Projects Supported By Science Foundation

Micropropagation of Ornamental and Medicinal Plants

The project was sponsored to the Botany Department of the MS University of Baroda, Vadodara. The project basically envisaged the development of protocols for micropropagation, acclimatization & standardization of selected verities of plants viz. Bougainvillea and Mussaenda and medicinal plants like Vitex and Glycyrrhiza.

Agricultural Science & Technology in Rural Area

The GSFC Science Foundation sponsored a project on application and propagation of science & technology in agriculture practice in the rural areas. The objective of the study was to :

  • Propagate modern and scientific farming among the farmers
  • Extend help to farmers living below the poverty line and those belonging to weaker sections to improve their livelihood

Science Foundation collaborated with the Gujarat Agricultural University, Anand to develop biological control mechanisms for the root-knot nematodes using fungal pathogens in cotton and groundnut. Further, studies were also carried out to explore the use of potential bioagents in the management of soil insect pests including plant parasitic nematodes.

Nematodes in Agriculture

Plant parasitic nematodes are ubiquitous browsers and hidden enemies of the crops and are found to attack several economically important crops viz. cotton, tobacco, sugarcane, groundnut, vegetables such as tomato, chili, bottle gourd, okra, brinjal, horticultural crops like banana, ginger, turmeric, cereals like wheat, maize etc. and almost all pulse crops. The key nematodes infecting these crops in Gujarat are root-knot nematodes, which are reported to induce the yield losses in different crops.

Science Foundation collaborated with the Gujarat Agricultural University, Anand to develop biological control mechanisms for the root-knot nematodes using fungal pathogens in cotton and groundnut. Further, studies were also carried out to explore the use of potential bioagents in the management of soil insect pests including plant parasitic nematodes.

Establishment of Live Tree Museum

The role of trees in enhancing the economy and environment is recognized and great interest is being envisaged in their preservation and conservation as they are the basic resources. However, the awareness regarding their importance and role in the life of human-beings need to be created. In order to create awareness among various sections of the community of people, it was thought worthwhile to establish a ‘Live Tree Museum’ and use that to inculcate the tree culture among people. The project was a collaborative project between the Science Foundation and the Community Science Centre, Vadodara.

Trees were planted about which people are familiar but have rare opportunity to see them around. 25 types of trees were selected. Education tours of different schools were organized to generate awareness among students and to promote the concept of the importance of the green environment.

Integrated Trial cum Demonstration Project on Coastal Wasteland Development & Aquaculture

GSFC Science Foundation collaborated with the Agriculture Development & Agriculture Services unit of GSFC with the aim to develop a scientifically tested technology of Salicornia and other halophytes’ cultivation on waste saline soil of coastal area by utilizing saline water. The ultimate goal of the study was to promulgate the farming of the salt-tolerant variety in the coastal area to attract the attention of a farming community for their economic upliftment.

The project was executed in the Mundra taluka of Kutch district on the 28 acres of land.

Studies on Halophytes & their Improvement

The genus Salicornia belongs to family Chenopodiaceae. Only two species i.e. S. brachiata and S. herbacea are found in India out of which the former is dominant in Indian cost. The plant is an annual, small, erect, dichotomously branched 30-40 cm tall herb. It is found in salt marshes along the sea cost in Gujarat (western coast) and the eastern coast of the country. Its stem is delicate, 12-18 mm thick at the base and leafless with two appressed leaves surrounding each node. The branches appear like slender joints 6-12 cm long and stout. The spikes are slender and cylindrical. Flowers are trinate embedded in cavities along the upper part of the branches. Seed erect, compressed, membranous and exalbuminous. The seed contains 25-30 % oil rich linoleic acid which is an essential fatty acid and good for health ailing persons.

The project, a joint venture between the Science Foundation and the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavnagar involved a survey of the natural vegetation of Salicornia for selection of superior genotypes, genetic improvement in the species through mutation breeding i.e. the application of radiations and chemical mutagens. Field trials were conducted to develop agro-technology for cultivation and optimization of the yield of Salicornia brachiata. Further, assessment studies of the impact of saline affluent/industrial waste on growth and yield of Salicornia were also undertaken with the objective of utilization of coastal saline area for productivity by the under-exploited halophytes.

Agriculture Research Station at Dakor

Promulgation of the scientific research is one of the basic objective of the Science Foundation and in view of that Foundation has created & established a few demonstration model projects. Further, these demonstration models also provide an opportunity to undertake research programmes/ studies/ trials in three identified thrust areas viz. water management, agri-biotechnology, and environment on a continuous basis. Research Station at Dakor was one such attempt to demonstrate different agricultural trials on varieties crops – vegetables, horticultural, floral etc. coupled with the efficient water management system in 87 acres of farmland.

Field trials on tissue cultured banana, papaya, turmeric etc. were taken. Also, trials on some hybrid crops varieties were undertaken. For the optimization of the productivity through technological approaches, acceptable at farm level and environmentally safe, following were considered :
  •     Collection & conservation of germplasm
  •     Breeding
  •     Superior cultivation (which are high yielding & pest and disease resistant)
  •     Standardization of agro-techniques
  •     Plant protection
  •     Measures
  •     Developing suitable multiplication-based cropping system
  •     Reducing post-harvest losses
  •     Promising cultivators with efficient production technology

Preparation and Evaluation of Polymeric Controlled Release of Agroproducts / Pharmaceuticals

Science Foundation sponsored this project to Dharwad University, Karnataka for the development of CR formulation. The CR formulation containing pesticides have many advantages over conventional products to reduce environmental pollution due to direct contact with skin or by inhalation. The CR formulations are safe to use due to the reduced amount of pesticides, minimum leaching of pesticides, increased persistence of the active ingredient and the overall ease in handling toxic products. In view of this, CR systems have gained widespread usage in agriculture areas since they help to reduce the environmental risk factors. For encapsulation of toxic pesticides, the use of the biodegradable polymer is desirable, since no residues of the polymer can remain in the atmosphere after their intended applications.
  •     Development of newer analytical protocols using techniques like GLC, HPLC, and UV of agro-products/ pharmaceuticals needed for future CR applications
  •     Study of the physicochemical properties like solubility, partition coefficient and stability of agro-products and pharmaceuticals
  •     Rheological characterization of polymers to be used in CR applications
  •     Development of new systems to encapsulate some typical and the most widely used synthetic pesticides in order to reduce their toxicity level as well as to prolong their action during field applications
  •     Formulation of the highly stable sex pheromones by encapsulation using the adhesive polymers for disturbing the mating of pests
  •     Hydrophobic slow release fertilizer for high moisture soil application. For instance, a material like wax or resins can be coated on the fertilizer to prevent their leaching into the soil

Farm Technology Testing, Generation and Training Center for Optimizing Crop Productivity (FTTC)

Realizing the need for optimization of crop productivity through technological approaches that are acceptable at farm level and are environmentally safe, Science Foundation collaborated with the GSFC and initiated an agriculture demonstration project with the training programme.
  •     Effect of micro-propagated and traditional planting material on the yield of different varieties of Banana
  •     Effect of micro-propagated and traditional planting material on the yield of different varieties of Sugarcane
  •     The response of Groundnut (variety GG-2) as the first crop in Groundnut-Wheat cropping sequence to different manurial blend along with the different level of fertilizers
  •     The response of Wheat (variety GW-496) as the second crop in Groundnut-Wheat cropping sequence to different manurial blend (residual effect along with different levels of fertilizers)
  •     Demonstration of medicinal plant cultivationField trial of Shrimanthi developed through somatic embryogenesis at BARC was undertaken at Dakor
  •     Pigeon pea varietals demonstration
  •     Evaluation of promising hybrid of cotton

Studies of Scale-up of Tissue Culture Process for Multiplication of Banana

The project was taken with the basic objective of “Studies of scale-up of tissue culture process for multiplication of Banana. Conventional bananas are propagated by means of various types of suckers formed at the base of the main pseudostem. The major constraints of conventionally propagating Banana are the lack of availability of large quantities of pathogen/disease free planting material of known genotypes. For that, scaling up of Tissue culture progress for multiplication of banana is a must. There is also great scope for export of Indian bananas both fruits as well as plants. That also needs a standardized protocol for large-scale production of tissue culture Banana. Banana tissue culture technology is available at present but studies of different production parameters are must for economically viable large-scale production technology.

In view of above, Science Foundation collaborated with the AD & AS Department of GSFC and started a research programme for the scaling up of Banana. During the study, all the aspects, stages and parameters were studied scientifically in detail. At the end of the project, parameters’ range and techniques were standardized for all stages of production process and a complete protocol from the laboratory to net house hardening for scale-up of tissue culture process of banana has been successfully developed.

Synthesis and Characterization of Chitosan based NPK- Nanofertilizers

The use of natural polysaccharides in the preparation of nanoparticles has attracted attention due to their biocompatibility, biodegradability, and hydrophilic, which are favorable characteristics in various applications. Among various polymers, chitosan is one of the most abundant natural polymers. Chitosan (CS) is of particular interest in the packaging field because it is biodegradable, bioabsorbable and bactericidal.

In agriculture, loss of nutrient elements is one of largest problems. It causes insufficiency of plant nutrients, increases process cost and pollutes the environment. Controlled release is thus a method used to solve this problem. With the use of control released systems, nutrients are released at a slower rate throughout the season and plants are able to take up most of the nutrients without wasting by leaching. Present study proposed to undertake such experiments/research study.