Topic: Development of new in vitro propagation technology for Melissa for obtaining virus-free plants
Students: Diana Sumbulyan, ANAU, Faculty of Agronomy, Specialty of Agronomy, Breeding and Genetics, and Sare Galstyan, ANAU, Faculty of Agronomy, Specialty of Agroecology
The essence of the joint research conducted by the AGRI CAMP Program grantees Diana Sumbulyan and Sareh Galstyan, is that with the introduction of in vitro cultivation technology for melissa it will be possible to get a better crop with reduced agro-technical costs.
Why did you decide to choose this research topic?
Diana: – The main purpose of the research is to obtain virus-free plants of melissa resistant to diseases and pests.
Sare: – I had a chance to discuss with Diana melissa cultivation options back in 2018, when she, toghether with her supervisor Armine Abrahamyan, were doing relevant researches. I listened with great interest the stories about their expeditions, and when Diana offered to do a research on this topic together, I gladly accepted the offer. The topic seemed relevant and interesting to me, and the research related to it seemed to provide good opportunities․
Diana: – My scientific supervisor, Armine Abrahamyan and I started researching on this topic in 2018-2020. At the suggestion of my scientific supervisor, I had an opportunity to participate in the wild herbs expedition. In 2021 I was lucky enough to digitize plant species within the framework of the Biodata program. Thus, I had already started studying herbs, and when it came to cultivation, my supervisor and I decided to do in vitro cultivation of the herb as my diploma thesis.
How did your initial assumptions change during the process of research?
Diana: – When I started filling out the AGRI CAMP Program application form I was very excited whith the topic. And when I started doing practical work for in vitro propagation of the plant, my enthusiasm even doubled. I knew that no one in Armenia had been done it before. It was also a great responsibility.
Sare: – This was my first sientific research, and I acquired both new skills and new impressions, as I was given an opportunity of putting my theorethical knowledge into practice. In addition, I got a better idea of what the profession I have chosen means to me.
What new experiences have you obtained through participation in the AGRI CAMP Program?
Diana: – I had some knowledge about in vitro propagation of plants before, but in practice I had no idea how to use them. I have learned almost everything related to the in vitro technology at the Scientific Center of Agrobiotechnology: we prepared food environments, disinfected in different ways the mother planting material, we separated the meristematic tissues from the mother planting material in the laminar box, which we later cut into pieces, etc. We carried out all the activities in a sterile environment – in an autoclave with pre-disinfected tools. Thanks to my research experience, I learned all the specifics of in vitro technology of plant propagation․
Sare: – After choosing the topic, I tried to get acquainted with the in vitro propagation of plants by my own, but all I could get was pure theoretical knowledge. The visit to the Scientific Center of Agro-Biotechnology and the practical work helped to get an ownership of the idea.
How does the scientific environment contribute to the research process?
Diana: -The ANAU staff members of the Scientific Center of Agrobiotechnology willingly support us during the research. I am especially grateful to Dr. Gayane Melyan. Due to her, we got acquainted with all the nuances of in vitro plant propagation technology. By the way, the Scientific Center may later become a huge crop storage, as there are many crops cultivated in vitro there, among which there are crops that are vital for the Armenian economy.
How will the successful completion of the research affect your future professional career?
Sare: -I am happy to say that although the research work is not over yet, I already see myself in this profession. The world today is facing food security problem, the solution of which largely depends on agriculture. The development of this sphere will allow to find new ways of solving the issue and to improve the already existing ones. I am going to put my knowledge and skills in the area of agriculture development and development of science for the sake of people.
Diana: – I have a great desire to continue studying amazing plants of the Armenian nature, offering innovative solutions, while preserving endemic species.
Supervisor՝ Armine Abrahamyan, PhD, ANAU
Activities outlined under this objective of the USAID-funded AGRI CAMP Program tend to empower ANAU students’ engagement in Research and Development.