An educational visit to Indian Council of Agricultural Research – Directorate of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Research (ICAR-DMAPR), Boriavi in Anand district of Gujarat was arranged for B.Sc. Agriculture students on 9th August, 2019 by School of Agriculture, Rai University. ICAR was established DMAPR (formerly it was National Research Centre for Medicinal & Aromatic Plants) on November 24, 1992 in a 20.2 hectare irrigated land. The farm has 19.18 ha of land of which 4 ha is for residential complex.
The aim of the visit was to provide students the knowledge of plant tissue culture techniques, latest equipments in physiology, pathology and entomology laboratories, so that they can help the farmers for better crop production. During the visit, initially students visited about 2 ha land wherein herbal garden with about 200 species of medicinal plants were well cultivated and also in about 6 ha, a Arboretum with about 110 species of medicinal trees/herbs were well maintained. During the visit, Mrs. Parul M. Purohit explained about the importance of Plant Genetic Resources activities, collection, evaluation, conservation and documentation of germplasm of medicinal and aromatic plants. She also explained the techniques to grow plants by plant tissue culture methods, DNA Finger printing and students were also allowed to visit the plant tissue culture room. Students were demonstrated practically regarding all the basic steps involved in plant tissue culture in a sequential manner as below:
1) Preparation of suitable nutrient medium: Students learned the preparations of MS medium, White’s medium, and B5 medium that were needed for tissue culture.
2) Selection of explant: Students were explained about various types of explants to be used in tissue culture like axillary buds, leaf and stem segments, root tip, shoot tip, anther, ovary and endosperm.
3) Sterilization of the explant: Students saw how various explants were sterilized by using different types of disinfectants like sodium hypochlorite (2%), silver nitrate (1%) calcium hypochlorite (9-10%), bromine water (1-2%), mercuric chloride (0.1-1%), hydrogen peroxide etc. and different types of antibiotics.
4) Inoculation of explant: Students were demonstrated how sterile explant should be inoculated on the surface of the solidified nutrient medium under aseptic (free from contamination) condition by use of Laminar air flow for this inoculation process.
5) Incubation: Incubation was done at 25+/- 2 0C, with a relative humidity of 50-60% with 16 hours of photoperiod. After defined period of incubation, an unorganized and undifferentiated (no root and shoot) mass of cells called callus was obtained from each explant. Thus, they observed how root and shoot directly develop from the explant after incubation.
6) Transfer of callus (subculture) and regeneration: Students were able to practically visualise how the callus was obtained from incubation of explant transferred into another medium and reincubated. Thereafter, plantlet regenerates from the callus with the induction of roots and shoot directly from the callus.
7) Hardening or acclimatization: Finally students were explained about the hardening process that is the gradual exposure of the plantlets for acclimatization or adjustment to the environmental conditions and how Transfer of plantlets to the field was done.
Thereafter, students had visited Physiology lab, wherein Dr. Kuldeep A. Kalariya had explained about the studies of floral biology, breeding behaviour and search for source of resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses studies carried out in the institute. He also explained about the portable photosynthetic system and how heteroatomic gas molecules absorb radiation at specific infrared (IR) wavebands, and gave knowledge regarding how each gas has a characteristic absorption spectrum. He also narrated how Infrared gas analyzers (IRGAs) measure the reduction in transmission of IR wavebands caused by the presence of CO2 between the radiation source and a detector and concluded that the reduction in transmission is a function of the concentration of CO2. Students learned that the only gas normally present in the air with an absorption spectrum overlapping that of CO2 is water vapour. Since water vapour is usually present in the air at much higher concentrations than CO2, this interference is significant, but may overcome simply by drying the air or measuring H2O concentration by another IRGA. Students were showcased practical demonstration of an infrared gas analyser based CO2 and H2O measurement system in a non-destructive manner. Thus, a detailed briefing was done about the system as how it can measure photosynthesis, transpiration rate alongwith other useful related parameters and how fully-automatic, complete and independent control of CO2, H2O temperature and light for response curves (i.e. fast A/Ci curves, light response, etc.) can be done.
Lastly, Dr. A.Chinapolaiah explained about the production technology of the lemon grass and also students saw the petri plate culture of various diseases in the pathology lab. All the students and staff members had enjoyed the technical Endeavor and the entire visit was very informative and had given good learning experience.