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(extracted from H. Goldbach 1979)

Construction Details of the new Storage/Drying Unit


Because the available funds did not allow the purchase of a prefabricated room which would meet the program's needs, it was decided to construct the main building by direct labour.

The Unit (see Figures A 3.1 to A 3.5) consists of the following parts:

The joint structure consists of:

The ceiling was poured directly onto the insulation, which was held in place by temporary supports.

All the concrete was kept moist to give a slow drying effect which results in higher strength. Finally, a cement plaster was applied on both sides of the walls.


Cooling and drying equipment

Ancillary Facilities

Short-term storage room (used jointly with the Latin-American Forest Seed Bank)

At Turrialba, seeds obtained from recent collection trips or by introduction, which normally come in very limited quantities, are kept in the so-called short-term Storage Room. It is run at +5°C and at about 30% RH. Seeds are kept in paper bags and maintain their viability, under these conditions, without any significant reduction for between 5 and 10 years.

The chamber (internal dimensions: 4.5 × 5.5 × 2.2 m) is built like the long-term storage room but with less insulation. The cooling equipment consists of a semihermetic-type 3 HP compressor, a 10400 BTU/h evaporator and a standby compressor. A silica-gel type drier maintains the low relative humidity.


A room for seed preparation and a laboratory for routine seed testing (germination, viability, moisture content), as well as for experimental work on seed storage and germination, are located close to the storage units. The labequipment includes various incubators, 4 Copenhagen-tanks, a small germinator, a two-way thermogradient table, an air-circulated drying oven, an analytical balance and other items. A walk-in germinator is in use since the second half of 1979.

A 3.1

A 3.1 Plan for longterm storage unit at CATIE, front view.

A 3.2

A 3.2. Plan for longterm storage unit at CATIE, side view, roof construction not shown.

* = not shown on floor and ceiling; applied throughout on the warm side of the thermic.

A 3.3. Plan for longterm storage unit at CATIE.

(installation of vapour barrier applied on all sides of both rooms not shown)

A 3.3

A 3.4

A 3.4. Wall and floor construction, details not in scale.

(* vapour barrier consisting of aluminum-foil between two layers of asphalt)

A 3.5

A 3.5. Wall and ceiling construction, details.

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