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SQF Herbarium: a biological and heritage treasure at the College of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences

SQF Herbarium: a biological and heritage treasure at the College of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences

SQF Herbarium: a biological and heritage treasure at the University of Chile

The Faculty of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Chile has an invaluable biological collection: the SQF Herbarium, which works with the EIF Herbarium, of the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Nature Conservation, and the AGUCH Herbarium, of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences. It is the third largest herbarium in Chile. This unit currently contains 22,000 preserved specimens, which are archival and scientific material.

The Herbarium of the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy of the University of Chile was founded in 1955 from collections of Federico Johao Preserved in the herbarium of the Faculty of Medicine at the same university. The first director of the herbarium was a professor of botany Juan Ibanez Gomez; Who was succeeded by the professor Hugo Gunkel LauerHe is a famous Chilean naturalist and a great plant collector. Gunkel pinned the plants to cardboard and identified the plants that had no names. The herbarium then had approximately 11,500 specimens. In 1968 the direction of the herbarium was taken over Luisa E Navas, who served in this position until 1982, when the herbarium reached about 16,000 specimens. Later they worked in the herbarium Ida Latorre, R. Between us And Carla Delport. The current number of preserved specimens is approximately 22,000.

The oldest collections preserved in the herbarium date back to the end of the 19th century. Most of them correspond to the H. Gunckel and L. E. Navas periods, where accretion and accretion activity were most intense. The collection contains herbal plants by eminent botanists of our country such as In M. Baeza, F. Behn,F. Goho, H. Gunkel, C. Gilesand G. Ibanez and L. Navas.

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Many specimens are preserved in the herbarium that has served as support for numerous treatises on the flora of the metropolitan area, particularly the current historical flora of Cerro San Cristobal, the Pinalolin and McCall streams, and Patoco Lake. All these materials were used to create the monumental work “Plants of the Santiago Basin” In three volumes by Le Navas (1970-1975); Preserving this reference material is very important for current and future curators, taxonomists and florists so that they can observe first-hand the plants that have supported the construction of the work.

Another very important aspect is that the herbarium preserves specimens that have served as witnesses for numerous research projects and theses that have resulted in a large number of scientific publications. As a rule, each article cites the specimens deposited in the herbarium as witness to the future of the species worked on, so that researchers can have a permanent physical reference while taking into account possible changes in species nomenclature leaving doubts as to which species have actually been worked on.

The herbarium was registered in Herbarium index, an organization that keeps track of herbariums that hold the official and recognized category of the global lending and information transfer network. The abbreviation for herbarium is SQF.

As a result of numerous collection campaigns and numerous research projects, the herbarium has a large number of specimens of local species used as medicinal plants; An important reference material for species identification work by students and college professionals.

It should be noted that the SQF Herbarium has 3,712 collections published in the database Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) The herbarium, from the University of Chile, is the most mentioned on the aforementioned platform. Work is currently underway to increase registrations to 7,910. That is, about 4,200 new records will be uploaded to the platform and will be accessible to the community for free.

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The SQF herbarium team consists of teachers Raquel Brady, Gabriela Valenzuela And support professional Scarlett NorambuenaAll of them are from the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Toxicology.

Conservation process

The plants in the herbarium are not preserved with any kind of chemicals. They are collected only in the field, then compressed by hand between newspaper and cardboard, and rapid drying is expected. Thus, all their defining morphological parts, including colors and/or smells in some cases, are preserved for hundreds of years, explains Scarlett Norambuena.

“After this process, the disinfection phase begins to eliminate any insect that may be present in the samples (larvae and/or adults). To do this, they are placed in the refrigerator at a low temperature, ideally -30°C, for a few weeks.Complete.

Finally, they are grouped onto the cardboard they saw and stored according to their classification and degree of relationship to other species.