Report on first BARC-BCKV programme
Use of nuclear strategies and tools for agricultural research is important to augment food production and ameliorate quality of different food crops. However, facilities for such tools are hardly available in Eastern India. Moreover, very few research projects on this aspect are being implemented in the Universities/Institutes in this part of country. Although, huge potentialities exists in different areas of a) Extension of shelf life of perishables like, fruits, vegetables, fish and meat using radiation technology, b) Increasing use-efficiency of applied nutrients with radio-tracer, c) Molecular characterization of the mutants, d) Pesticide residue analysis through radioactive tracer technology, e) Applied mutagenesis for improvement of pulses, flower and vegetable crops, f) Radiation technology for enhancing the level of bioactive compounds in medicinal plants, etc.
In an attempt of creating such facilities in Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya in particular and Eastern India as a whole a conference on “Nuclear-intervened Agriculture” sponsored by Board of Research in Nuclear Science, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Govt. of India, Mumbai was hosted by Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya at the Farmers’ Training Centre, Kalyani on March 7-8 2013. On this occasion, two day RTAC-BRNS Technical Programme Discussion Meeting was also be held for formulating project proposals of relevance to DAE and the participating Institutes in the conference.
In the inaugural programme held on 7 March, 2013 at Farmers Training Centre, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Kalyani, Shri Sekhar Basu, Director, BARC was the Chief Guest and Prof. Chittaranjan Kole, Vice-Chancellor, BCKV presided over the function.
Prof. Biswapati Mandal, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya welcomed the delegates and highlighted the perspective of BARC-BCKV Technical Programme meeting.
Shri Sekhar Basu, Director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre stressed the use of nuclear science in different research and developmental activities including agricultural science. He delivered on the wide array of research and developmental activities of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre where 4200 scientists are engaged in relentless activities on various aspects like, hydrology, water purification, efficient composting, nuclear medicine, extension of shelf life of perishables like fruits, meat, fish, etc., in agriculture. He reminded that so far 41 high yielding varieties of different crops like, ground nut, moong bean, black gram, rice, etc. have been developed from BARC. He assured that BARC will extend all sort of help to establish “Regional Nuclear Agricultural Research Centre” at Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya.
Dr. S. F. D’Souza, Associate Director, Bio-Medical Group & Head, Nuclear Agriculture & Biotechnology Division, BARC discussed the role of Nuclear Tools for Improvement in Food front. He emphasised that two BRNS-funded projects are being carried out in this University and definitely more will be sanctioned after this Technical Programme Discussion Meeting.
Prof. A. C. Sinha, Vice Chancellor, Uttar Banga Krishi Viswavidyalaya welcomed the idea of holding the Technical Programme Discussion Meeting of BRNS, BARC at BCKV to facilitate the research workers in handling BRNS-funded research projects.
The Presidential address of Prof. Chittaranjan Kole, Vice-Chancellor, BCKV traversed different aspects on agricultural science from genomic plasticity to combat biotic and abiotic stresses to phyto-chemicals to prevent different diseases. He expressed his concern on the yield plateau in a number of crops. He hoped that new direction of research through nuclear technology may herald second “Green Revolution” in Eastern India. He was hopeful in establishing the “Regional Nuclear agricultural Research Centre” at Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya at the earliest.
Inaugural programme of the conference ended with the vote of thanks given by Prof. P. Hazra, Dean, Faculty of Horticulture and Convenor, BRNS-TPDM programme.
BRNS Technical Programme Discussion Meeting started from 2.00 p.m. on 7th March and continued upto 7.30 p.m. The meeting started at 9.30 am on 8th March and continued upto 5.30 p.m. Through this course of TPDM, 36 project proposals from nine Universities/Research Institutes viz. Uttar Banga Krishi Viswavidyalaya, West Bengal University of Animal Science and Fishery, Bihar Agricultural University, Kalyani University, Calcutta University, Visva-Bharati, Burdawn University, CRIJAF, and Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya was presented and subsequently discussed.
BRNS-TPDM started with the welcome address by Prof. P. Hazra, Dean, Faculty of Horticulture and Convenor, BRNS-TPDM. Later, Dr. Lalit Varshney, Member Secretary, RTAC/BRNS, Dr. S. P. Kale, Nuclear Agriculture & Biotechnology Division, BARC and Dr. Subrata Dutta, Programme Officer, BARC, made their remarks on the concept of TPDM and the perspective of holding the TPDM at BCKV. In this Technical Programme Discussion Meeting held on 7-8 March, 2013, 36 project proposals was presented under six theme areas before the panel of experts from both BARC and BCKV side.
Expert members from BARC side
Dr. Subrata dutta, Programme Officer, BARC
Dr. Lalit Varshney, Member Secretary, BRNS
Dr. S. Gautam, Head, Food Science and Safety Section, Food Technology Division, BARC
Dr. S. Jambhulkar: Head, EGFFS, Nuclear Agriculture & Biotechnology Division, BARC
Dr. Sukhendu Ghosh: Scientific Officer, Nuclear Agriculture & Biotechnology Division, BARC
Dr. Debanand Fulzele: Senior Scientist, Plant Biotechnology and Secondary Products Section, Nuclear Agriculture & Biotechnology Division, BARC
Dr. S. P. Kale: Technology Transfer and Collaborative Division, Nuclear Agriculture & Biotechnology Division, BARC
Expert members from BCKV side
Prof. C. Kole, Vice-Chancellor, BCKV
Prof. Biswapati Mandal, Pro-Vice- Chancellor, BCKV
Dr. Himadri Sen, Former Director, CRIJAF
Dr. Asit Pal, Professor, OUAT, Bhubaneswar
Prof. Ashim Choudhury, Former Director, Institute of Agricultural Science, Calcutta University Prof. B.B. Jana, Emeritus Professor, University of Kalyani
Prof. S. K. Mitra, Professor, Department of Fruits and Orchard Management, BCKV
Dr. Alok Kumar Nandi, Professor, Department of Horticulture, OUAT, Bhubaneswar
Dr. P. S. Munshi, Principal, Institute of Agricultural Science, Visva Varati, Santiniketan
Dr. Amita Pal, Professor, Bose Institute, Kolkata
The project proposals under different theme areas were Mutational analysis of calmodulin-binding protein gene family involved in abiotic stress responses in rice and Arabidopsis, Identification and characterisation of radiation-induced microRNAs in Phaseolus vulgaris, Genetic improvement of Limonium through Induced in vitro Mutagenesis and Molecular Characterization of Mutants, Application of Induced Mutation for development of Improved Drought and Salt Tolerant Rice lines, Radiation induced mutation for early duration, high yield and high lignin content in white seeded sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) and their molecular characterization, Use of radio isotopes towards regulation of fluoride movement into the plant body (Molecular characterization of mutants); Impact Assessment of Long Term Pesticide use in a Simulated Agro-ecosystem Through Radioactive Tracer Technology (Pesticide residue analysis); Impact of gamma irradiation for improvement of phenolic antioxidant properties in medicinal plants, Bioprospecting, characterizing bioactive molecules from Arnebia euchroma and Selaginella bryopteris and enhancing their in vitro production using nuclear radiation (Enhancing the level of bioactive compounds in medicinal plant); Radiation technology in conjunction with Pre-harvest management practices for extending the shelf life of mango and litchi grown in West Bengal, Effect of Irradiation and Packaging on Sapota Fruits (Achras zapota L.) under different storage condition, preserving shelf life, bioactive molecules and antioxidant potential of mango through irradiation, utilization of nuclear techniques for increasing the shelf-life of horticultural crops, nuclear radiation and its biological effects on post harvest storage of food grain and seeds in Agriculture, preservation of meat, fish and poultry by ionizing radiation ( Extension of shelf-life of perishables); Assessment of the utilization efficiency of the soil-phosphorus on mungbean (Vigna radiata L.) through isotope tracer techniques under terai alluvial situation of West Bengal, Improving Zn sequestration by cereals using 65Zn, Studies on the behaviour of fertilizer nitrogen applied to rice with special reference to different losses contributing to air and water pollution and their management, Understanding the dynamics of Phosphorus in soil-plant continuum using double isotopic labeling technique in wheat, Study on the improvement of nitrogen use efficiency in rice using 15N radio tracer technology, Evaluation of jute cultivars for sulfur-use efficiency and fate of applied sulphur in jute based cropping system using (35S ) tracer, and Does SRI (System of Rice Intensification) improve N and P use efficiency for rice? (Use-efficiency of applied plant nutrients); Identification of lentil genotype resistance against acetohydroxyacid synthatase (AHAS) inhibitors by induced mutation, Isolation of mutants having earliness and powdery mildew tolerance in garden peas (Pisum sativum L. var. hortense Neilr.), Genetic improvement of urdbean through induced mutation, Creation of male sterile loci in Brassica oleracea var botrytis through induce mutation, Induction and characterization of tossa jute (Corchorus olitorius) mutants for fibre yield attributes and quality parameters, Applied mutagenesis by gamma rays in snake gourd (Trichosanthes anguina L.), Studies on the effect of radiation-induced rootstock on the performance of cashew varieties, Isolation of mutant with synchronization in flowering, better resistance to diseases and longer shelf life in pointed gourd, Development, identification and molecular characterization of grasspea (Lathyrus sativus L.) mutants with lower levels of neurotoxin, Improvement of β-glucan content in high yielding variety of barley through mutation breeding, Improvement of Chrysanthemum and Tuberose by applied mutagenesis, Isolation of low fibre and high volatile content ginger types by applied mutagenesis, Mutagenic studies in papaya for development of new varieties, Improvement of traditional non-Basmati aromatic rice genotypes of northern part of West Bengal through induced mutation (Applied mutagenesis for improvement of crop plants).
It was the highest number of project proposals presented in one Technical Programme Discussion Meeting of BRNS, BARC, Govt. of India which amply indicated the enthusiasm among the scientists of BCKV and other Universities/Institutes of Eastern India on different aspects of nuclear agriculture. It was assured from the BRNS, BARC side that as many number of projects as possible will be sanctioned phase-wise so that researchers of BCKV and other Universities and Institutes of Eastern India will be benefitted for carrying out research programmes on different aspect of nuclear science in agricultural research. Research activities in this direction will get immense fill-up after the proposed infrastructure facilities will be created in the form of “Regional Nuclear Agricultural Research Centre” at Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya as the fall out of the conference and Technical Programme Discussion Meeting of BRNS, BARC, Govt. of India.