This year is the UN International Year of Biodiversity and Cunningham, who is MSP for Perth, was shown the Commonwealth Potato Collection, a seed store of world importance that is maintained at the SCRI.
It contains 1500 variants of about 80 wild and cultivated potato species. The collection is used for research and breeding new potato varieties for the market. The minister was given a guided tour by the collection's assistant curator, Gaynor McKenzie.
Cunningham was also shown some of the work that the SCRI does to protect and preserve the UK's unique raspberry, blackcurrant and blackberry varieties. "I'm extremely impressed by the groundbreaking work being carried out at the SCRI," she said.