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About Volcani Institute
Located at the Volcani Institute campus in Rishon Le-Tzion, near Tel-Aviv, Volcani's six institutes are responsible for Plant Sciences, Animal Science, Plant Protection, Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Engineering, and Postharvest and Food Sciences. Volcani Institute also operates two research centers, in various parts of the country, and serves as a testing center for agricultural produce and equipment. Israel's Gene Bank for Agricultural Crops is also located on the Volcani Institute campus.
While encompassing the full range of agricultural research activities, Volcani institute focuses in particular on arid zone agriculture, enabling Israel - a country short of all the resources required for agriculture - to achieve among the highest levels of agricultural output in the world.
Research in Volcani Institute
Volcani is Israel's national powerhouse of innovation. Our mission, among other things, is to attain food security, ensure food safety, combat climate change and protect the environment. Research in the Institute focuses in particular on arid zone agriculture, enabling Israel - a country short of all the resources required for agriculture - to achieve among the highest levels of agricultural output in the world. Other research subjects include agriculture on marginal soils, irrigation using treated wastewater and saline water, crop cultivation in protected environments and under heat to develop heat resistant crops, freshwater fish farming under conditions of water shortage, minimization of product losses through use of latest pest control, post-harvest storage methods and breeding and development of new strains of crops and domestic animals better suited to adverse global conditions.
Volcani is conducting groundbreaking research and making novel discoveries in several research fields. These include:
Research on CRISPR-based diagnostics of plant viruses and agricultural pests, CRISPR-based modifications of potatoes for prevention of starch breakdown and accumulation of toxic acrylamide and CRISPR-based modifications of fruit trees and medical cannabis for improved properties. CRISPR-based technologies are also being used for engineering of chicks with the intention of solving the problem of culling male chick born to laying hens. Volcani scientists are also developing non-GMO allergen free peanut products.
Using nanotechnology, Volcani scientists are developing solutions for the direct delivery of bioactive compounds and microbial agents of plant tissues and for antimicrobial packages and surfaces. Multifunctional nanoparticles are being researched and developed for the early diagnosis of animal diseases, field crop quality control and food safety. Also, synthetic materials are being investigated to mimic the surface microstructure of plants.
Sustainability studies in Volcani include the bio-based recovery of renewable energy with minimum carbon footprints, the research of systems biology in ecology and agriculture and the development of new biocontrol solutions against human pathogens in foods. Development of innovative systems for the utilization of solar energy in agriculture (Agrivoltaics) and design of multi-level growing systems (Vertical Farming) are also being conducted.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is employed in Volcani for a number of purposes, e.g., in Visual Genetic Associations (VGA) - Genetic Markers for Crop Resilience. Novel sensors are being developed for the detection of spoilage microorganisms and toxic compounds in foods. Additionally, portable Optical Biosensing Platforms are being developed for Real-Time Environmental Screening of water bodies pollutants. A novel miniaturized optical sensing platform for rapid detection and characterization of botulinum toxin and an Optical Lab-on-Chip Device for rapid and highly reliable early detection of bovine mastitis are being generated.
The Volcani Institute received the UNESCO “International Research in Life Science Prize for 2017. The Prize committee stated that "Volcani has successfully developed cutting-edge innovations and methodologies in agricultural research with practical applications as well as capacity building programmes to promote food security in arid, semi-arid and desert environments, advancing human well-being". Volcani also received the UNESCO–Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences today for 2018 on innovations in agricultural research and the promotion of food security.
Volcani Institute and Europe
Close and long-standing relations also hold between Volcani Institute researchers and their counterparts in Europe. The setting up of bi-national funds with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Holland and Italy has done much to reinforce these links.
The European connection has also expanded since the opening out of Eastern Europe in the early 1990's, with Volcani Institute personnel actively assisting their colleagues in these countries to restructure their R&D effort and to introduce modern agricultural production methods.
Volcani Institute and Technical Assistance
Volcani Institute has been active both in providing direct technical assistance to developing countries, and in providing such assistance in cooperation with various national, regional, international and non-governmental agencies. In this context, Israeli know-how - especially in the area of arid zone agriculture - has been exploited for the benefit of farming communities worldwide.
Volcani Institute and International Relations
As an agricultural research center of international standing, Volcani Institute each year attracts a large number of groups from abroad, as well as numerous individual visitors. These include academics, heads of experimental stations, representatives of private companies and public officials.
Volcani Institute maintains particularly close relations with the various international, regional and national institutes involved in the promotion of good agricultural practice and in the increase of agricultural output, and in particular with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
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