The infrastructure of the Institute is:
- Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and Productivity.
- Laboratory of Tissue Culture.
- Laboratory of Radiation Agrochemistry.
- Experimental Hydroponic Station.
- Scientific-industrial Hydroponic Station of Echmiatsin - "Darman" LLC.
Main Fields of Activity
Soilless production of plants by industrial method, the main directions of which are:
- Development of soilless production biotechnology and scientific bases of number of valuable little-tonnage, rare and endangered medicinal, aromatic, dye-bearing and tree-shrub plants.
- Comprehensive studies of physiological (water regime, intensity and productivity of photosynthesis and transpiration, content of photosynthetic pigments, etc.), biochemical, pharmacochemical (biosynthesis of biologically active and secondary origin compounds, etc.) and radiochemical (content of natural and artificial radionuclides and heavy metals) and other peculiarities of crops grown under soilless conditions.
- Development of planting material production biotechnologies for some valuable agricultural and other plants (henna, indigo, carnation, geranium, bryony, etc.) with microclonal and hydroponic combined methods.
- New system testing with polymer-film application ("water-stream hydroponics"), which reduces constructing expenses of 1ha hydroponic system 5-6 times.
- Introduction of rare and endangered plants with valuable adaptogenic properties into Armenia and their study in hydroponic conditions
Soilless production biotechnologies of about 70 valuable and little-tonnage crops were developed and are ready for investment. Physiological, biochemical and agrochemical bases of increasing of their productivity were comprehensively investigated. Mathematical models of productivity enhancement of some medicinal (motherwort, chamomile, bidens, etc.), essential oil-bearing (mint, citric sorghum etc.) and dye-bearing (henna, indigo) crops were worked out.
Studies of many years proved the high efficiency of hydroponic production of plants under controlled conditions of environmental factors and root nutrition. Special physiological, anatomical and biochemical changes occur under optimal and simultaneously continuous provision of water, nutrients and air, productivity of photosynthesis, content of photosynthetic pigments, vitamins, essential oils, physiologically active compounds increases. In these new conditions hydroponic plants show high productivity. They accumulate ecologically clean and high-quality raw material. Compared with traditional agriculture the yield from a unit hydroponic surface enhances 3-5 time, the water and labor expenses on a 1 ton of yield is decreased (40-50%), solar energy efficiency is increased, some hard works are completely absent.
The Institute is cooperating with the International Society for Soilless Culture (The Netherlands), Hydroponics Society of America, Agricultural research service of Agricultural ministry of USA, National clonal germ-plasmic repository, International Society for Horticultural Sciences (Belgium), European Vegetable R&D Center (Belgium), Humboldt University of Berlin of Horticultural inspection, Technical University of Munich, State Medical University of Argentina, Technological College of Israel, the Institutes of AS of RF: Plant Physiology Institute (Moscow), Institute of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry (Irkutsk), Institute of Parasitology, Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Institute of Agrophysics, University of Essential-oil and Medicinal Plants of Simferopol, Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics of Tajikistan, Botanical Garden of Irkutsk, etc.
"Darman" LLC was founded on the scientific-industrial hydroponic base of the Institute in Echmiatsin with the 2.3 ha of total surface or 1.0 ha nourished surface, where hydroponics biotechnologies developed in the Institute are introduced, directed to the soilless production of valuable, rare and high-demanded medicinal, essential oil-bearing, dye-bearing, technical and other crops. Annual production capacity of Echmiatsin station in a count of dry raw material of plant is about 15-20 ton.
Herbs: a) medicinal teas (Peppermint-Mentha L., Catmint-Nepeta L., Lemonbalm-Melissa L. and etc), annually 12-15 ton in calculation of dry medicinal raw material; b) decoctions (Motherwort-Leonorus L., Bur marigold-Bidens L., Sage-Salvia L. and etc.), annually 15-18 ton in calculation of dry medicinal raw material; c) medicinal juices (Calanchoe-Kalanchoe Lam., Aloe-Aloe Mill. and etc), annually 100-150 ton in calculation of fresh overground mass. In this sphere we expect cooperation (by claim) with the Ministry of Healthcare of RA and some pharmaceutical firms.
Aromatic and Spicy plants (Citric sorghum-Cymbopogon citratus Stapf., Anise-Pimpinella anisum L., Fennel-Foeniculum vulgare Mill., Aromatic basil-Ocimum basilicum L., Citric basil-Ocimum basilicum Hochst. var. citroli, Coriander-Coriandrum L., Savory-Satureja L. and etc), annually 10-15 ton in calculation of dry raw material. In this sphere cooperation with the Ministries of Defense and Agriculture of RA is expected.
Tree-shrub saplings: a) tree species (Oak- Quercus L., Plane-tree-Platanus L., Honey Locust- Gleditschia L., Arborvitae (pyramidal and common)-Thuja L., and etc.) 120000-150000 pieces; b) shrub species (Privet- Ligustrum L., Cornelian- Cornus L., Spirea- Spiraea L., Golden bells- Forsythia L., Jasmine- Jasminum L. and etc) annually 1,0-1,2 million pieces. In this sphere cooperation with the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA and Municipality of Yerevan is expected.
Grapes rhizomes (including also rare and hard rooting cultivars) annually 300000-400000 pieces. In this sphere cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture of RA is expected. Organization of hydroponic model (module) farm (5-10 ha surface) on the Ararat valley saline-alkaline soils, as well as other unused in agriculture sphere soils (rocky soils, sands, open mines and etc.) for the purpose of soilless cultivation of various crops by the new "water-stream hydroponics" method, worked out in the Institute. This method is copyrighted (RA patent number 1849 A2, 1946 A2, 1988 A2, 1989 A2). The projection of first hydroponic modules (combine) with 10 ha water-stream open-air surface and 2 ha greenhouse surface has been done in «Armgroundbuild» Institute (the project is available) and has been built in Armavir region (in the former «Meliorator» farm). In this sphere cooperation with the Ministries of Agriculture and Nature Protection of RA, as well as with private entrepreneurs and farmers is expected.