The Department has supported a major Programme on Plant Tissue Culture with the main objective of developing protocols for regeneration of economically important plant species covering Forest Trees, Horticulture and Plantation Crops. Under the Micropropagation Research and Technology Development a Consortium has been formed which has the two Micropropagation Technology Park’s as nodal centres. The R&D projects are networked for supply of TC protocols. The regional hardening facilities help in technology and high quality product dissemination at state / region level. The National Facility for Virus Diagnosis and Quality control is the service facility for testing and certification of plants.
The thrust of the programmes during the 9th Plan in the area of forestry, horticulture and floriculture crops has been on protocol development for micropropagation and regeneration of important species through tissue culture, perfecting the regeneration and cell culture system of important species for further studies molecular biology using plant tissue culture as a tool for improvement of species, augmentation of secondary metabolite and somatic embryogenesis, somoclonal variation for enrichment of genetic diversity. Development of large scale production technologies was supported to enable transfer of technology from lab to land.
R&D projects were also supported for studying the genetic variation of micropropagated plants using molecular markers land related tools. For certain identified priority species such as mango, coffee, tea and spices network projects were supported for application of biotechnological tools for crop improvement.
One of the main bottlenecks faced
in the large-scale multiplication of forest trees and other plants through
tissue culture especially in view of their specific requirements related
to the different agro climatic regions is the Hardening Procedure. In
order to tackle these issues effectively, the Department took up as a
priority the objective of supporting smaller hardening units catering
the requirement of the specific agro climatic regions. Six regional hardening
units have been established at:
During the ninth plan, the Department supported two
Micropropagation Technology Parks (MTPs) at TERI, New Delhi and NCL, Pune
with the objective of providing an effective platform for transfer proven
tissue culture technologies to the user agencies and entrepreneurs and
acting as an interface between research institutes and industry for faster
commercialization of the micropropagation technologies.
The quality control specially of the forest trees is being certified using molecular markers and DNA fingerprinting techniques. The genetic fidelity of the TC plants will be tested vis-a-vis the mother plants. This facility is aimed at providing necessary support to the industry and other research institutes / organisation involved in large scale production of tissue culture plants.
The entire activity of the Hardening Units, National Facility for Virus Diagnosis and Micropropagation Technology Parks has now been brought under the common network i.e. CMRTD with an aim to promote wider adoption and adaption of this technology specially at the grass root level and also to promote commercialization of this technology both for domestic and export market.
During the Tenth Plan, support is being provided
to both the MTPs for conducting need based research on priority species
and for demonstrating the profitability of this technology at grass root
level. There is a strong industry interaction component which is fully
supported and financed by industry entrepreneur/ user agencies.