The Department of Botany at UD has digitalised its four botanical collections, and integrated data into a special database that can be used in distance learning as well. The structure, the morphological section and microscopic photos of various plants are all available in the virtual collection.

The Rezső Soó herbal collection, the alga, plant tissue culture and plant drug collections (dried plant parts containing active agents) – it has taken almost a decade to create this unique database.

- Our goal was to extend, digitalise and integrate our collections into one single database – Gábor Vasas, head lecturer of the Department of Botany at the Faculty of Science and Technology told He explained that the collections that have been created at different times and in various formats and include pressed plant parts, active agent tissue structures and stereomicroscopic photos have now been integrated into a virtual database.

- The database will serve as a basis for a number of major research projects dealing with biodiversity, cell biology, phylogenetics and physiology. Also, our industrial partners that develop products with active agents have also shown interest in the database. It helps education as well, because besides the Faculty of Science and Technology, our department is involved in programmes at ÁOK, GYTK, and GTK, where the collection can be utilised. The range of subjects include plant taxonomy, system studies, physiology, pharmacology botany, pharmacognosia, and a botany course for GTK students – said Gábor Vasas.

After ten years of work at the department, the development of the database started in 2017, in the framework of the EFOP-3.4.3-16-2016-00021 project entitled “For the development of the University of Debrecen in order to improve the quality and accessibility of higher education”. The project required the development of the infrastructure of the department, so new servers, computers and microscopes were purchased.

Attila Molnár V. lecturer, his team and Gábor Mátus associate professor worked on the extension of the Rezső Soó herbal collection, the plant tissue collection was managed by Csaba Máthé associate professor, the plant anatomy and histology collecting was taken care of by Márta Mikóné Hamvas associate professor, while the active agent and alga collections were managed by Gábor Vasas and his team.

Further improvement, digitalisation and the complex management of these collections are part of the strategy of the department. For this purpose, the department will look for new resources and opportunities.

The Department of Botany also plans to promote the collection among the public through exhibitions  organised by Csaba Máthé and Márta Mikóné Hamvas.

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