Major Research Achievements

Major Research Achievements

The following are the major achievements

in the recent years to increase yield and quality of the produce.

  1. System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
  2. Precision farming
  3. Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI)
  4. Installation of Automatic Weather Station (AWS) for decentralized fore-casting and issue of crop advisory to enhance crop production.
  5. Establishment of Gene Bank

Farm mechanization

TNAU has so far released 151 agricultural implements. The Chiesel plough implement released during 1996 is a note worthy contribution by TNAU for subsoil ploughing, moisture conservation and improving yields. Rice transplanter of 4, 6 & 8 row  have been successfully introduced  in Thanjavur and industry people are lending these machineries on rental basis to the farmers. Conoweeder introduced by the University are being widely adopted by the farmers for SRI rice cultivation, which has been improved into a power weeder to reduce the drudgery.

Bioinformatics

Dept. of Bioinformatics  is one of the Distributed Information Sub Centre (DISC) interlinked through satellite communication systems, providing information support in specific areas of Biotechnology and helping in the diffusion of scientific information across the network facilitating the  establish linkage between scientific communities at national and international level.

Plant Biotechnology and Plant Molecular Biology

Plant Biotechnology and Plant Molecular Biology is being employed  to develop crop varieties / hybrids resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses and to improve the nutritional quality. Dept. of Biotechnology also developed Bt brinjal varieties released by the TNAU which is waiting for the Govt. approval for release and commercial cultivation.  Pyramiding of blast and bacterial leaf blight resistant genes into popular rice varieties of Tamil Nadu through Marker Assisted Selection is focused.

Nanotechnology

TNAU being first State Agricultural University in India to establish an exclusive Department of Nano Science & Technology is in the process toinitiate research in the cross-cutting areas, working on nano-inputs (nano-fertilizers, nano-herbicides, nano-pesticides), biosensors (seed sensor and early detection of diseases), food systems (nano-films and nano encapsulation of functional foods) besides nano-remediation of pollutants in soil and aquatic systems.

Biofuel research

The Department of Bioenergy has designed and fabricated a trans-esterification plant of 250 litres / day production capacity. The Centre of Excellence in Bio-Fuels has successfully produced hybrid derivatives like CJH 13, CJH 14 and CJH 15 which are under evaluation, in addition to identifying plus trees and multiplication of such seedlings in Neem, Pungam, Simarouba and Mahua. The seedlings are provided to farmers and biodiesel industries for establishing large scale commercial plantations. Hybrids in sweet sorghum developed are under evaluation for production of bio-ethanol. As much as 7000 stakeholders have been benefitted during the past four years through  81 trainings offered to farmers, staff of bio-fuel companies, personnel of line departments.

Hi- Tech cultivation of fruit crops

High density planting and canopy management in mango resulted in 88 per cent increase in yield over conventional system of planting. Judicious use of gibbrellic acid and paclobutrazol in mango was found to induce off-season fruits as well as encourage regular bearing. Banana is one of the important fruit crops of Tamil Nadu. High density planting, drip fertigation, spraying  sulphate of potash in banana are the practices promoted to improve the yield and quality of fruits. The high yielding red fresh papaya will be released in 2011.

Hi-Tech vegetable technologies

Hybrid vegetables are produced with the view to increase the yield combining other qualitative parameters viz., pest resistance and nutritive value. There are few hybrids of tomato, brinjal and ashgourd are in the pipeline.

Special attention was taken to train the select farmers in seed production technologies of hybrids / varieties.

Protected vegetable cultivation technologies

Standardized technologies for off-season production as well as to get quality produce in tomato and capsicum in protected structures like shade net and poly-houses are now recommended to farmers.

Hi-Tech Floriculture Technologies

Hi-tech flower production technologies and protected cultivation of cut chrysanthemum and anthurium and export packing technology of jasmine to extend the shelf-life up to  72 hours has been standardized.

Spices and Plantation Crops Technologies

High density planting system in cashew  accommodating 500 plants/ha would yield 3000 kg nuts/ha from the seventh year of planting is yet another research achievement to rule the north eastern parts of Tamil Nadu state and to enhance the standard of living of the farmers.

Profitable farm forestry technologies

A superior clone in Casuarina (MTP CA.1) as a source of short rotation, industrial pulp wood species with cellulose content of more than 45 per cent has been developed to suit the industrial demand.  Training on the cultivation of  the two thornless bamboo specie Bambusa vulgaris and Bambusa balcooa highly found suitable to grow in all parts of Tamil Nadu was offered  to 5000 farmers and 130 horticultural and forest officers from different parts of the state. Technologies on vegetative multiplication of bamboo seedlings from the one year old culm without rooting hormone has been developed. Pungam  an oil bearing tree can be cultivated economically  in a variety of soils.

Cropping system

Among the different cropping systems evaluated for irrigated uplands of western zone of Tamil Nadu. Cotton + green gram – maize – sunflower proved the highest production efficiency followed by beetroot – green gram – maize + cowpea over the existing cropping system so as to achieve  higher economic efficiencies over the existing system.

Organic farming

Eight model organic farms have been established all over Tamil Nadu in collaboration with National Centre for Organic Farming. Package of practices for organic agriculture have been developed for rice, cotton, sugarcane, vegetables, banana and coconut. Application of 100  per cent N as FYM + bio compost + neem cake increased productivity and improved the soil fertility status besides generation of organic sources and fetching  high premium price for organically grown crops. Maize – cotton – green manure was superior in terms of yield, economics and nutrient uptake under organic farming.

Biological control of pests

Mass production technology for egg parasitoid, Trichogramma spp. and Nuclear Polyhedrosis Viruses of Helicoverpa armigera and Spodoptera litura has been standardised. TNAU has taken immediate initiative to contain the population of papaya mealy bug, Paracoccus marginatus by conducting awareness campaigns throughout Tamil Nadu. Successful integrated pest management  technologies were perfected and recommended to the farmers during the past two years to contain the pest in an effective manner. The three encyrtid parasitoids viz., Acerophagus papayae, Anagyrus loecki and Pseudleptomastix Mexican   imported from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through National Bureau for Agriculturally Important Insects, Bangalore by mass multiplying about 20.0 lakh parasitoids to release in farmers field.  During 2002, an invasive pest of sugarcane wooly aphid devastating the sugarcane crop was also managed with the predators Dipha and Micromus by suitably mass processing and releasing   in farmers’ field, in all the districts of Tamil Nadu. A parasitoid Encarsia brought from Assam was multiplied and also released in sugarcane areas so that the pest could be consume   within a period of 1-2 years.

Booster nutrients supplements

Booster nutrients produced and distributed for the benefit of farmers are; TNAU coconut tonic, TNAU Pulse Wonder, TNAU Maize Maxim, TNAU Cotton Plus, TNAU Groundnut Rich and TNAU Sugarcane Booster are the booster nutrients particular in crop production fetching more demand from farmers.

Plant growth promotors

Foliar spray of TNAU PGR Consortia III @ 1.25 per cent at stray flowering and boll development stages for increasing seed cotton yield by 23  per cent.  Root feeding of coconut tonic @ 200 ml per palm, twice a year is recommended to reduce button shedding and to minimize the production of barren-nuts besides improving the size and quality of the nuts within six months.  Mixed bio-inoculant – Azophos to decrease cost on biofertilizers (half the cost) and lesser cost of transport for bulk inoculants.

Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus

Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus, an Endophytic nitrogen fixer exclusive for sugarcane 50-75 Kg per ha.  Colonizing in the roots is capable of solubilizing phosphate, iron and Zn besides fixing 50-75 kg/ha of nitrogen.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal biofertilizer production by rural women

As the application of Arbuscular maycorrhizae enhances the mobilization of P and uptake and also induces the resistance to crops against fungal pathogens.   Women self-help groups in various districts were trained to take up mass production of AM fungi for economic benefits to produce large quantity of inoculums.

Commercialisation of Technologies

During 2009-10, five technologies / products viz., TNAU-Herbal insect repellant, TNAU-Multi row power weeder for SRI, TNAU-Insect egg removal device, TNAU-Liquid biofertilizers inoculants and TNAU-Solar crop drier (Tunnel type) have been commercialized through six different private entrepreneurs by way of signing MOU with the firms. In addition, a MOU has been signed with M/S Bioseed Research India (P) Ltd., Hyderabad for collaborative research on the use of Cry gene of Bt from TNAU. As a high end activity to nurture entrepreneurship, Agri Business Incubator (ABI-TNAU) in collaboration with ICRISAT has been established during 2009-10. Through National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), Ministry of Science and Technology, GOI, New Delhi, the following technologies have been commercialized.

 

1 TNAU Coconut tonic 7 TNAU Master Trap
2 TNAU Panchagavya 8 Ready to cook Mix Food from Pearl millet
3 Herbal Insect Repellant 9 KKM1 Herbal Insect Repellant
4 Solar Crop Drier 10 TNAU Insect Egg Removal Device
5 TNAU strains of Pseudomonas & Trichoderma 11 TNAU – SRI Power Weeder
6 Cry2Ai gene  

Important Technologies Developed

  • A new laboratory method called “Agroinfection” has been standardised in collaboration with Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU), Madurai for assessing the resistance / susceptibility of black gram and green gram genotypes against Mungbean Yellow Mosaic Virus (MYMV).
  • Micropropagation protocols were standardized for Aloe vera, Stevia rebaudiana, Coleus forskholi, Gymnema, Phyllanthus amarus, rose, banana, chrysanthemum species and potato.
  • Establishment of cell culture for extraction of metabolites from Aloe vera, Stevia, Coleus, Phyllanthus, Glymnema and Fenugreek, was standardized.
  • Technologies for safe utilization of distillery spent wash at 100 kl per ha followed by two ploughing in dry land agriculture was very effective in improving the germination, growth, nutrient content and yield of crops.
  • Seed hardening with the distillery spent wash at 5 per cent concentration was found to improve the seed germination and growth in crops.
  • Slope stabilization technology was developed which involves combination of vegetation and Gabion structure to protect slope from rainfall erosion.
  • A high rate reactor for Biomethanation of rubber and coffee processing effluents were developed and demonstrated.
  • A Biogas information portal Database was developed which is available at http://www.icartnaubiogas.in.
  • Pheromone technology for brinjal fruit borer, rice stem borer and cotton boll worm was perfected
  • TNAU stored product pest management gadgets were developed
  • IPM for coconut eriophyid mite control was standardised
  • Pesticide residues at farm gate level in farm produce including milk are being assessed.
  • Site Specific Nutrient Management (SSNM) technology for rice in Cauvery Delta zone of Tamil Nadu was developed.
  • Leaf color chart (LCC) guided N application in rice was demonstrated
  • Red gram was identified as an indicator host for the early deduction of basal stem rots pathogen in coconut gardens.
  • Application of Zinc sulphate @ 25 kg/ha in addition to recommended N, P, K & S boosted the pulses yield by 18 per cent.
  • Combined inoculation of Rhizobium, Phosphobacteria and PGPR (Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria) increase 17 per cent of grain yield in blackgram and green gram.
  • Application of nanotechnology to enhance the bioavailability of phyto-chemicals in health foods, techniques for isolation and characterization of bioactive principles viz., lycopene and carotene in tomato were developed.
  • A low cost evapo-cooling chamber with temperature in the range of 26-28°C and RH ranging from 80 to 86 per cent was designed for on farm storage of fruits and vegetables.
  • A high fibre diet as an intervention strategy has been developed towards reducing obesity  with low calorie diet formulation which included ingredients like fenugreek seeds, wheat bran, cow pea and bengal gram having low glycaemic index of 67  for management of weight, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases

Patents Obtained

TNAU scientists are innovative in their research and develop new technologies and apply for patenting the same.  So far seven patents were obtained and 18 findings have been applied for approval.

Future research

  • Harnessing  output / achivements of organizations elsewhere and build there on
  • Taking  new initiatives in its area of strength
  • Providing  leadership to fellow organizations, emphasis of quality research that will be reflected by publications is highly ranked journals and patents obtained.
  • Aiming for publications in hoping ranked journals and patent obtained.