Plant genetic resources are a link between environment, agriculture and food systems, so their conservation requires cooperation within the different sectors of bio-economy. The existing diversity in local genetic resources is an initial base in crop breeding corresponding with the new challenges such as climate change, plant health and food quality. As a result from the activities of the National Research Program “Healthy foods for a strong bio-economy and quality of life” 63 accessions from different regions of Southern Bulgaria were collected through several collecting missions. Each accession was described by passport data including: taxonomic description under the nomenclature of the GRIN system, date of registration in the collection, donor, ecological and geographical characteristics of the explored area, biological status, etc., according to the International descriptor of FAO/Bioversity. The greatest diversity of old varieties and local forms has been found in the legumes and vegetable crops. The seeds are usually inherited in families or passed between neighbours and they are intended for household or local market. The collected plant materials were evaluated by morphological and agro-biological characteristics. Evaluation data from accessions of bean showed high variability of morphological traits as height of plants, number of pods and seeds per plant. The results obtained from this study will be useful in breeding programs and interspecific crosses, for selection and introduction of desired traits through pre-breeding programs, for research and direct use of farmers.
Keywords: plant genetic resources, expeditions, documentation, evaluation, gene bank conservation.