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International Transit Center (ITC)

Contact details

Station Contact
International Transit Center (ITC), Belgium
Bioversity International Transit Center
c/o KU Leuven
Division of Crop Biotechnics - Laboratory of Tropical Crop Improvement
Willem de Croylaan 42 box 2455 
BE3001 Heverlee    
c/o KU Leuven
Division of Crop Biotechnics - Laboratory of Tropical Crop Improvement
Willem de Croylaan 42 box 2455 
BE3001 Heverlee    
Email: i.vandenhouwe(at)
Telephone: (+32) 16 32 14 17



Collection/Accession information

Role of collection: Global collection (updated July 2015)

Type of materials Number of accessions
Tissue culture /
In vitro
Greenhouse / Nursury Cryo
Total number of accessions

Wild taxa

Breeding lines
Other types

Additional notes about this collection

The material has been assembled through donations from other (field) gene banks, breeding programmes and through collecting expeditions that INIBAP organized with members of the network, with the aim of setting up a safety back-up system for these genetic resources. 

The collection was also set up as part of a system for easy and safe exchange of germplasm; being maintained in vitro, located in a non-banana growing country and linked up virus indexing facilities, the collection functions as a international germplasm distribution center. 

In 1994 the ITC collection became an FAO ‘in trust’ collection’ for which Bioversity has the commitment to ensure the long term storage of holdings and provide unrestricted access by the Musa community.  Since 2006 the collection is part of the multilateral system of the ITPGRFA and germplasm exchanges occur in accordance with the SMT A of the IT.

The ITC collection covers the widest range of cultivated species from a wide range of geographic areas in particular plantains originating from West and Central Africa, Highland bananas from East Africa, cultivated and wild forms collected in PNG. The collection also holds representatives of a wide range of wild species.

Obtaining material from this collection

Germplasm held in the ITC genebank that has been indexed virus negative is freely available for international distribution upon request. Click here to view a list of all available germplasm.

Germplasm is distributed under the terms and conditions of a Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) of the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit Sharing of the International Treaty (PDFs: English, French, Spanish) on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. As from 1 February 2008, the SMTA is being used for transferring all plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, whether or not they are included in Annex 1 of the Treaty. Additional Conditions to the SMTA may apply for the distribution of Material under Development (breeding materials acquired by Bioversity International from Crop Improvement Programmes worldwide).

You can download the pdf-files of the SMTA and Additional Conditions to the SMTA here:
SMTA English (0.2MB), SMTA French (0.2MB), SMTA Spanish (0.2MB), SMTA in other languages - Additional conditions (0.1MB)

If you agree to the terms and conditions set out in the agreement, please contact the ITC to request the germplasm of your interest. Kindly provide the following information: name and address of the recipient or receiving institution, name and contact information of the authorized official, and list of germplasm you wish to receive. Also, provide a brief summary of the intended use of the plant genetic resources.

The ITC will send you an order form and the SMTA for signature. You also will be requested to provide the ITC an import permit obtained from the Plant Protection Service of the receiving country, if required. Upon receipt of the signed SMTA and the import permit, the ITC will process your order. The plant material will be provided as in-vitro rooted plantlets for soil planting or as proliferating shoot clusters for further in-vitro propagation. Usually five samples per accession are supplied. For a wide range of accessions, lyophilized leaf tissues are also available in order to respond to requests for DNA. Delivery time depends on the type of plant material requested and ranges between 2 and 4 months for in-vitro cultures and is about 2 weeks for lyophilized leaf tissues. The material will be accompanied by a health statement, phytosanitary certificate and a copy of the SMTA.

For requests or more information on how to obtain material from the international Musa germplasm collection, please go to MGIS.

Sending material to this collection

Most accessions acquired by the genebank are held in trust for the benefit of humanity. They are conserved under the conditions of an agreement signed between Bioversity and the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA), placing these materials in the Multilaterial System of Access and Benefit Sharing.

If you would like to send germplasm to the ITC for the purpose of safety duplication and to share it with the Musa research community or other interested parties, please contact the ITC or Bioversity.

For more information

Visit the Musa Germplasm Information System (MGIS) at