Автор - | 10.02.2019

We present to your attention another article based on the materials of the work of I.Magomedov. “Amaranth – past, present and future.” It tells a lot of interesting things about the distribution of culture, research on amaranth in the USSR and in the post-Soviet countries.

We do not publish the work of a scientist entirely. And only the most interesting and valuable excerpts from it. It’ll be enough

Amaranth – a promising plant
At the beginning of his work, the scientist indicates that amaranth is a promising plant. He is able to solve the problem of providing humanity with food. Amaranth, according to Magomedov, is the most promising among all the other not very actively used plants, since he is an excellent raw material for food, drugs.

After some oblivion, amaranth became popular again in the 20th century. It is widely distributed in many regions of the planet:

  • USA;
  • China;
  • India;
  • Mexico;
  • other Central American, Asian and African states.

In his work, the scientist notes that from the plant: “… produce thousands of high-quality dietary foods for the prevention of various diseases. Amaranth became known as the culture of the 21st century! ”

Study of amaranth in the USSR: a bit of history
According to the memoirs of Magomedov, in the Soviet Union, amaranth was not taken seriously. As in the republics only wild-growing, weed forms of a plant were spread.

Although in 1932 Academician N. I. Vavilov pointed out the need for the use of amaranth in agriculture. He called the plant a new silage culture. As a result of research and experiments conducted by academics, amaranth is a truly promising plant for the production of animal feed.

All data were published in detail in the monograph in 1940, which was published under the title “New forage crops” (by Medvedev).

Note! I.Magomedov in his work also focuses on the myth that has been common in recent years. In particular, the myth says that the amaranth on the territory of Russia was known for a long time and it was even supposedly banned by Peter the Great. In fact – this is not true. And justifies his point of view: “… because only after N.I. Vavilov’s expedition to South America did the possibility of introducing amaranth into plant growing in our country appeared.” By the way, we have already debunked the myth of Peter the Great in one of the articles published on our website – “The true story of amaranth: tell only the truth and debunk the myths!”

After the tragic death of N.I. Vavilova (died in prison, where he was placed as a result of trumped-up charges), all work on the research of amaranth ceased. Although there remained some enthusiasts from science who continued to cultivate and study amaranth on the territory of Ukraine in the 50s-60s of the last century.

But a little later the amaranth began to be actively studied again. Stimulated new research work on the active study of the mechanism of C4 photosynthesis, which is also inherent in amaranth, as the “aspartate” subgroup of C4 plants.

Thus, as a result of research, it was found that a large amount of high-quality vegetable protein is present in amaranth (its grain and greens). These data were obtained in 1973, in the United States. The results became a valid basis for the resumption of cultural research.

Personal experience I.M.Magomedova in the study of amaranth
I.M. Magomedov himself actively participated in the study and study of amaranth. Although paid. Fortunately, this story happened not during the time of the Stalinist repressions, but much later. But here we will give the floor to the scientist himself, simply by quoting it:

“In 1984, I sent a letter to the head of the USSR Food Program about the need for the State program of research on amaranth as a source of protein to solve the problems of feed production in our country.

Earlier in the laboratory of photosynthesis of the Biological Institute of the Leningrad State University, we have already started working with amaranth as an object of studying the mechanism of carbon metabolism of “aspartate” forms of C4 plants.

I received the seeds of a wild-looking amaranth (schiritsa) from the head of the department of botany at Dagestan State University, prof. Lvov P.L. As it is known, in the southern regions of our country, this type of amaranth is growing on potato and beet fields (Schiritsa is thrown back).

My letter to the head of the USSR Food Program was forwarded to the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, where I received a reply signed by the First Vice President, Academician N.Z. Milashchenko (11/22/84. No. 317-1-М 346 \ 11).

The answer says “According to the content of the most important nutrients in the grain – protein, protein and fat, the available amaranth samples are inferior to corn, sorghum and other crops, and therefore cannot yet be recommended for use for food and feed purposes.” Not only was this “answer” not scientifically substantiated, it served as the basis for punishing me through the party line at the university, allegedly for the disinformation of the Politburo member of the Central Committee of the CPSU. ”

That is, it is clear from the answer received that to solve the acute problem of obtaining protein from the Academy of Agricultural Sciences (All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences named after VI Lenin), it strongly recommended scientists and farmers to focus on the cultivation of such crops as:

  • sorghum;
  • soybean;
  • corn.

It was for these purposes that the State Program “Plant Protein” was created and launched on the territory of the Soviet Union (headed by Academician of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, I.S. Shatilov).

In 1990, in the city of Vinnitsa, on the basis of the Institute of Feeds of the Ukrainian SSR, an All-Union conference on the state program “Plant Protein” was held. This was the last meeting in which it was announced that only corn and sorghum should be used to solve the problem of lack of vegetable protein.

But Magomedov did not agree with such conclusions. Therefore, he made a statement in which he said that such a decision was unfounded, even erroneous. Then again, a quotation from the work of the scientist: “Nevertheless, closing the conference, Academician of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences A. Babich said that“ confrontational speech of prof. I.M. Magomedova will not stop our determination to implement the “Protein” program with the help of traditional cultures ”. So many representatives of the agrarian science did not want to recognize the possibility of using little-known and new cultures for protein production. Amaranth could have become such a culture. ”

Although some scientists who were studying the problem of studying vegetable protein, could not help but notice that corn does not really contain this substance.

There have been many attempts, research, in which scientists have sought to obtain varieties of corn, characterized by a high content of amino acids such as lysine. However, at that time it was unrealistic to achieve such results. Although scientists did not want to admit it. But among them were those that sought to understand the problem in more detail.

According to Magomedov, such was Academician M.M. Khadzhinov, who at that time was the main specialist in the study of maize in the country. He invited Magomedov and asked him to explain in detail all the features of the mechanism of C4-photosynthesis. Such information was necessary in order to understand – why is corn (common and well-studied) could not become a source of high-quality vegetable protein.

At a meeting with academicians, Magomedov spoke in detail about the presence of “malate” and “aspartate” subgroups of C4 plants and about the low quality of maize protein (its rate is 44 out of 100 compared to amaranth, which rate is 75 out of 100 units).

If there was a way out, then it was possible to find it only with the help of bioengineering, which allows the introduction of the genes responsible for the synthesis of the lysine amino acid from amaranth seeds into corn. Only in this way could an increase in the amino acid in maize be really achieved.

Although, as Magomedov writes, in those years in the USSR such experiments were not conducted. Although he, like most scientists, does not deny the fact that corn is a high-carbon culture.

It is pleasant to note the fact that the initiatives of Magomedov were not buried under the pressure of the bureaucracy and the narrow views of the officials, party nomenclature and scientists of those times. Here is another scholar’s quotation: “In 1987, A.Semin, First Deputy Head of the Glavzeleprom of the RSAFSR State Agricultural Committee of the RSFSR, addressed a request to the USSR State Committee for Science and Technology and the USSR State Agro-Industrial Committee for scientific employees of the All-Russian Institute of Sorghum for the organization of works on selection and agrotechnology of amaranth and 12 units – our laboratory in the Leningrad State University for expanding research on the physiology and biochemistry of amaranth. ”

However, this initiative (or proposal) was never brought to its logical conclusion. The reason for this was the collapse of the USSR. Although at that time in the System of the Ministry of Higher Education of the RSFSR, the “Amaranth” Program was created, and Magomedov was appointed Chairman of the Head Board of the program.

Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, several seminars, round tables, and regular seminars were organized based on the results of the plant studies conducted and conducted. Also in many regions, plant research centers are organized:

  • in Kazan (Chernov, IA, Ofitserov, E.N.);
  • in Voronezh (A. Makeev, L. Miroshnichenko);
  • in Novosibirsk (Zheleznov A.V.);
  • in Ukraine (Uteush Yu., Golovin V.P., Bugaev V.D., Pravdivaya NP, etc.);
  • in Belarus (Plashkevich L);
  • in Baku (Aliev D.A);
  • in Moscow (Hins, VK and others);
  • in Nalchik (N. Frolov);
  • and in many other regions.

A particular scientist Magomedov notes the contribution to the development, research and popularization of the culture of Chernov I.A. He and his staff engaged in the introduction of amaranth in Tatarstan, and also created a special technology for processing the resulting crop.

In 1991, the European Association Amaranth was officially organized in the Czech city of Olomouc. It was I. M. Magomedov who was elected its First President.

On the basis of the photosynthesis laboratory of the BINII, the Amaranth Center of the Biological Institute of St. Petersburg State University was organized. The center constantly held meetings, scientific round tables, and conferences, at which the introduction of amaranth was discussed in detail.

In the following articles we will continue to analyze the work of I. M. Magomedov – the results of his research will be in the interests of anyone who wants to grow and process amaranth.

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