Specialty Plant Biotechnology

According to the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, biotechnology is a set of techniques used to adapt plants, microbes, and animals for specific situations. Cellular biotechnologies include tissue culture and fermentation. Genetic biotechnologies include genomics, molecular-assisted selection, and transgenic crops (genetic engineering). Plants, as the base for the ecological food chain, serve as the structural and functional foundation of natural and managed systems. Fresh and processed products derived from specialty crops make vital contributions to human health and well-being and contribute to economic sustainability of many rural communities around the world. Domestic market value of specialty crops surpasses $45 billion annually or approximately half of the total national crop production value. Exports of specialty crop products are increasing, with global per capita production and consumption rapidly expanding. The tremendous contribution of specialty crops to human health and wellbeing is evident in the recent revision of the food pyramid – three of the five recommended food groups are built around specialty crops.

FVSU is a national leader in development of specialty crop research and academic programs. Current research in specialty plant biotechnology at FVSU includes:


  • Germplasm collection
  • Conservation
  • Anti-tumor compounds
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Reproductive biology
  • Micropropagation
  • Genetic and metabolic engineering


  • Micropropagation
  • Genetic transformation
  • in vitro conservation


  • Feasibility and cost effectiveness of direct seeding vs. transplanting
  • Intercropping to enhance profitability
  • Monitoring and improving sweetness agents


  • Short rotation fast growing multipurpose tree for honey production
  • Leaf for fodder
  • Medicinal uses
  • Reproductive biology