The term germplasm bank or seed bank refers to the structure where collections of animal or plant genetic materials are kept (with their species, varieties or genotypes in general).
When it comes to plants, seeds are stored in cold rooms under controlled environmental conditions in the germplasm bank or whole plants preserved in the field or even tissues preserved in vitro.
In the case of animal species, these are often purity maintenance or seed conservation structures.
In the common sense, the term also indicates an association or entity that acts through the exchange of seeds with other seed banks, that is, other entities, and sometimes participates in projects that go to select and safeguard the species in situ. This definition covers only a part of the activities of the seed banks, although they are important for many banks and sometimes these are primary activities, as for example in the cases of Italian banks linked to historical institutions such as botanical gardens and universities or as in the cases of associations of the third sector.
In general, the Germplasm Bank has the objective of conserving both natural and agricultural biodiversity.