The department was created in 1960 by one of the founders of virology in Ukraine, professor, Corresponding Member of Ukrainian Academy of Sciences S.N. Moskovets as the Department of Virology, and since 1963 as the Department of plant viruses. After resorting the Department of plant viruses in 1974 there were established three independant divisions - Department of algae viruses (Heads: PhD. V.A. Goryushin, Prof., Dr. Sci. M.I. Mendzhul), Department of reproduction of plant viruses (Head: PhD. V.G. Kraev) and Department of phytopathogenic viruses (Heads: Prof., Dr.Sci. A.D. Bobyr (1974-1991), Prof., Dr.Sci. I. S. Shcherbatenko (1991-2008). In 2009 Department of algae viruses and Department of reproduction of plant viruses ceased to exist and due to by the request of Institute of Microbiology and Virology of NAS of Ukraine the Department of phytopathogenic viruses has been returned his old title – the Department of plant viruses. The current head of Department, Prof. O.G. Kovalenko, succeeded Prof. I. Shcherbatenko in March 2008.
Besides the above mentioned scientists at the Department in a different years worked: Prof Acad. UAAS, Dr. Sci. A. Boiko, Prof., Dr. Sci. S. Bobrownik and PhDs: V. Annohin, D. Baratova, V. Vasiliev, L. Hlushak, D. Grama, O. Grigoryan, L. Didenko, L. Zherebchuk, L. Zhmurko, I. Zhuk, T. Zyrka, O. Ilchenko, O. Ketko, F. Kozar, L. Kolesnik, L. Kuznetsova, O. Kushnirenko, L. Lavruh, L. Lapchyk, L. Maksimenko, S. Mamedova, I. Miheyeva, N. Nesterova, A. Onishchenko, N. Parkhomenko, L. Pavlenko, V. Pilipenko, N. Porembska, J. Sadovsky, A. Skofenko, N. Sievers, A. Sydor, S. Chaplinsky, V. Shalabay, Y. Sheludko, O. Polishchuk V. Shepelevych, D. Sherepitko etc.
The citizens of different countries – Egypt (I. Fehla), Uzbekistan (Mohamed and Rahim Isamuhamedovy), Moldova (O.D. Sherban), Ukrainian (P.V. Bondarenko) etc. gained knowledge and earned Ph.D at the Department of plant viruses.
The research interests and projects in the department cover a broad spectrum of subjects. Particular fields of interest include:
- establishing the etiology and differentiation of viral diseases of major crops; identification of viruses based on the study of their biological, serological, morphological, structural, physico-chemical and molecular properties;
- reconnaissance and monitoring of plant viral diseases in order to study the virus situation in the agrocenosises and biocenoses of Ukraine of Ukraine;
- exploring virus relationships based on virus-host protein-carbohydrate interaction network and development of the pathogenesis pathways for viral infections, the natural and induced resistance to plant viruses;
- searching for natural and synthetic substances - viral inhibitors, regulators and inducers of resistance;
- using plant tissue culture techniques, somaclonal selection and regeneration, cellular and genetic engineering for obtaining virus-resistant plants;
- the dusing of integrated cells and protoplast systems, cell-free extracts for high throughput screening and systematic characterization of antiviral agents action, inducers and suppressors of plant resistance;
- computer analysis of structural and functional features of viral genomes.
The main scientific achievements:
- extensive research has been conducted on viral diseases affecting economically important crops: cereals, legume, plants, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, hops, etc. As a result, distribution map showing phyto virologycal situation in Ukraine was compiled;
- a large-scale search of a virus inhibitors and virus resistance inducers have been advanced and antiviral substance have been found;
- the hypothesis concerning the mechanisms of extreme plant resistance and induced glycopolymer activity were put forward; the receptor-inductor model of initiation supersensitive response in plants based on protein- carbohydrate regulation has been proposed;
- studying of signal transduction mechanisms which ultimately assist the resistance process in plants was started; an important role of glycopolimer-inducers and lectin-like proteins has been shown;
- conservative nucleotide and amino acid motifs involved in the regulation of reproduction, distribution, variability and harmfulness of plant viruses using computer analysis have been revealed.
Practical application of achievements:
- the technology of virus-free potato planting stock by summer planting methods using growth stimulants and growing in the highlands of the Carpathians was developed;
- extremely virus resistant hybrids of both potato and tobacco plants have been found and recommended for use in breeding work; new tobacco variety Americana 3 resistant to the Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) was created;
- somaclonal variants of the both tomato and tobacco plants resistant to TSWV were obtained;
- wasteless technology of producing glycans based on fodder yeast manufacturing was developed;
- eco-friendly complex preparations with wide range of biological activity and new nanomaterials for nanoelectronics and medicine were obtained.
The staff of department is renovated due to the training of high level personnel through graduate school. More than 46 PhD have been prepared in the Department. Total number of staff working for the Department is 10: 4 PhD and 6 of the support staff.