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International laboratory in Russia's Belgorod to focus on biogas and plant breeding

March 06, 17:05 UTC+3 MOSCOW

In addition to the Russian side, Kazakhstan’s Al-Farabi Kazakh National Univerisity, Armenia’s Yerevan State University, and the Netherlands’ University of Groningen have joined the effort

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MOSCOW, March 6. /TASS/ Belgorod State University’s (BelSU) provost has signed an order on establishing the International Research Laboratory on Applied Biotechnology. In addition to the Russian side, Kazakhstan’s Al-Farabi Kazakh National Univerisity, Armenia’s Yerevan State University, and the Netherlands’ University of Groningen have joined the collaborative effort. The new laboratory will deal with research in the area of biogas and breeding plants in test tubes.

"The order on the foundation of the laboratory was signed on March 1, 2017. The new international laboratory will continue to expand the research performed by the Chair of Biotechnology and Microbiology at BelSU guided by Doctor of Biologic Sciences Irina Batlutskaya," BelSU’s press office reported.

Actually, the work in the new laboratory had already begun. In December 2016, the statement on its establishment was signed, modern experimental equipment for research was purchased, and in February 2017 students and scientists from Kazakhstan and the Netherlands came to Belgorod for a private meeting. Over the last two years, the close relations have been established between these institutions.

Breeding plants in glass tubes

Currently, the International Laboratory of Applied Biotechnologies is conducting research on the production of virus-free potatoes. The preliminary results have already garnered attention from Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture.

"We hope that the results of our studies will be supported on the federal authorities," Batlutskaya said. "Then in this case, the typical amount of time for the traditional selection of about 12 years from the plant in the test tube to the ready-for-sale tubers would drop to 5 years. Importantly, the virus-free potato is only a part of scheduled word. There is a great variety of fruit, berry, and vegetable crops which could profit from microclonal breeding technologies."

Biogas research

Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Kazakhstan, along with the AltEnergo company specializing in renewable energy as an industrial partner, the Belgorod researchers are conducting research on the microbiologic composition of various compounds, which when processed results in biogas.

"As a result of our studies, we expect to increase the efficiency of methanogenesis of the unique biogas station in Russia "Luchki", Batlutskaya said. "In our laboratory, the primary material will be obtained, which we plan to deliver to the partner universities where the studies will be proceeded by our colleagues.

Moreover, according to Batlutskaya, the Armenian colleagues have plans to try out several technologies at a biogas station which allows for producing not only biomethane but also more ecologically feasible, biohydrogen.

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