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Institute for Pestilence and Plant Disease Research

Other Name: Plant Pests and Diseases Research Institute (PPDRI)
Location: Tehran, Iran
Subordinate To: Organization for Agricultural and Natural Resources
Size: more than 2,200 square meters with 12 separate units
Facility Status:

Situated on a 32-hectare estate in Tehran, the institute's buildings are more than 2,200 square meters in area with 12 separate units, including the official building, 10 research departments, the museum, a warehouse, and the mechanical repairs section. Researchers have access to a research greenhouse (1,500 square meters), the numerous research farms of the Iranian Agricultural Research Organizations, and private farms. Throughout the provinces, the institute has 28 research departments and 5 laboratories.

The Tehran staff consists of 156 scientific board members, experts, and technicians with the following educational backgrounds: 23 doctorates, 33 Master's degrees, 40 Bachelor's degrees, and 54 technicians with high school diplomas. In addition, throughout the provinces there are 9 doctorates, 42 Master's degrees, and 103 Bachelor's degrees. Budget is approximately $250,000/year.

The first office of what is now the Institute for Pestilence and Plant Disease Research was established by Jalal Afshar in 1923-24 within the Pasteur Institute. At that time, it was called the Office to Fight Pestilence and Identify its Locations. Since that time, it has gone through a series of changes. In 1927, the office was moved to the Office of Agriculture in the Ministry of General Benefits. In 1929, its name was changed to the Anti Pestilence Foundation. In 1942, the office was moved to the Ministry of Agriculture and renamed the General Office of Pestilence Control. In 1957, one of the sub-offices, the Office of Pestilence Studies, changed its name to the General Office of Plant Pestilence and Quarantine. At that same time, this sub-office came under the supervision of the General Management of Plant Preservation.

In 1961, it was given 56,000 square meters of land in Evin on which to build. In 1963, the office again changed its name to the Institute for the Study of Pestilence and Plant Disease. At this time it became re-affiliated with the Ministry of Agriculture, and its quarantine duties were stripped. That same year, the institute was given 15 more hectares and it moved to its current location at Evin. In 1964, it was given 12 more hectares, which allowed it to construct laboratories and housing complexes.

Between 1961 and 1981, the institute established provincial units in Tabriz, Urmia, Bandar-e Enzeli, Tonokabon, Gorgan, Mashhad, Varamin, Esfahan, Shiraz, Bandar Abbas, Rafsanjan, Sabzevaran, Ahvaz, Kermanshah, and Karaj. In 1975, the institute's name was formally changed a final time to the Institute for Pestilence and Plant Disease Research. It then came under the authority of the Organization for Agricultural and Natural Resources Research.

The institute has 10 research departments in Tehran: Biological Resistance, Anti-Pestilence, Waste Grass and Flowering Parasite, Wheat Bug, Plant Disease, Insect Classification, Agricultural Animal, Plant Nematology, Plant Disease and Virus, and Plant. The institute is equipped with a transmission electron microscope (TEM), scanning electron microscope (SEM), ultramicrotome, carbon coater, ultracentrifuge, ELISA testing capability, spectrophotometer, and different kinds of phytothrone systems.

Since its inception, the institute has established agricultural research centers in each of Iran's provinces, as well as seven single crop institutes. The institute is responsible for guiding and supervising research projects in the plant medicine research departments at each of these single crop institutes.

The institute's research topics include the following:

  • the biology, ecology, and physiology of agricultural pests,
  • the genes responsible for the production of insecticide toxins for the biological control of agricultural pestilence and disease,
  • biological resistance in plants,
  • formulation, effects, and residues of agricultural poisons,
  • techniques of spraying and testing new poisons,
  • the effects on cultivation and ecosystems when they are introduced to agricultural pestilence and disease,
  • mycotoxins (to preserve crop yields),
  • the production of antiserums and plant viruses and the creation of an antiserum bank, and
  • the possibility of manufacturing pheromones and hormones that undermine the actions of arthropods harmful to agriculture.

It should be noted that while none of these activities are different than agricultural research being conducted at universities throughout the United States, all of these activities could be useful for a BW program.

Sources:
Dr. Fereydoun Mehbudi and Abbas Akhavan Sepehi, "Center for Technology Studies: Introduction to the Main Biotechnology Centers in Iran, Institute for Pestilence and Plant Disease Research," Ettela'at-e Elmi (Tehran), 1 September 2001, p. 28 in "Iran: Science Journal Describes Research Program of Biotechnology Center," FBIS Document IAP20020418000069; Plant Pests and Disease Research Institute, www.irib.com/ RC/ default.htm.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

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