a division of experimental biology that studies methods for increasing the productivity of cultured plants, domestic animals, and beneficial microorganisms. The requirements and practice of agriculture led to the development of agricultural biology from related biological and agricultural sciences. Agricultural biology draws from these sciences and incorporates advances in genetics, physiology, biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology.
Agricultural biology is concerned with the discovery of the genetic, physiological, and biochemical bases of heterosis in agricultural plants and animals, the selection of parental pairs during hybridization, the use of polyploidic plants, and the study of artificial mutagenesis. It also deals with the development of the genetic, physiological, and biochemical bases of pathogenesis and immunity in plants and animals. Detailed studies are made on the feeding of farm animals and on the biochemical and physiological processes of lactation and protein and fat synthesis. These studies are used in developing and improving feed standards and rations, systems of keeping animals, meat and milk productivity, and the quality and amount of wool gathered. Agricultural biology is also concerned with improving chemical and biological methods for combating plant and animal diseases and pests and raising efficiency in the use of solar energy by agricultural plants during photosynthesis. For example, models for optimal planting are investigated. Microorganisms are studied as producers of a series of important organic compounds, for example, amino acids, proteins, antibiotics, and enzymes. Soil microorganisms and intestinal microflora are also studied.
Studies in agricultural biology are coordinated and directed by the V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences and a series of institutes under the academy’s administration. Agricultural biology is discussed in the journal Sel’sko-khoziaistvennaia biologiia (Agricultural Biology, published since 1966) and in many agricultural and biological journals, for example, Selektsiia i semenovodstvo (Selection and Seed Growing, published since 1929), Genetika (Genetics, published since 1965), and Prikladnaia biokhimiia i mikrobiologiia (Applied Biochemistry and Microbiology, published since 1965).
B. A. RUBIN