Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI)

The Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI) is a centre of excellence in the application of biotechnology techniques and processes to enhance performance in agriculture, medicine and bioprocess industries. The institute draws its strength from an intimate knowledge of genetics, microbiology, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, animal cell culture, embryology and chemical/process engineering.

The institute has world class expertise in manipulating living organisms and bioprocesses to improve plant varieties and animal breeds, enhance health delivery processes, and facilitate production of biological molecules through cell culture and fermentation technology processes.

 

    • To research into plant and animal genetics, with a view to producing animal/crop varieties that will boost agricultural production.
    • To develop crop varieties suited for growth in marginal zones for the benefit of rural and small-scale farmers and to ensure food security.
    • To carry out research in disease diagnostics and health delivery processes.
    • To provide technical expertise in the collection, identification and conservation of valuable germplasm.
    • To take initiative in adapting biotechnology to the needs of agriculture, horticulture and industry.
    • To provide advisory services to government and the private sector on genetically modified organisms.
    • To participate in and provide advisory services in the area of Biodiversity and Biosafety.
  • Maize Improvement Project: The project aims to develop and produce maize varieties that are drought-tolerant and pest-resistant through the use of molecular marker-assisted selection (MAS). Superior quality inbred drought tolerant and insect-resistant maize lines have been developed. Currently several other maize hybrids are undergoing multi-location tests around Zimbabwe.

    Mushroom Project: The project aims at the development, production and selling of high quality oyster mushroom spawn. In addition to spawn production the institute also grows oyster mushroom fruit at pilot scale. Research is underway to produce high button mushroom spawn and to develop spawn from indigenous edible mushrooms.

    Indigenous Crops Initiatives: The goal of the project is to develop products from under-utilized indigenous crops. Zimbabwe is endowed with a range of indigenous cereal, tuber, vegetable and legume crops and other plants that are adapted to the region. This project seeks to identify indigenous crop and plant resources that can be converted into high value nutritious food products.

    Herbs: The project aims at growing and propagating herbs organically, and to process herbs into formulated medicinal and culinary products.

    Micro-propagation Project: The project focus is on production of disease-free plantlets through meristem tissue culture technology. It also uses different molecular approaches to detect, diagnose and eradicate viruses and other diseases from infected plants.

  • Products:

        • Mushroom spawn: Oyster Spawn is currently on offer (Pleurotus ostreatus)
        • Fresh and dried oyster mushrooms
        • Virus-free sweet potato vines and virus-free tissue cultured potato seedlings
        • Herbal products - herbal teas: basil, lemon grass, nettle, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, yarrow

    Services

    • Training courses on mushroom cultivation technologies
    • Training courses on herbs cultivation, harvesting, drying and understanding their medicinal properties
  • Maize Project: The institute successfully developed and registered a drought-tolerant maize hybrid, SIRDAMAIZE 113. The variety passed the Distinctiveness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) tests as required by the Seed Services of Zimbabwe. Seed multiplication is currently in progress in preparation for the commercial market release of the variety.

    Herbs Project: Organic production of different types of herbal plants. The herbs are now processed and commercially marketed as teas and culinary products.

  • 1. Maize project: A strategic partner is being sought to commercialize the drought tolerant maize variety developed by SIRDC.
    2. Indigenous mushrooms research: Zimbabwe is endowed with several indigenous mushrooms in which commercial production is envisaged.
    3. Herb project: Large-scale commercialization partner sought so as to go into tea bagging and development of formulated medicines based on herbs.
    4. Indigenous Crops: Breeding and cultivation of indigenous crops particularly small grains to improve food security and nutrition.

        • Animal health and disease diagnostics
        • Artificial insemination and embryo transfer

 

For Further Information Contact:
The Director, BRI
Landline: +263-242-860359 (direct line), 860320, 860322
FCT Lines: +263-778860323, 778860324, 778860327
Mobile: +263774250315
Email: bri@sirdc.ac.zw, dsavadye@sirdc.ac.zw