The “Federal Research Center “V.S. Pustovoit All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Oil Crops” (VNIIMK) celebrates its 110 anniversary in 2022!

In 2022, the oldest scientific institution in the Krasnodar region – V.S. Pustovoit All-Russian Research Institute of Oil Crops celebrates its 110 anniversary. 

The history of the institute started in 1912 when on the initiative of the young tutor Vasiliy Stepanovich Pustovoit an experimental breeding field “Kruglik” was organized as a part of the Kuban Cossak Agricultural School. Then, some years later, it was reorganized into the Zonal experimental station on oil crops “Kruglik”. On its base, in 1932, the All-Union Research Institute of Oil Crops (VNIIMK) was established.  

Further VNIIMK changed a lot names and subordinations being essentially the institute of oil crops. Now it is renamed into “Federal Research Center “V.S. Pustovoit All-Russian Research Institute of Oil Crops” which includes central experimental base in Krasnodar, three experimental stations: Donskaya in the Rostov region, Siberian in the Omsk region, Armavirskaya in the Krasnodar region, and Lipetsk Research Institute of Rapeseed in Lipetsk, as well as two experimental-seed growing farms: “Berezanskoe” and “Urupskoe” in the Krasnodar region.

With the name of the outstanding scientist-breeder Vasiliy Stepanovich Pustovoit (1886–1972) is connected development of sunflower as oil crop not only in Russia but all over the world. His greatest achievements are: development of revolutionary new methods of breeding and seed growing of sunflower, development of highly yield, with high oil content sunflower varieties resistant to diseases and pests. The unique merit of Pustovoit is increase of oil content in sunflower seeds from 28–32% to 50–55%. Under its rule, by facts, the sunflower became the new technical crop suitable for industrial production.

The world credit to Pustovoit’s merits is foundation of the Pustovoit Medal by the International Sunflower Association. It is awarded for the essential achievements in work with sunflower. In Russia, it was rewarded Galina Vasilievna Pustovoit, Karm Ivanovich Soldatov, Alexsander Borisovich Dyakov, Tatiana Sergeevna Antonova. 

Galina Vasilievna Pustovoit continued and developed the works of her father. First in the world, she developed sunflower varieties with a complex resistance to 5–6 pathogens using interspecies hybridization.

In 1976, first in the world, Karm Ivanovich Soldatov developed sunflower variety Pervenets with fatty acid composition of oil in seeds similar to olive oil. This variety is a base of all breeding programs for increase of oil quality in sunflower seeds in all countries cultivating this crop.

Currently, the Federal state budgetary scientific institution ”Federal Research Center “V.S. Pustovoit All-Russian Research Institute of Oil Crops” is the head institution in Russia on breeding, seed growing, and cultivation technologies of oil and essential oil crops.

The employers of the institute have been working continuously for 110 years on development of new varieties and hybrids of oil and essential oil crops, and quickly react to requirements of industry to oil and seed quality, resistance to biotic and abiotic factors, adaptability to new production means in agriculture. 

The staff of the institute amounts 1439 persons, in science – 431 persons, including 102 researchers, among them two academicians of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), two corresponding members of RAS, 18 doctors, and 66 candidates of sciences.

The researchers of the institute are of a complex character. The general directions of its activity are as following: breeding of highly productive varieties and hybrids of oil and essential oil crops with increased quality of oil, protein, essential oils, resistant to the main diseases and pests; perfection of a system of their seed growing and production of seeds of the highest reproductions for annual variety renewing; development of adaptive, environmentally safe technologies of cultivation of oil and essential oil crops for the different natural zones; development of methods and devices for analysis of seeds and oil quality of oil and essential oil crops; creation of machines and adjustments for cultivation, harvest and after harvesting processing of seeds of these crops. 

To conduct mass analyses of seeds and oil, there are developed and widely used express-analyzers of oil content and moisture in seeds based on a nuclear magnetic resonance. The NMR-analyzers of AMV-1006M type are introduced in more than 250 enterprises in the Russian Federation and near abroad.  

There are successfully developed the theoretical researches on genetic, physiology, biochemistry, immunity directed on development of the effective methods of oil crops breeding. 

The breeders of VNIIMK developed sunflower varieties and hybrids of the different maturity groups, highly productive, resistant to biotic and abiotic stress factors. Breeding works on confectionary sunflower, resistance to the new aggressive races of broomrape, resistance to herbicides, changing of fatty-acid composition of oil in seeds are also successful. 

In VNIIMK, there are developed soybean cultivars, unique by their adaptability to the different climatic conditions, having the highest yield up 6.0 t per ha. Soybean cultivars of VNIIMK breeding are characterized with such traits as drought-, cold-, and frost-resistances; lowered reaction of a day length; resistance to excessive moistening and flooding; high protein content.

One of the main achievements in breeding of oil flax is development first in the world, unique variety Y 117 completely resistant to flax sickness of soil and highly resistant to fusarium wilt, suitable for cultivation in short-term rotations in the drought steppe region of the south of Russia and as a monocrop. Firstly in the world, a wintering oil flax variety Snegurok which can withstand many-day long snowless frosts up to 20–23 °С is developed. 

There is a wide range of the cole crops varieties: winter and spring rapeseed, turnip rape, false flax, spring black and white mustards, which are differed with their fatty-acid composition of oil, resistant to lodging and seeds shattering losses, providing stable high yields in all zones of their production. In 2020, the first Russian simple interlinear hybrid of winter rapeseed Debyut was submitted for the State variety trial.

In the history of the institute, it had been developed more than 600 varieties and hybrids of oil and essential oil crops of the different maturity groups and usage directions; 358 variants of technologies and elements of oil crop cultivation; 94 experimental machines and devices for planting, harvesting, after harvesting seed processing, and mechanization of breeding and seed growing works.

The State register of breeding achievements of the Russian Federation for 2022 includes 267 varieties and hybrids of oil and essential oil crops bred in V.S. Pustovoit All-Russian Research Institute of Oil Crops (48% of total amount of the Russian varieties and hybrids), including 43 varieties and 61 hybrids of sunflower, 27 soybean cultivars, 50 rapeseed cultivars and a hybrid of spring rapeseed, 13 turnip rape varieties, 22 varieties of mustard, five false flax varieties, two varieties of oil rape, 21 oil flax varieties, 10 varieties of essential oil crops, two castor and two safflower varieties.

Breeding achievements of VNIIMK demonstrate their high yields in a wide range of soil and climatic conditions – from the Northern Caucasus to the West Siberian regions. The varieties and hybrids of VNIIMK breeding are reliable and technological, have high potential of yield and are resistant to the main pathogens. The products of the institute are in demand not only among domestic agricultural producers but abroad too.

To present the results of the scientists were working at the institute, in 1956, the All-Union Research Institute of Oil Crops organized the scientific journal “Scientific and Technical Bulletin of VNIIMK” being still published under the name “Oil Crops”.  Now the journal publishes articles on different researches with oil, essential oil, technician, and cereal crops by authors from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.     

The publishing activity of the institute is quite huge and diverse. Only for the last ten years there were published 26 books and monographs, 100 guidelines to producers, 40 issues of the scientific journal (1460 articles), and two proceedings.

Short name of the V.S. Pustovoit All-Russian Research Institute of Oil Crops – VNIIMK and the names of its scientists are known all over the world.

The current generation of the scientists in VNIIMK continues the traditions of the institute in development of the new breeding achievements, methods of breeding, elements of cultivation technologies of oil crops, and in other fundamental and applied researches directed on the development of the oil industry in Russia and abroad.

Lukomets V.M., doctor of agriculture, academician of RAS

Bochkaryov N.I., adviser, doctor of biology

Trunova M.V., deputy director for science, PhD in biology