Plant tissue culture (PTC) is one of the most important branches of Biotechnology having tremendous applied value and thus may be considered as an important aid to modern agriculture. Being indispensable for propagation of plants they are practiced in many parts of India but little work has so far been done to exploit this important tool for production of quality planting material in this part of the country. To fill up this lacuna a commercial plant tissue culture laboratory and green house complex was established. The basic objective of the tissue culture activities, done in this unit, is to provide quality planting materials for horticulture, forestry, silviculture and the like.
The sophisticated PTC facility of the Council comprises (1) PTC lab having a media preparation lab; an inoculation/culture lab; a growth/culture room (temperature and photoperiodism maintained at 25± 2ºC and 16 hr light / 8 hr dark) with a capacity of 50000 TC plants per annum and (2) a modern green house complex (with fan pad cooling system) having three units, where one unit comprises 3000 sq ft. and the other two comprises 6000 sq ft. each.
In the PTC Laboratory micropropagation of Horticultural, Forestry and Medicinal plants in vitro including R&D on cost minimization is done. Further, R& D effort in introduction of new plants is pursued.
The green house facility is utilized for propagation of plants through green house technology, field trials and other demonstration activities in farmers’ field, sale of hardened TC raised plants, training & human resource development programmes.
Besides keeping the PTC unit functional, the scientific staff associated with the Biotechnology & Plant Tissue Culture Unit are engaged in many Research & Development activities.
Different types of plants are being produced through tissue culture which include – bamboo, banana, gerbera, orchid and medicinal plants like Antamool, Aswagandha, Sarpagandha, Aloe vera etc. to meet the need of different R & D activities along with catering to the planting community at large.
The green house complex at Banabitan, is being utilized for the following purposes,
i. Hardening of plants raised through tissue culture in the present laboratory as well as in other Institutes,
ii. Maintaining elite varieties of plants like orchids, Aloe vera etc.
iii. Maintaining different species of bamboo, Jatropha etc.
iv. Growing elite varieties of plants for other Institutes (exotic var. of mustard, tobacco, mint).
v. Sale of plants already produced (Horticultural, Forest, Medicinal Plants). The TC banana plants have been supplied to Deptt. of Agriculture , Govt. of Tripura as well as different NGOs and farmers.
a. The Council has successfully raised bamboo plantation in 25 ha of area, – 20 ha in North Bengal (Gossairhat Beat, Moraghat Range, Jalpaiguri Division). In the same plot Citronella plantation as intercrop has been done by the Forest Department. The rest 5 ha plantation has been done in Western Circle (Raskundu Beat, Amlagora Range, Rupnarayan Division) with cultivation of TC raised Aloe vera as intercrop. The work has been done in collaboration with Department of Forest, Govt. of West Bengal with the help of the local people (mainly those coming from tribal villages).
Trial for introduction and performance of a new species of bamboo (Phylostachys pubescens) has been started in collaboration with Darjeeling KVK at Kalimpong. The project is sponsored by Dept. of Biotechnology, Govt. of India.
b. Reclamation of waste land:
An arid waste land (5 ha) has been reclaimed through bamboo plantation in Birbhum District (Block – Rajnagar, Mouza – Daldala, Village – Ramdanga) with the help of two Self Help Group (SHGs) of a local tribal village . The tribal people has cultivated Pegion pea (pulse), papaya, seasonal vegetables as intercrop in the same field, for augmenting their income. Further work in the area is being proposed.
c. Study on different species of bamboo in South Bengal through molecular and morphological means has just been started in collaboration with Ramkrishna Vivekananda University, Narendrapur Campus.
A trial started in collaboration with Dept. of Botany, University of Calcutta with Withania somnifera and Rauvolfia serpentina plants to induce immunity. In PTC facility calli as well as plants of both plants have been raised through TC. Extraction of toxin of leaf blight disease has been successful and trial on its effect on the plants is in progress.
R & D trials for raising disease free seeds of potato has been started in collaboration with BCKV, Mohanpur, Nadia in the districts of Birbhum , Bankura, Nadia & Hooghly. Raising of tubers through potato TC plants has been successful in our PTC facility.
A project entitled “Development of 400 acres of vested lands at Narayangarh – Phase-I” with BCKV is under way at Lipidanga village, Markunda Mouza, Kashipur G.P., Narayangarh Block, West Midnapur Zilla Parisad, where 27 acres of vested land is being developed with the involvement of five(5) ST SHGs of the area. The plantation has been completed comprising 2800 nos. fruit plants (Ber, Mango- 6 Vars, Guava, Sweet Lime, Lemon) and 400 nos. TC bamboo plants (Bambusa bambos). Vegetables production as intercrop is being done. The whole programme is aimed at sustainable livelihood generation of the area involving Horticulture, Pisciculture and Animal Husbandry Schemes.
a) DHESTBT, GoI Jatropha Micromission project has been completed in a 3 ha land at Garhmandaran, Mandaran G.P., Goghat-II Block, Kamarpukur, Hooghly, under Hooghly Zilla Parisad. Subsequently plantation in 5 ha of land at Digsui DVC canal embankment of Digsui - Hoera G.P., Chinsurah - Mogra Block, Hooghly District (Project run through NREGA mode) has been done.
b) A project on Bio-kerosene from Jatropha seeds at Chhatna – I G.P. Chhatna Block, Dt. Bankura, had started with planting of 5000 plants in 2 ha land by 1(one) women SHG (ST). The plants are thriving well. The second phase of the programme involves installation of an oil expeller to be operated by the same SHG and the extracted oil from seeds of the plantation is to be used by the group themselves for home lighting and fuel purpose.
c) Establishment of Jatropha curcas gene bank & its utilization for identification of Molecular Marker & different propagation techniques This R&D project is being executed in collaboration with BCKV, Mohanpur, Nadia. The work involves selection of Jatropha lines with high oil content and DNA profiling. The selected lines will be used for future breeding programme.
d) R & D Project on Jatropha curcas with B. B. College, Asansol, NIT Durgapur & Management Institute Durgapur:A captive plantation of around 140 acres has been done at Asansol area, Dist. Burdwan. An oil expeller has been installed at B.B.College and the crude oil from seed obtained have been blended with Kerosene as well as Diesel in different proportions and tested in Pressure Stove, Pump Set, Power Tiller, Tractor and even Automobile. NIT Durgapur has tested continuous running of motor with the blended diesel. Management Institute of Durgapur has developed wick lantern using crude Jatropha oil as fuel and distributed to villagers of Muktatore GP, Bankura. The Programme has been very successful.
This project is being executed in collaboration with Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. The project aims at minimization of loss from production at farmers’ field to marketing of different Agri-horticultural crops. The project is being implemented at (i) South 24 Parganas (Baruipur and Mathurapur Blocks) (ii) Purulia (Manbazar and Jhalda Blocks) (iii) Murshidabad (Beldanga-I and Kandi Blocks) (iv) Coochbehar (Tufanganj-I and Mathabhanga-I/Sitai Blocks).
The work is being undertaken with the Central Sericulture Research & Training Institute (ICAR,GoI), Berhampur, Murshidabad . The approach is to improve better Cocoon varieties and rearing techniques for more productivity and train the practising sericulture farmers of Malda & Murshidabad.
DHESTBT, GoWB/WBSCST project on Jute seed multiplication trial at 8 acres Red & Lateritic land of poor quality soil at Medinipur G.P., Onda Block, Bankura, with CRIJAF Barrackpore had started by 8 women SHGs (ST). The seeds obtained have been found to be of good quality as per report by BCKV and Govt. Agricultural Farm, Singur, Hooghly.
Two villages in a block are selected where 20-50 farmers cultivate jute for seed in 2-5 ha. New HYVs are introduced by CRIJAF. Technical know-how is provided by CRIJAF on seed production and seed storage during the cropping period. Harvested seed treatment, storage, packaging and marketing is assisted by CRIJAF.