Department of Phytopathogenic Bacteria is one of the oldest departments of Institute of Microbiology and Virology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (IMV NASU). It was organized in 1934. The heads of the Department were the doctor of biological sciences, professor, Corresponding-member of the NAS of Ukraine G. O.Ruchko (to 1937), the candidate of biological sciences N.S. Novikova (1937-1943), the doctor of biological sciences, professor K.G.Bel’tyukova (1943-1971), the doctor of biological sciences, professor R.I.Gvozdyak (1971-2006), and from 2006 to the present time the Department is managed by the doctor of biological sciences, professor, academician of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences V.P.Patyka.
From the moment of its creation, according to the necessities of the national economy, the basic directions of researches were determination of bacterial etiology of plants diseases, study of their agents and methods that control spread of pathogens. The Department was acknowledged by Academy of Sciences of the USSR as the leading one in this field in the USSR due to the acquired authority and respect by research workers of the Department in 70-80-ies years. On the base of the Department many specialists of plant bacteriosis were trained, research workers of scientific establishments from all republics of the former USSR improved their qualification. The candidates of sciences trained at the Department are working in 8 countries of the world.
The main research areas of the Department:
- ecological and physiological fundamental studies of bacterial diseases agents of the most agricultural and some industrial crops, flowers, fruit and forest trees, weeds and water plants; determination of ecological niches of epiphytic survival of pathogenic bacteria. Polybiotrophy of phytopathogenic bacteria and circadian rhythms of plants resistance to the pathogens were established;
- identification, taxonomy and systematic of plant pathogenic bacteria. Researches in this direction are performed using modern biochemical, serological and molecular-genetic methods. Research workers of the Department developed a scheme of serological grouping of phytopathogenic bacteria of the genus Pseudomonas based on thermostable antigens. It was proved that they were separated serologically from saprophytic and opportunistic bacteria of the genus. It was determined the monomer composition of lipopolysaccharides Pseudomonas syringae pathovars, the structure of O-specific polysaccharides, determinants of O-antigen specificity (in collaboration with the Department of Biochemistry of Microorganisms of the IMV NASU and the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences). On complex properties of the genotype (containing GC, the nucleotide sequence of the gene 16s rRNA) it was reclassified certain pathogens of the genus Pseudomonas;
- investigation of population heterogeneity of phytopathogenic bacteria by phenotypic and genotypic characteristics. Works in this direction are of fundamental and practical importance to predict the circulation of bacterial diseases agents and development of diagnostic methods and limit of spread. For the first time it was studied heterogeneity of the main causative agent of oats P. syringae pv. coronafaciens on biochemical properties, aggressiveness and antigenic composition. It was established the adjustment of strains of certain serogroups to host plant and geographic area;
- study of genemodulating activity of phytopathogenic bacteria. First it was investigated mutagenic activity of exometabolites and lipopolysaccharides of phytopathogenic bacteria in pro- and eukaryotic test-systems. It was shown that metabolites of plant pathogenic bacteria induced chromosome aberrations in plant cells;
- applied research aimed at creating substances to protect crops and spread reduces of phytopathogenic bacteria. On the base of ksampan and acrylamide it was developed the biological gel – the preparation EPAA; it was studied the prospects for its use in wood, textile, microbiological industry and agriculture as adhesive for pesticides. Bacteria – antagonists to phytopathogens with the aim of using them for plant protection products are studied.
Since 2012, the Department has directed its research to monitor and study of genetic diversity of phytopathogenic bacteria in the system of organic agriculture.
The great achievement of the Department is the Collection of phytopathogenic bacteria, which contains more than 2000 cultures. Ukrainian collection is the most complete in the East Europe.
By the efforts of research workers of the Department it has been organized seven International conferences on phytopathogenic bacteria. The results of the researches of phytopathogenic bacteria are represented in 1500 articles, 19 monographs, 30 methodical recommendations and patents. Department research workers have received two D.K. Zabolotny Awards of the NAS of Ukraine and three National Prizes in the field of science and technology.