What's New

New Biological Sensor Detects Hidden Disease in Potatoes

23 August, 2022

Israel’s Hebrew University & Volcani Institute Team Up to Prevent Looming Global Food Crisis:

(Jerusalem, August 23, 2022)-- Despite advances in increased food production, half of all world’s harvested food is lost due to שבrots caused by microorganisms.  Plants emit various volatile organic compounds into their surrounding environment, which can be monitored for early detection of plant disease and prevent food loss.

Desert Regions May Predict Climate Change in Wetter Areas

16 August, 2022

(Jerusalem, August 16, 2022)—When it comes to the world’s climate, in the past decade, planet Earth keeps sending us its summer siren’s call. According to NASA, nineteen of the hottest years have occurred since 2000, with 2016 and 2020 tied for the hottest on record. This summer is already making worldwide headlines, with England scorching beyond 40 degrees Celsius.

Cannabis Strain with 20% More THC

31 May, 2022

A WORLD FIRST: Hebrew University Engineers Enhanced Cannabis Strain with 20% More THC

Findings will Help Develop New Strains for Medical Cannabis Users and Increase Crop Yields

(Jerusalem, May 31, 2022)—Throughout the world, the cannabis plant is gaining in popularity and legitimacy as a medical treatment for a broad range of illnesses. Now, researchers at the laboratory of Professor Alexander (Sasha) Vainstein at the Hebrew University of Jerusalerm (HU)’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, in partnership with and funding from Mariana Bioscience Ltd, have successfully engineered a cannabis plant with higher levels of medically-important substances, such as THC.

The researchers successfully increased the level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive component in cannabis, by close to 17%, and the level of CBG (cannabigerol), often referred to as the mother of all cannabinoids, by close to 25%.  Further, Vainstein and his team were able to increase the ratio of terpenes, which are responsible for maximizing the euphoric effects of cannabis, by 20–30%.

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The stated goal of their study was to find a way to intervene in the biochemical pathways in the cannabis plant in order to increase or decrease the production of active substances. The researchers accomplished this by manipulating a plant-based virus, that had first been neutralized so that it could not harm the plant, and then manipulating it to express the genes that influence the production of active substances in the cannabis plant. “This represents an innovative use of these tools, which were constructed using synthetic biology tools,” explained Vainstein. “Next, we developed an innovative technology based on infection with an engineered virus to facilitate chemical reactions that increase the quantities of desired substances.  In collaboration with Mariana Bioscience Ltd., we examined the infected plants and found that the levels of the substances in question had indeed risen.” This is the first time that researchers have succeeded in performing such a feat with cannabis plants.

Currently, there is a great deal of research activity aimed at identifying additional substances and medical treatments that can be derived from the cannabis plant, in addition to the more than 200 active ingredients that have already been identified. Until now, there had been no way to tailor strains to produce certain cannabis substances or to alter the ratio between them.  According to Vainstein, “These study results will be valuable both to industry—to increase the yield of active substances, and to medical researcher—to cultivate and develop new strains for medical cannabis users.” Vainstein added that more extensive experiments with the engineered plant are currently underway and should be available to cannabis industry leaders and medical research in the next few months.

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Wednesday Afternoon Concerts

14 September, 2021

You are cordially invited to a series of concerts

hosted by The Faculty of Agriculture of The Hebrew University, at

The Ariovitch Auditorium

- Free Admission -

The concerts will take place once a month on Wednesday, at 13:00, and will last around 1 hour