Projects Supported By Science Foundation

Tuberonic Acid as a Phyto-Stimulant in an Aeroponic System for an Improved Seed Potato Cultivation

This is a collaborative project taken up with the Bharat Chattoo Genome Research Centre of The M S University of Baroda.
Hydroxylated jasmonic acid 12-OHJA is also known as tuberonic acid because of its ability to induce tuber formation in plants such as potato. However, the effect of exogenous 12-OHJA on yield and quality of potato tubers has not been tested so far, because (1) chemical synthesis of 12-OHJA is not easy (2) a suitable natural source of 12-OHJA is not known and (3) biosynthesis of 12-OHJA was hitherto not understood. Recently, MSU identified a fungal monooxygenase enzyme Abm, which directly converts JA into 12-OHJA (Patkar et al. 2015). Study attempts to express this fungal Abm heterologously in a duckweed species for enhanced production of 12-OHJA. Such transgenic duckweed as a bio-fertilizer fortified with tuberonic acid 12-OHJA, would be tested in both aeroponics and soil cultivation systems. Aeroroponic cultivation in combination with a phyto-stimulant would not only be an attractive system, but would also be a commercially viable approach to produce disease-free potato with improved quality and yield. Thus, aeroroponically grown quality potato produce will help meet the growing demand of food and will also contribute to making India one of the major exporters of potato.This project will act as a catalyst for aeroponic cultivation of potato or similar tuber crops in India. Current trend shows buyers interest in quality over cost of the product. It might also make it possible to grow some of the elite varieties of potato, which are not yet being cultivated in India. Overall, through a sustainable and round-the-year potato cultivation independent of the geographical location, it would contribute in food and nutritional security of the country.

Dietary Management of Hypertension with Emphasis on the Role of Dietary Calcium, Potassium & Magnesium

The research study was carried out as a part of a sponsored project by the Home Science Department of The MS University of Baroda, Vadodara. The study aimed to assess the role of potassium in controlling hypertension in the industrial population of urban Vadodara. The basic objectives of the study were to estimate the sodium and potassium contents of commonly consumed raw foods of the different food categories and to develop dietary guidelines for hypertensives emphasizing on low sodium and salt intakes and high potassium intakes. 255 employees of the industry were screened.

Marine Algae as Potential Sources of Vitamin B12

Science Foundation has collaborated with The MS University of Baroda to undertake this research study. Study plans to extract Vitamin B12 from marine algae from the coastal areas of Gujarat. The research will focus on studying of variability in Vitamin B12 concentration on monthly basis and standardization of raw material and a daily dose of Vitamin B12 from the perspective of bioavailability and value addition of marine algae in edible form as a dietary and nutritional supplement.

Chitinolysis: Production of Fungicide for Biocontrol

The project was sponsored to the Microbiology and the Biotechnology Centre, The M S University of Baroda, Vadodara with the following objectives :
  •     To screen microorganisms producing high chitinase activity
  •     To optimize the conditions of the growth and chitinase production under laboratory shale flask conditions
  •     Isolation, purification, and characterization of chitinase
  •     Studies of protease and laminarinase from the same culture
  •     Studies on growth inhibition of plant pathogens by chitinase production
  •     Some experiments on inhibition of phytopathogen by chitinolytic culture under conditions of greenhouse

New Molecular Biological Techniques for the Mapping of Genes for Resistance Rice Blast

GSFC Science Foundation provided funds to the Department of Microbiology & Biotechnology Centre, the MS University of Baroda, Vadodara for the establishment of the “Centre for Genome Research”. The objective of the project was to develop a variety of transgenic rice. The laboratory set up has the faculties for the genome analysis, gene mapping and studies on microbial diversity. The focus of the study was on the use of new molecular biological techniques for the mapping of genes for resistance rice blast. A major gene for resistance to a local isolate of the blast fungus was mapped. Transgenic rice plants expressing antifungal proteins were analyzed to study the pattern of inheritance of transgene as well as resistance profiles. Study on microbial diversity was also undertaken and several clones were developed.

Diet & Drug Interactions

Sponsored this project to the faculty of Home Science, The MS University of Baroda, Vadodara to understand the influence of food viz, the four typical regional meals of India – Punjabi, SouthIndian, Gujarati and West Bengali on the extent and rate of bioavailability of Aspirin and Acetaminophen after a single oral dose in 100 healthy female volunteers. These subjects were given the drug {Aspirin (Dispirin) 350 mg, Acetaminophen (crocin)-500 mg} in fasting state and then with the four regional meals. Urine samples were collected and analyzed for the drug metabolites by spectrophotometric method. In general, for Aspirin and Acetaminophen maximum extraction was observed with west Bengali meal.

Genetic Enhancement of Rice Productivity through Development of Hybrid

Since rice is the most important food crop of India accounting for 55% of cereal production, Science Foundation had sponsored this project to the Gujarat Agricultural University for enhancing the production and productivity of rice by the introduction of semi-dwarf, high yielding, fertilizer responsive “miracle” rice varieties coupled with adoption of improved management practices. First of its kind project aimed at developing rice hybrids and standardizing hybrid rice seed production technology to boost the stagnant rice productivity in the state. The project activities & research trials were carried out at Rice Research Station, Navagam and its sub research stations at Vyara and Thasara and at Agro Development & Agro Services Dept. of GSFC. Research on following aspects was carried out :
  •     Standardization of seed production technology for the cytoplasmic male sterile line (CMS)
  •     Seed multiplication of CMS line
  •     Development of new hybrid
  •     Maintenance of breeding material
  •     Identification and development of new R (restorers) lines and B (maintainer)
  •     Demonstration cum testing trials of hybrids
  •     All India coordinated hybrid rice trial

Improvement of Banana (Musa cvs.) through Biotechnological Approaches and Mutation Breeding

The cultivars of banana in many regions are seriously threatened by several diseases reducing the production to a large extent. Therefore, with the ultimate objective of increasing the production of banana, a collaborative research project was taken up with the Agriculture Development and Agriculture Services Department of GSFC with the following objectives :
  •     To induce variation through mutagenic treatment
  •     To study the interaction of V.A. Mycorrhizae with micro-propagated plants
  •     To develop synthetic seeds of Banana

Development of Trichoderma Harzianum Based Biofungicide

Fungus Trichoderma harzianum is eco-friendly in nature and highly effective on target plant pathogens. Traditional pest control method employed is frequent use of costly chemical fungicide/ pesticides, which leads to increased rate of pesticide resistance, residues in soil and environmental degradation. Among the various methods used for the control of pests, biological control has gained both popularity and acceptance in recent years. Here the focus was to use naturally occurring antagonist fungi against such fungus pest, which would otherwise cause loss to agriculture produce of the country.

Soils are complex ecosystems containing many different microbes, invertebrate, and other organisms that occupy a unique “niche” in which they compete successfully for nutrients and space. Beneficial soil microbes, such fungi, occupy these niches in and around plant root surfaces, feeding on organic compounds, root exudates, and insect pests, these microbes compete, exclude or directly attack soil-inhabiting microorganisms and insect pests, such as Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Aphids, Whiteflies, and Mites that would otherwise attack plants and seedling roots.

With the objective to test trial a technology on the basis of field surveys & experimental trials as well as the subsequent promotion of the same, Science Foundation collaborated with the Gujarat Green Revolution Company Ltd (GGRC) and supported the programme of development of Trichoderma harzianum. The technology of Trichoderma harzianum consortium was obtained from the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI). The fungicide production can be of great help to farmers in combating soil born diseases. To set up a commercial unit there is involvement of generation of data related to this product and results are to be submitted to Central Insecticide Board (CIB) for obtaining CIB-license for manufacturing. Based on the market survey the estimated market demand of the product worked out to a 100 MTPA. Before taking up production, demonstrations of the performance of the product at farmers field was also carried out.

Studies on Development of Transplastomic (through Genetic Engineering) Plants for the Induction of Salt Tolerance

The project has been sponsored to The project proposes to undertake the studies on the development of transplastomic plants for synthesis of glycine betaine and its subsequent effect on salt tolerance. The plant of interest for the study is specifically selected considering regional importance and agro-climatic suitability. The plant under consideration for the studies is Groundnut. The study proposes to induce the salinity tolerance in Groundnut and also study the level of saline tolerance in it, develop a regenerative protocol for groundnut through tissue culture, develop gene transfer construct with appropriate vector system and transfer the gene responsible for inducing salt tolerance in plants of interest through chloroplast transformation. The research output in terms of publications/patent has been filed in the name of GSFC Science Foundation.