For the next five years, NBRI to focus on root biology
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The National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, is planning to concentrate on research in the field of root biology - an area still to be explored fully by scientists in India - for the next five years.
In the 12th five year plan, the institute has decided to focus more on soil and root as means to improve plant cultivation and yield in the coming years.
Scientists at the institute believe that with the rising temperature and global warming, the availability of water as well as nutrients in the soil, essential for healthy development of plants, will be scarce. The vegetation will be exposed to stress conditions and tolerant varieties will be a demand of the time. While till now, the plant research mainly focused on shoots, the opportunities available in the roots of the plant as well as the soil has not been explored.
"In the twelfth five year plan, we have proposed to undertake rigorous research on roots — how to make them absorb more water and nutrients even in stress conditions," said Dr CS Nautiyal, Director of the institute. Initially, the study will be undertaken on arabidopsis, a plant with simple structures. Once the postulates are ready, the research will continue on other plants like rice, he added.
Appreciating NBRI's initiative to study the roots, Professor SK Sopory, Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, said: "Not many people have studied what is happening below the soil in plants. It becomes very important to study how the roots behave to stress conditions in order to develop planting materials suitable for the coming days when there will be scarcity of water, land and energy; whereas the abiotic stress conditions like high temperature, drought, salinity etc will increase."
Sopory, a Padmshree awardee, was the chief guest at NBRI's annual day celebration today. He is known for his work on stress tolerant variety of plants for saline soil. He said that his university is also collaborating with NBRI for research on root-bacteria interaction in order to better understand the response of roots to various components of the soil.
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