile and pre-flowering growth stages Scientific Reports READ
Wang, M.; Lambardi, M.; Engelmann, F.; Pathirana, R.; Panis, B.; Volk, G.M.; Wang, Q. Advances in cryopreservation of in vitro-derived propagules: technologies and explant sources. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture READ
Panis, B.; Nagel, M.; Van den houwe, I. Challenges and prospects for the conservation of crop genetic resources in field genebanks, in In Vitro collections and/or in liquid nitrogen.  Plants READ
Kehel Z, Sanchez-Garcia M, El Baouchi A, Aberkane H, Tsivelikas A, Charles C & Amri A Characterization for Seed Morphometric Traits for Genebank Accessions Using Genomic Selection. Front. Ecol. Evol. 8:32. Front. Ecol. Evol READ
Li, W.; Dita, M.; Rouard, M.; Wu, W.; Roux, N.; Xie, J.H.; Ge, X.J. Deep RNA-seq analysis reveals key responding aspects of wild banana relative resistance to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense tropical race 4. Functional and Integrative Genomics READ
Wilms, H.; Fanega Sleziak, N.; Van der Auweraer, M.; Brands, M.; Verleije, M.; Hardeman, D.; Andre, E.; Panis, B. Development of a fast and user-friendly cryopreservation protocol for sweet potato genetic resources. Scientific Reports READ
De Kort, H.; Panis, B.; Deforce, D.; Van Nieuwerburgh, F.; Honnay, O. Ecological divergence of wild strawberry DNA methylation patterns at distinct spatial scales Molecular Ecology READ
Eyland, D.; Breton, C.; Sardos, J.; Kallow, S.; Panis, B.; Swennen, R.; Paofa, J.; Tardieu, F.; Welcker, C.; Janssens, S.B.; Carpentier, S.C. Filling the gaps in gene banks: collecting, characterizing and phenotyping wild banana relatives of Papua New Guinea Crop Science READ
Guignon, V.; Toure, A.; Droc, G.; Dufayard, J-F.; Conte, M.; Rouard, M. GreenPhylDB v5: a comparative pangenomic database for plant genomes Nucleic Acids Research READ
Price, E.J.; Drapal, M.; Perez‐Fons, L.; Amah, D.; Bhattacharjee, R.; Heider, B.; Rouard, M.; Swennen, R.; Becerra Lopez‐Lavalle, L.A.; Fraser, P.D. Metabolite database for root, tuber and banana crops to facilitate modern breeding in understudied crops. The Plant Journal READ
Tin, Huynh Quang, Nguyen Huu Loi, Sandy Jan E. Labarosa, Kenneth L. McNally, Susan McCouch, & Benjamin Kilian Phenotypic response of farmer-selected CWR-derived rice lines to salt stress in the Mekong Delta Crop Science READ
De Kort, H.; Panis, B.; Helsen, K.; Douzet, R; Janssens, S.B.; Honnay, O. Pre-adaptation to climate change through topography-driven phenotypic plasticity Journal of Ecology READ
Van Den Houwe, I.; Chase, R.; Sardos, J.; Ruas, M.; Kempenaers, E.; Guignon, V.; Massart, S.; Carpentier, S.; Panis, B.; Rouard, M.; Roux, N. Safeguarding and using global banana diversity: a holistic approach.  CABI Agriculture and Bioscience  READ
Zorrilla-Fontanesi, Y.; Pauwels, L.; Panis, B.; Signorelli, S.; Vanderschuren, H.; Swennen R. Strategies to revise agrosystems and breeding to control Fusarium wilt of banana Nature Food READ
Cenci, A.; Sardos, J.; Hueber, Y.; Martin, G.; Breton, C.; Roux, N.; Swennen, R.; Carpentier, S.C.; Rouard, M. Unravelling the complex story of intergenomic recombination in ABB allotriploid bananas. Annals of Botany READ



In Vitro tubes containing banana at Bioversity International
In vitro tubes containing banana at Bioversity International. Credit: Shawn Landersz