Growing mobility, intensifying global competition for students and talent, changing demands and new methods of education are some of the factors that are forcing new innovations through cutting edge research in the field of agriculture. The establishment of Centre of Excellence for Innovations at the Agricultural College and Research Institute is one such activity of the Government of Tamil Nadu.


Agricultural College and Research Institute (AC & RI), Madurai is one of the constituent colleges of TNAU celebrating its Golden Jubilee for its services to the student and farming community across the nation. Improving research facilities of this institute is very vital considering the expertise of scientists those who are involved in teaching and research. Combining excellence in teaching and research by establishing the centre for doing focused research in crops and crop production technologies suitable for southern districts of Tamil Nadu will form the theme of this centre. This needs establishment of large scale research facilities to use the tools of science with large investments in state of the art equipment and associated infrastructure. The opportunity for establishing the “Centre of Excellence for Innovations” will further boost its services since the centre will work towards

1) Providing access to research expertise and equipment,

2) Building regional clusters of technological excellence,

3) Advancing research and adding value to technology,

4) Facilitating partnerships and collaborations,

5) Training and mentoring entrepreneurs and

6) Establishing incubating startups.

Project strategy

The State Government has supported the creation of Centre of Innovation at AC & RI, Madurai to take up advanced research in the focus areas of Southern agro climatic ecosystems of Tamil Nadu.

  1. Approach to quality education to all undergraduate and postgraduate students through high end research innovations in the fields of agriculture and horticulture.
  2. Establishing approaches to creating value from research, in collaboration with allied enterprise, social and cultural partners.
  3. Establishing partnerships for improved education and training to have continuous support to innovations and entrepreneurship
  4. Establishing viable innovation system which can remain as the base for sustainability of education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship at national and global level.

Project Goals

  • Focusing on high end research to understand the molecular basis for the accumulation of micronutrients in small millets and exploiting the process of value addition for better human nutrition and healthcare.
  • Combing the classical and molecular tools of plant breeding to understand the genetic diversity of small millets and major horticultural crops to speed- up the process of evolving superior genotypes for framers’ cultivation.
  • Understanding the physiological and phenological basis associated with abiotic stress tolerance to evolve suitable crop management technologies.
  • Conducting soil quality research to identify major constraints associated with the cultivation of small millets and major horticultural crops to give suitable nutrient management practices to the farmers
  • Understanding the role of Integrated pest and disease management in major agricultural and horticultural crops and formulating novel bio-control agent’s and bio-inoculants.
  • Surveying the socio-economic factors associated with sustainable and successful crop production in Southern Districts of Tamil Nadu by having inter-institutional collaborations at TNAU level.

Expected Outcome

  • Development of small millets with high iron and zinc and synthesis of value added products.
  • Development of crop varieties of major agricultural and horticultural crops with resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.
  • Development of nutritive value added products to safeguard the human health
  • Development of suitable IPDM practices and new bio-control agents for the control of important pests and diseases.
  • Development of soil quality assessment and management practices, integrated nutrient management practice, bio-inoculants and suitable crop management technologies.
  • Linking education, research, and entrepreneurship through innovations.

Complete list of Facilities is as follows

Plant Growth Facilities

  • Hi-tech greenhouse
  • Net house
  • Plant growth chamber

Microbial Culture Facility

  • Autoclaves
  • Laminar air flow chambers
  • Environmental shakers
  • Anaerobic glove chamber
  • Anaerobic incubators
  • Biosafety cabinet
  • Electronic colony counters
  • Compound microscope with digital imaging facility
  • Phase contrast and fluorescence microscope
  • Incinerator

Plant Tissue Culture Facility

  • Laminar air flow chamber
  • Stereozoom microscope
  • Plant growth chamber
  • Net house for hardening

Biochemistry / Molecular Biology / Bioinformatics Facility

  • Electronic balance
  • Circulating water bath
  • Colorimeter
  • Spectrophotometer – UV
  • Table top ice maker
  • Plant sample grinder
  • Tissue grinder for DNA extraction
  • Benchtop refrigerated centrifuge / microfuges
  • Deep freezers (-20°c / -40°c / -80°c)
  • Elisa multimode microplate reader
  • Gradient PCR machine
  • Real time PCR
  • Electrophoresis units for DNA and protein analyses
  • Gel documentation unit
  • Hybridization oven
  • Water purification system
  • Workstations / Linux server for genome data analyses
  • Analytical Facility
  • IR digester
  • Fume hood
  • Vacuum concentrator
  • Rotary evaporator
  • Spectrophotometer- UV – VIS – NIR
  • X-ray fluorescence analyser
  • Amino acid analyser
  • Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • Freeze drier – Lyophilizer

Food science research

  • Rice milling meter
  • Retort packaging machine
  • De huller with grader polisher
  • Destoner for small millets


Project Director (Centre of Excellence in Innovation)
Professor & Head (Department of Biotechnology)
Agricultural College and Research Institute
Madurai – 625 104
E-mail: biotechmac@tnau.ac.in
Phone: 0452 – 2423161