Boris Anisimov: I LOOK WITH OPTIMISM IN THE FUTURE OF RUSSIAN POTATO GROWING!
Boris Vasilievich Anisimov is an outstanding Russian scientist in the field of potato breeding and seed production, one of the most respected specialists in this industry.
Has 18 copyright certificates and patents for inventions and selection achievements; is the developer of 7 projects of state, interstate and industry standards for seed potatoes, the author of more than 200 publications. In 1999 he was elected a full member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS). Awarded with a commemorative silver medal. N.I. Vavilov (2003). Awarded the titles "Honored Worker of the Russian Agroindustrial Complex" and "Honored Worker of Agriculture of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania".
For many years he has been an employee of the Federal Research Center im. A.G. Lorkha. In the centenary year of this scientific organization, we asked Boris Vasilyevich to share with the readers of the journal the details of his path in science.
- Boris Vasilievich, how did it happen that you tied your fate with agriculture?
- I grew up on Sakhalin, in the small town of Okha. It was here that in the 30s my parents were sent for resettlement from the Penza province.
After I graduated from school, my parents sent me to the "mainland" so that I could go to college. So in June 1954, I ended up with my aunt in Stavropol and began to prepare to enter the Stavropol Agricultural Institute.
Was this a deliberate choice of your future profession? Most probably not. There were three universities in Stavropol: medical (the most prestigious), pedagogical and agricultural. The smallest competition was for the agronomic faculty of the agricultural institute - 9 people per place. And I went "to the agronomists". But I can say that I was right: the Stavropol Agricultural Institute was famous in those years for its historical traditions, well-known agricultural scientists who headed the main specialized departments at the agronomic faculty. In addition, the Stavropol Territory was the most agrarian.
- Did your love for potatoes begin during your studies?
- No, much later. It's a long story though. After receiving my diploma, I was sent on assignment to Kalmykia. There I worked for some time as the head of the Sarpinsky interdistrict plant protection detachment.
I remember the endless steppes, "black sand storms" in the season of strong winds, floodplains with reed thickets, where huge populations of locusts emerged and formed. For three years my task was to organize the fight against locusts, mouse-like rodents, ground squirrels, of which there was a great abundance at that time. And then it so happened that I went to the Pskov region, to the Velikie Luki Agricultural Institute for advanced training with an in-depth specialization in plant protection. After receiving his diploma, he became an assistant at the department of general agriculture and plant growing of the Velikie Luki Agricultural Institute, taught the course of general agriculture to the students of the plant protection faculty and worked in this capacity for five years.
At the same time, he carried out research under a program agreed with the VIZR, and planned to prepare a thesis on measures to combat weeds in crops of sugar and fodder beets. But soon the fashion for the cultivation of sugar beet passed, especially since in the conditions of the North-West region of the industrial production of this crop could not exist. Thus, the dissertation did not take place. And then my wife and I (she worked in the seed production department) decided to enter the full-time postgraduate study at the Institute of Potato Economy (IKH). At that time we were already 28 years old.
During my postgraduate studies (1967-1969), within the framework of my postgraduate program approved by the Academic Council, I conducted biochemical research in the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry with great enthusiasm under the guidance of the famous scientist, Doctor of Biological Sciences David Vladimirovich Lipets. At that time he was working in the field of biochemistry of potato immunity, and subsequently I was always proud of my belonging to his scientific school.
What were the reasons for the rather significant change in the direction of my further scientific work? The fact is that after completing my postgraduate studies and successfully defending my dissertation, I was sent to the Ulyanovsk experimental station of the NIIKH, where I took the post of deputy director for scientific work. A large and successful work was carried out at the station on the selection and primary seed production of the original varieties Volzhanin, Volzhsky, Ulyanovsky, created by the famous breeder Lezhepekov for the conditions of the Middle Volga region. From that time on, I began to professionally engage in the selection and seed production of potatoes.
- And subsequently continued this work as an employee of the Institute of Potato Economy?
Yes, at the end of 1972, I returned to the institute and was soon elected head of the seed production department, and then deputy director of the institute, with the assignment of responsibilities for the development of scientific research and cardinal improvement of the entire system of Russian potato seed production.
- It is known that you had experience in foreign work. You developed potato growing in Africa ...
In those days, young leaders were put in the personnel reserve of the agricultural department of the CPSU Central Committee. And one day the reserve "shot".
I was summoned and told, as was customary then: "There is an opinion to send you to work abroad as the director of the international scientific center for phytopathology, created on the basis of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the USSR and the developing African country of Ethiopia." In fact, it was a very modern center (by the way, it still exists), equipped with the latest science and technology.
We formed special collection nurseries, where we carried out immunological assessment of hundreds and thousands of accessions obtained on the basis of cooperation agreements with renowned international research centers for various groups of crops, including the International Center for Potatoes (CIP, Peru), for corn and wheat ( CIMIT, Mexico), pulses (ICARDO, Aleppo, Syria), and the Plant Genetic Resources Center (PGRC, Germany) in Addis Ababa.
Particularly interesting and important for us was the work related to the isolation of pure cultures of pathogens and the study of the racial composition of endemic populations of potato late blight, which were formed during the rainy season in a huge variety of nightshade crops and their wild relatives for centuries
growing in huge numbers throughout the country. Our developments on the study of rust diseases of grain crops, septoria, bacteriosis and phytopathogenic viruses in Central Africa were of great importance.
- And after your African business trip, did you deal with the problems of national science again?
At the end of 1986, I returned to NIIKH and worked as deputy general director of an NGO for potato growing, head of the VNIIKH selection center.
And when big changes began in the country in the sphere of reforming the agro-industrial complex, I was offered to move to the Central Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food as the deputy head of the Main Directorate of Crop Production - the head of the Potato and Vegetable Crops Division of the Crop Department. It was during this period, with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia, that sectoral scientific and technical programs and large regional business projects for the development of the potato growing industry in the context of the transition to a market economy in the Russian agro-industrial complex were initiated and successfully implemented.
- What projects of that period do you remember as the most important and interesting?
t 1 It seems to me that practical results during that period were obtained in the implementation of the project initiated by A.M. Chuenko (JSC "Doka", Zelenograd). The project was aimed at developing the industrial production of virus-free minitubers for original potato seed production. Significant progress in the development of industrial technologies for the production of potatoes in the regions of Russia was also achieved within the framework of the Program approved by the Government of the Russian Federation, developed at the initiative of LLC Management and Production Systems (headed by LV Orlova, Samara).
I cannot but mention the project to create genetically engineered modified potato varieties resistant to the Colorado potato beetle on the basis of the Center for Bioengineering of the Russian Academy of Sciences under the leadership of Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences K.G. Scriabin. With my author's participation, three varieties were submitted for state tests, officially registered and protected by patents and copyright certificates.
At the same time, the international project "Tassis", funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), was successfully implemented, within the framework of which four regional diagnostic laboratories were created and equipped in the Moscow, Leningrad, Samara regions and the Udmurt Republic. In this project, I acted as an expert from the Russian side.
- But the next stage of the biography was still scientific work?
In 2004, I became Deputy Director for Research at NIIKH and worked in this position for more than ten years (until 2016). All this time the institute was headed by Evgeny Alekseevich Simakov.
Then he managed to combine the efforts of geneticists and leading breeders (I.M. Yashina, N.P. Sklyarova, Kh.Kh. Apshev, A.A. Meleshin, A.A. Mityushkin, A.A. Zhuravlev, V.A. Zharova, S. Kirsanov, V.A. Biryukova, and others) and ensure significant progress towards the creation of new promising varieties of various intended use, with a complex of economically useful traits, increased consumer qualities and a wide range of adaptive ability to the conditions of the regions of Russia.
It is with great gratitude that during the period of our joint work with E.A. Simakov and his colleagues, I had the opportunity to take part in the author's creation of new promising varieties Violet (2014), Fritella (2016), Gulliver (2019), Sineglazka (2019), Sadon (2019), etc.
At the same time, my main efforts then were focused on the development and improvement of seed production systems. The most priority areas of research were: the development of highly efficient technologies for obtaining and clonal micropropagation of the original in vitro material and the creation of the Bank of healthy potato varieties (BZSK) (in close cooperation with E.V. Oves and other colleagues). Much attention was paid to the development of traditional and alternative technologies for growing minitubers (joint work with O. Khutinaev), the development of innovative technologies for supporting selection, the so-called pre-varieties (promising hybrids transferred to the State Trials), as well as the development of original seed production and effective quality control systems and certification of seed potatoes in cooperation with V.N. Zeyruk (protection department), A.I. Uskov, Yu.A. Varitsev (Department of Biotechnology and Immunodiagnostics), S.M. Yurlova (laboratory of seed science).
- Boris Vasilievich, let you down the results are, of course, early. But still: you have come a long way, achieved a lot. Are you satisfied with the results you received?
There were a lot of good and many very difficult moments and situations in life and work. But in our family it is not customary to anger God or complain about fate.
Our main life-affirming principle has always been the motto: Never lose heart! Do not judge anyone! Do not annoy anyone! And always treat the people with whom we communicate with respect and respect.
Currently, I continue to work as an adviser to the director of the A.G. Lorkh "Sergey Valentinovich Zhevora, as well as the head of the laboratory of varietal identification and I am the scientific mentor of my young colleagues Sergei Zebrin and Irina Gracheva, with whom we together carry out the phenotypic assessment of varietal identity and other quality indicators of the original seed material by the method of soil control of varieties of minitubers field generation from minitubers, super-super-elite of new and promising varieties created at the VNIIKH breeding center.
I am optimistic about the future of our Russian potato growing and I hope that my work on potato culture has not passed without a trace.