On January 15, 1938 at the Kazakh State University named after Kirov the “Department of Plant Physiology and Microbiology" was organized. From 1947 until 1999 it was called “Department of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry”. In 1972 it was separated from the “Department of Microbiology” and since 1999 the Department of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry became known as the “Department of Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Plant Physiology”. In 2011 on the basis of the “Department of Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Plant Physiology” and “Microbiology” was established the “Department of Biotechnology”.
The Department was headed by PhD, Assoc.Prof. P.I.Gromakovsky (1938-1939); PhD, Assoc. Prof. S.A.Grebinsky (1940-1945); Prof., academician T.B.Darkanbaev (1946-1972); PhD, Assoc. Prof. D.K.Kalekenov (1972-1981); Prof. I.A.Bulanov (1971-1972); Prof., Academician of NAS RK, M.H.Shigaeva, Prof., Academician of NAS RK, I.R .Rahimbaev (1981-1989); PhD, Prof. G.Zh.Valihanova (1989-1990); Prof. A.T.Ivashchenko (1990 -2009); Prof., A.T. Kanaev (2000 -2001), Prof., Academician A.A. Zhubanova (2001 -2009); Prof. T.A. Karpenyuk (2009-2011); Prof. T.D. Mukasheva (2009-2011); Prof. B.K.Zayadan (2011-2015); PhD, Assistant Professor A.S. Kistaubaeva (from 2015).
During S.A.Grebinsky’s period the research works on environmental physiology, the effect of the natural conditions of Kazakhstan on physiological and biochemical indices of plant growth were conducted.
From 1946 to 1972 the Department headed by Ph.D., Professor, academician Temirbai Baybusynovich Darkanbaev, a known scientist-biochemist, talented teacher who prepared highly qualified biochemists, plant physiologists, microbiologists. He is the author of over 230 scientific papers, including 2 monographs, 2 textbooks and 2 certificates of authorship, devoted to the study of biochemistry crops, the study of proteins, carbohydrates, enzymes, vitamins, mineral composition of wheat. T.B. Darkanbaev in the period from 1955 to 1961 was the rector of Kazakh State University named after Kirov, deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh SSR. He was awarded the "Lenin", "Red Banner of Labor", two orders of "Badge of Honor" and medals.
The first scientific research in the field of microbiology carried out at the department under the direction of Prof. David Lazarevich Shamis with the active participation of Assoc. Prof. Anastasia Mikhailovna Babusenko. A group of microbiologists studied biogenic processes occurring during the formation of therapeutic mud lake Teresken, phytoncide activity of cultivated and wild onions of Kazakhstan and possibility of their use for the control of certain plant diseases, antimicrobial properties of essential oils extracted from various plants and conducted research in the field of algology.
In 1965, the graduates of the Department of Biophysics, Moscow State University, PhD, Assist. Prof. Eltai Merhaydarovich Karabayev and Victoria L. Chiu came to the Department of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry.
On October 8, 1971, according to the order of the Minister of Higher and Specialized Secondary Education of the Kazakh SSR №980 was issued Order №650 "On the division of the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry into two separate departments: Plant Physiology and Biochemistry and Microbiology."
Acting Head of the Department of Microbiology were assigned to the corresponding member. NAS RK, Professor Peter A. Bulanov - scientist, whose name is associated a new direction in the Republic - research and study of producers of antibiotics, the author of one of the first textbooks on microbiology.
In 1972, the head of the department of microbiology on a competitive basis, was elected corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Kazakhstan, Ph.D., Prof. Maya Hazhetdinovna Shigaeva and from that time the faculty involved in the implementation of state budget theme "Selection of microorganisms, producers of biologically active substances for the food industry and agriculture of Kazakhstan", which was part of the research plan of the Institute of Microbiology and Virology, Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR. Studies conducted on the subject, were aimed at obtaining highly Streptomyces strains, producers of new antibiotics, propionic acid bacteria, feed and wine yeast.
During the same period, the department had begun research in the field of chemical mutagenesis, on the effect of physical and chemical factors on the accumulation of biomass production and the formation of valuable metabolites cells of eukaryotic and prokaryotic microorganisms. The studies in 1980 were summarized in the monograph "Chemical mutagenesis. Problems and Prospects" corresponding members of USSR Academy of Sciences I.A.Rapoport, M.H.Shigaeva, N.B.Ahmatulina.