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A Snapshot of Blessing

November 7, 2022

by: Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c via Jewish News Syndicate

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The Volcani Center is the largest institution devoted to agricultural research and development in Israel, advancing agriculture in the Jewish state and abroad through innovation and problem solving.

Headquartered in Rishon Lezion with experimental research stations in the north and south, the Volcani Center is responsible for many of Israel’s groundbreaking developments in plant and animal breeding, protected agriculture, irrigation, arid-land agriculture, postharvest handling, crop protection and farm mechanization.

Here are 10 of the many Volcani Center innovations over the past century:

  • The Israeli cow is the world champion milk producer. A hundred years ago, milk production per cow was 700 liters [183 gal.] per year, while now it’s 12,000 liters [3,170 gal.]. The secret: the Israeli Holstein cow, a breed developed at the Volcani Center.
  • A series of durum wheat cultivars—each named after an Israeli agriculture minister—are used to produce top-quality pasta. One was even grown in Italy by a leading pasta company.
  • A closed-loop aquaculture system provides fish for food and wastewater for crops that can feed livestock.
  • Globally successful new fruits and vegetables such as easy-peeling Orri mandarin oranges and Or tangerines; the nutritious Oranghetti spaghetti squash; the TableSugar acorn squash; the Tomaisin cherry tomato; and the bright yellow Goldy zucchini squash.
  • A gene therapy that prevents day blindness in sheep that was later applied to humans suffering from a disease that causes blindness by damaging the retina.
  • A machine that can pick out 95% of the seeds in a pomegranate, extracting the seeds from 16 pomegranates per minute.
  • The Aliza grapefruit, named after Volcani researcher Aliza Vardi, is unique among grapefruits because it does not contain furanocoumarins, compounds that can interact dangerously with some medications.
  • A simple, quick and inexpensive technique for detecting pesticide and drug residues on fruits and vegetables, as well as in water and air, based on the same principle as home pregnancy tests.
  • The use of insect pheromones as “traps” for monitoring and disrupting the mating of harmful pests such as the red palm weevil, that can infest date trees.

Excerpt from an article by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c via Jewish News Syndicate

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