A National Seminar on, “Physiological and Biotechnological Approaches to Improve Plant Productivity” was organized by
Centre for Plant Biotechnology, HSCS&T, Department of Science and Technology, Haryana from 15th to 17th March, 2008 in the Auditorium, College of Home Science, CCSHAU New Campus, Hisar.
The three days schedule of Seminar comprised of 4 plenary sessions, five technical sessions on seven different theme areas, a young scientist session and poster sessions. The abstracts were received from Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Chandigarh (U.T.), Chhatisgarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, U.P. and West Bengal states of the country. Theme areas of the seminar and the number of abstracts approved were as below:
1. Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering
2. Crop Physiology
3. Plant-Environment Interaction
4. Micro propagation and in vitro Conservation
5. Secondary Metabolites and Biofuels
6. Molecular Markers
7. Stress Management – Biotic and Abiotic
Registration of the delegates and participants was followed by inaugural session. Inauguration of the seminar began with welcome address by Dr. S. Sawhney followed by lighting of lamp by the Chief Guest, Dr. Deepak Pental, Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University, Guest of honour Sh. Pius Pandarwani, IAS and the members of the panel discussion. Thereafter, Dr. A.K. Dhawan, Director (T), CPB, welcomed the delegates and apprised them about achievements of CPB and the purpose of the seminar. This was followed by a penal discussion on, “Biotechnology in India : Perspectives and Prospects” initiated by Dr. Pental and supplemented by Shri Pius Panderwani, IAS, Financial Commissioner, DST, Haryana; Dr. A.N. Purohit (Dehradun), Dr. K.R. Koundal (IARI, New Delhi), Dr. K.C. Bansal (NRCPB, IARI, New Delhi), Dr. T. Mohapatra (NRCPB, IARI, New Delhi), Dr. R.N. Chibbar (Saskatoon, Canada), Dr. Subhash Minocha (USA).
A brilliant start of the panel discussion was made by the presentation of Dr. Deepak Pental who spoke on, “Does R&D hold any promise for Indian Agriculture”. Other penalists like Dr. A.N. Purohit, Dr. K.R. Kondal, Dr. K.C. Bansal, Dr. T. Mohapatra, Dr. R.N. Chibbar and Dr. Subhash Minocha discussed about various aspects of biotechnological approaches to improve plant productivity.
The schedule of seminar covered four plenary sessions having ten invited speakers viz. Dr. Satish Maheshwari, Dr. R.N. Chibbar, Dr. S. Minocha, Dr. K.C. Bansal, Dr. K.R. Koundal, Dr. J.P. Khurana, Dr. T. Mohapatra, Dr. Rakesh Minocha, Dr. R.K. Kohli and Dr. V.K. Kochhar.
There were nine lead lectures in various technical sessions by eminent scientists like Dr. Renu Deswal, Dr. Poonam Dhawan, Dr. S. Mazumdar-Leighton, Dr. Swaraj Kumari, Dr. S.K. Sharma, Dr. R.S. Sangwan, Dr. S.V. Bhardwaj, Dr. Sunita Kochhar and Dr. A. Chaudhary.
KKNF Gold Medalist lecture was delivered by Dr. Shalinder Kaur, PU, Chandigarh.
There were 16 oral presentations covering 7 different themes in the technical sessions. Besides above scientists, various other eminent experts like Dr. V.K. Choudhary, Dr. V.K. Gupta, Dr. P.K. Mehta, Dr. Vinni Arora, Dr. S. Kumar, Dr. Rupa Dhawan, Dr. Narayan Rishi, Dr. Santosh Dhillon, Dr. J.P. Dhindsa and Dr. Neelam Sawhney participated as Chairman/Co-chairman/Rapporteurs of different sessions.
The following delegates made oral presentations of their findings : Dr. Kalika Kuhar, Dr. Shrina Bhandari, Dr. Sarla Malhotra, Dr. Daisy Batish, Dr. Rupa S. Dhawan, Dr. Ishwar Singh, Dr. Raman Saini, Dr. Pratibha Misra, Dr. Divya Bisht, Dr. Neelam Poonar, Dr. Minakshi Jattan, Dr. Rekha Malik, Dr. Santosh Dhillon, Dr. Suruchi Malhotra, Dr. Mohan Kumar, Dr. Ranjana Gupta
Young scientist award session was held among 22 participants i.e. Shashi, Neha Goel, Gitanjali Rout, Priyambda R. Biswal, Laxmi, Divya Kaushik, Renu Singh, Vandana Vinayak, Pooja, Sonia Sharma, Vinod Goyal, Rakesh Yadav, Geeta Prakash, M.K. Bharti, Anita Rani, Shailesh Kumar, Poonam Sharma, C. Rani, Sarita Jaiswal, Raman Chawla,, Mamta Sahu and Sarita Devi who were below 35 years of age. Based on evaluation by 9 judges like Dr. Veena Sawhney, Dr. S.K. Sawhney, Dr. Poonam Dhawan, Dr. Jaipal Singh, Dr. V.K. Gupta, Dr. V.K. Kochhar, Dr. S. Minocha, Dr. Rakesh Minocha and Dr. S. Sawhney on different criterias such as content and quality, experimental design and execution, presentation and discussion, an average score was obtained. Accordingly, a merit list was prepared and seven outstanding presentations were selected for this award. The ‘Young Scientist Award’ winners were Sh. Raman Chawla, Geeta Prakash, Divya Kaushik, Vinod Goyal, Vandana Vinayak, Anita Rani, Poonam Sharma. ‘KKNF young scientist award’ was won by Dr. Sarita Jaiswal for outstanding oral presentation and Dr. Judith Leisan for outstanding poster presentation.
Two poster sessions covering seven different theme areas were held. Society for Sustainable Agriculture and Resource Management (SAARM) decided to award best posters. The committee of these awards consists of Dr. Swaraj Kumari, Dr. R.N. Chibbar, Dr. A.K. Chhabra and Dr. Aditi Arya. Dr. R.K. Behl, President (SAARM) gave awards to following winners : Dr. Jasmeet Kaur Abat, Dr. Renu, Dr. Deepika Kalkal, Dr. Sumina Sheikh, Dr. Saikal Gantait and Dr. Aditi Arya. The following delegates presented the research findings through poster display : Dr. Sunita Dalal, Surender Kumar, Mahesh Kumar, Saikat Gantait, Minerva Ghani, Shallu Thakur, Ranjana Gupta, Dr. Vinod Goyal, Dr. Preeti Chaturvedi, Dr. Leisan Judith, Dr. Shukla Saluja, Dr. Harvinder Pal Singh, Ved Parkash Sharma, Sunil Mittal, Dr. Renu Munjal, Jasmeet Kaur Abat, Sukham Madaan, Anita Kumari, Anuj Kumar Ahlawat, Sheetal Chawla, Manju Rani, Deepika Kalkal, Sameena Sheikh, Jyoti Rana, Anil Duhan, Rajesh Kumar Chawla, Virender Singh, Aditya Kumar, Yuvraj Singh, Meenakshi Bhardwaj, Aquila Bant, Dr. Pramila Pandey, Dr. Narender S. Pandey, Renu Singh, Pooja Arora, Rakesh Yadav, Dr. Vandana Vinayak, Mamta Sharma, Champa Rani, Basanti, Charu Mitra, Lakshmi Prayaga, Lakshmanna P., Bharat Pareek, Hemant Sharma, Anju Tanwar, Suman, Sundeep Jaglan, Neelam Poonar, Zerihun, Geetika Ahuja, Rohtas Singh, Rajwant Kalia, Sanjay Kalia, Kamla Malik, Subhash Kajla, Aditi Arya, Anil Kumar, Sunil Kumar, Rakesh Kumar, Manisha Mangal.
Some highlights of the deliberations of the seminar are :
Plenary sessions (1 - IV)
Prof. Deepak Pental in panel discussion highlighted the dire need for improving plant productivity and stressed that the biotech crops have a great potential. He further pointed out that the transgenics raised by his group had better quality/quantity of oil and were now ready for field trials.
Dr. K.R. Koundal, Joint Director (Research), IARI stressed that development of GM crops is the only hope for developing countries like India and these must be adopted in a big way.
Dr. K.C. Bansal, NRCPB, was of a similar opinion, he exphasized the role of basic sciences, especially Plant Biotechnology in providing large inputs for achieving targets.
Prof. R.N. Chhibbar stressed that let food be considered medicine to ensure public health and standards of living. Therefore, improving quality of crop products should also get top priority with enhancement of yields.
Prof. S. Minocha impressed upon metabolic engineering of specific step(s) in the pathways through biotechnological means have the potential of modulating the entire expression, that can be usefully exploited.
Dr. T. Mohapatra, NRCPB, IARI stressed on the significance of biotechnology in further improving the adopted crops through whole genome mapping and marker-assisted selection.
Dr. A.N. Purohit showed his optimism in the molecular approaches with the ultimate gains transferred to the farmers and common man.
Sh. P. Panderwani, Financial Commissioner, HSCS&T, Department of Science and Technology, Haryana expressed his happiness over the holding of such a purposeful seminar and extended his full support for the purpose.
Technical sessions (I - V)
Dr. Renu Deswal discussed the nitric oxide signalling system and its components in Brassica. She reported major S-nitrosylated proteins in B. juncea and K. pinata and suggested similar NO signal transduction pathway to be operative in plants and animals. About ten novel S-nitrosylated protein targets are reported for the first time in any organism.
Dr. S. Majumdar Leighton described that incorporating proteinase inhibitor in target plant spp. is not always successful in deterring the insects. Sometimes insects adapt themselves to inhibitor and they are not effective.
Dr. Swaraj Kumari emphasized that Root ROS (Reactive oxygen species) plays an important role in determining plant responses to P and K deficiency.
Dr. S.C. Maheshwari took the audience to nostalgic journey of heterochromatin and chromosomes. He emphasized on polycomb genes, their discovery in Arabidopsis and how they are important in integrating stem cells, totipotency and cancer.
Dr. R.N. Chibbar suggested that we should not only look into increase in crop productivity but also should take into account the quality of crop in respect of health and purpose it is to be used.
Dr. T. Mohapatra explained that conventional crop improvement methods have limitations for which newer approaches are required. He discussed the use of molecular markers in improvement of crops like rice.
Dr. S.K. Sharma emphasized the prospects of trees like Jatropha, Pongomia and Casuarina for production of biofuels and bioenergy in salt affected areas.
Dr. V.K. Kochar suggested that there is a need to create unique biomass programme - screening for the suitable flora by each country. It should be technically made possible to replace the petrochemicals.
Dr. R.S. Sangwan discussed the various alkaloids present in Withania somnifera and their biological activity.
Dr. S.V. Bhardwaj emphasized the need to develop herbal formulations to control virus diseases of potential plants like Asparagus, Azadirachta etc.
Dr. Sunita Kochar also emphasized the use of sugar industry wastes to ameliorate oxidative stress.
Dr. Shalinder Kaur delivered KKNF Gold Medalist lecture. She discussed the allelopathic interference of Ageratum with some crop plants.
Dr. J.P. Khurana discussed the role of cryptochromes and flowering in case of Brassica. He has also sequenced and characterized Cry2 gene from both Brassica and rice with the aim of raising transgenic plants with altered flowering time.
Dr. R.K. Kohli discussed the importance of invasive species in disturbing ecosystem and how to manage it.
Dr. A. Chaudhary discussed the significance of IPR and the need of scientist to be aware of its importance and uses.
Valedictory function was organized on 17th March 2008 with Dr. B.L. Jalali, Ex Director of Research, CCSHAU, Hisar as a Chief Guest. Awardees of poster and young scientist sessions were given prizes and medals by the Chief Guest.