Productive agriculture systems are always vulnerable to hazards of climate and pests and diseases causing threat to food security of any nation. Healthy and productive plants not only are essential but are the very essence of humankind, environment, for food, fiber, energy, and general well-being. Among the various disciplines of agriculture, plant pathology is an important stream, as it pertains to Plant diseases — diagnosis, management, forecasting and forewarning, quarantine host-pathogen interactions, pathogen resistance and management, all of which can help enhance yield and quality of horticultural crops. This is beneficial not just to farmers, but also to the society at large. Pathologists play a crucial role in “management of diseases through chemicals, agronomic practices, and biological control or by means of integrated diseases management,” A plant pathologist’s job is not confined to research. “Monitoring pest and diseases in the state, giving necessary warnings for any outbreak of crop diseases, visiting the infected areas along with extension officials of agricultural department and studying the nature of damage, cause and suggesting suitable remedial measures to save crop and increase productivity are also undertaken by us. Further, we also impart training to agricultural extension officers and farmers.
The division of Plant Pathology at Indian Institute of Horticultural Research was established in 1968 to take care of the health of horticultural plants. Being the first premier national institute of horticulture, a visionary approach was adopted based on basic and applied research for the management of diseases caused by diverse microorganisms on a plethora of horticultural crops. This ushered establishment of specialized labs for the fungal diseases of fruit crops, vegetable crops, ornamental and medicinal crops; bacterial, viral, viroid and phytoplasma diseases of horticultural crops. The goal of these specialized labs with dedicated expertise was to work in unison to achieve productive and healthy horticultural crops. To achieve this goal, the division of plant pathology has shown both horizontal and vertical growth in terms of plant protection knowledge to reach the unreached. The division also envisioned the role of beneficial microbes, especially fungi and bacteria, which could contribute to the well being of mankind and environment. This gave birth to a specialized Mushroom research lab adding new dimension for plant protection in terms of neutra and pharmaceutical importance to man kind assuring nutritional security
- Division of Plant Pathology will continue to maintain the vigil to meet emerging challenges due to rapid crop diversification, increased farming, increased germplasm movement and climate change, which are bringing changes to host-pathogen dynamics leading to emergence and reemergence of plant pathogens in horticultural Crops
- Development of Diagnostics and to offer diagnostic services to SAUs, Farmers and Private seed and Tissue culture industries. Also to severe as a center for quarantine issues and phytosanitary certification
- Continue to provide solutions and research leads to the plant disease problems in horticultural crops, understand disease epidemiology and develop durable disease management strategies.
- Develop rapid screening methods for identification of resistance sources and to use in breeding for disease resistance.
- Continue our collaboration with international and national institutions for data on distribution of plant diseases and emergence of new diseases essential to develop and/or modify existing methods of diagnosis for effective disease management strategies
- To provide training and services to farmers, extension agents, researchers in NARS and students to strengthen the human resource development specially for disease management in horticultural crops
- Agro/ lignocellulosic waste management through the production of edible and medicinal mushrooms
- Utilization of mushrooms for malnutrition management through the production of mushroom nutraceuticals
- Enhancing input efficiency of energy, water and manpower in mushroom production processes through mechanization
- Documentation and conservation of the indigenous macrofungi wealth of the country
- Making mushroom production enterprise zero waste enterprise through the utilization of mushroom cultivation process wastes for various beneficial purposes
- To provide support through training and quality spawn to entrepreneurs, institutions, NGOs, State departments and KVKs.
Thrust Areas: The division focuses on plant diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, virus, viroid and phytoplasma on fruits, vegetable, medicinal and ornamental crops. Also concentrates research on mushroom improvement and the advancement of mushroom science and technology.
Major areas of Research:
- Survey and assessment of losses due to major and emerging diseases
- Development of Disease diagnostics
- Identification and Molecular characterization of pathogens
- Epidemiology and Forewarning systems
- Identifying source of resistance
- Identification of efficient strains of bioagents for plant health management
- Development of Integrated Disease Management strategies
- Technology for the commercial production of edible and medicinal mushrooms
- Technology for the production of mineral rich mushrooms
- Production of mushroom fortified food supplements for daily diet
- Biodiversity and conservation mushroom
- Quality seed production and training
Dr. M. Krishna Reddy
Principal Scientist and I/c.Head
Division of Plant Pathology,
IIHR, Hessaraghatta Lake Post
Bangalore – 560 089.