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Biodiversity and Applied Botany Division

Overview | Missions and goals | Competencies | People | Area of research | Facilities | Current research | Projects

Biodiversity and Applied Botany Division was established in year 2000 with an objective of exploring the rich plant bioresource. It undertakes studies on high altitude biology addressing botanical curiosities for sustainable utilization of critically endangered medicinal plants with focus on genetic diversity studies, genepool characterization and development of new elite varieties. Conservation of gene pool is one of the major activities of our division, which we carry out by several means like establishing seed banks and use of micropropogation techniques. We are also interested to understand the effect of climate change and other environmental stress on various medicinal plants. Major focus of the department during XIIth Plan was initiated on understanding the adaptation of plants in distinct ecological niches.


Quality control and standardization of herbal drugs/products is the key for their global acceptability. So one of the missions is to adopt the GSP (Good Sourcing Practices); GAP (Good Agricultural Practices); GMP (Good manufacturing Practices) and Bio-safety protocols.
To study climate change and adaptation of species complexes in ESAs (Ecological Sensitive Areas) of the country with focus on Adaptive /stress biology.
Functional genomic approaches to engineer pathways in high altitude medicinal plants. Identification of genes and regulatory mechanisms that affect adaptation and characterizing the mechanisms that underlie these effects (Relevant tools of genome/ proteome/ metabolome analysis will be employed wherever required).
Elite genotype designing in focused medicinal plants using conventional/molecular breeding approaches.
Bioprospecting plant and microbial biodiversity with state-of-the-art chemical/biotechnological tools for developing technologies of quality bioproducts and bioprocesses.


Expertise in conservation biology like ex-situ conservation, response to habitat change, genotype characterization and reproductive biology.
Production technology unit involved in crop biology/varietal development.
Developing crop management strategies for quality & quantitative analysis using environmental factors/energy indices.
Studying physiological and biochemical pathways like photosynthesis, anti-oxidative responses, C and N metabolism.
Tissue culture/plant biotechnology unit involved in micropropogation, bioproduction of value added secondary metabolism, simulating climate change conditions to assess adaptive physiological responses, development of bioreactor cultivation.


S/NO Name Expertise E-mail
1. Dhiraj Vyas Molecular Plant Physiology dhirajvyas@rediffmail.com
2. Arun Kumar Plant Physiology arunsonal2001@gmail.com
3. Surinder Kitchlu Biosystematics skitchloo@iiim.res.in
4. Kanti Rekha Cyto-genetics, Mutagenesis and Plant Breeding krekha@iiim.res.in

Area of research
Expeditions of untapped high altitude areas, identification of novel & elite genotypes, and development of production technology & conservation strategies for identified genotypes.
To study species response along altitudinal transects as species adaptive response and explore biochemical and physiological factors responsible for adaptability to changed temperature and photoperiods.
Elucidate comparative adaptation biology at different level of organization and stresses, and understand the role of gene(s), genome, proteome and metabolome in ecosystems through ecological genomics, ecological proteomics and chemical ecology
To document the ecological amplitude of selected plant species in relation to topography and environment and to study biochemical and molecular changes during transplantation experiments in selected plants. Identification of associated microbiome of selected plants in target niche areas
Understanding Ecological Role of Secondary Metabolites
In vitro approaches for biomolecule bioprospecting and bioconversion
Combinational approach to bioprospecting plant and microbial diversity.

Facilities (departmental)

Tissue Culture Facility:
Well equipped tissue culture facility consists of inoculation room, media room, one incubation room and two small shakers. We also have a small manually operated 10 L glass bioreactor.

Physiology and Biochemistry Unit
Well equipped plant physiology and biochemistry laboratory has been developed in the division. Has IRGA, HPLC and other necessary  equipment to carry plant physiology studies.

Seed Bank Module:
Group has a seed bank module for conservation of seeds at low temperature. This is useful for conservation of germplasm against habitat destruction.

Hardening Unit/ Green Houses/Glass Houses
Group has a hardening unit and a green house for conservation of elite germ plasm and hardening of in vitro raised plants. Hardening unit is presently being manually operated and would soon be upgraded to a computerized system. We also have two net houses- one at IIIM, Jammu and other at Chatta Farm and three glass houses.

Plant Growth Chamber
A plant growth chamber system has been procured and would be installed soon. This would be used for controlled experiments and other research activities.

Current research
Bioresource mapping of Cold deserts of Leh-Ladakh & Gurez, evaluation of pharmacological activities of selected medicinal plants and DNA barcoding.
Establishment of  LTERPs, yearly monitoring of plant diversity in established LTERPs and to study phenology of various plant species during vegetative and flowering phases at LTERP’s/altitudes. Association, grouping and population dynamics of different species according to environmental gradients.
Regression analysis  to evaluate the influence of climate on plant species richness at the regional scale. And to employ prediction modeling programmes  to forecast the biodiversity changes. Morphological and physiochemical changes in selected plant(s) under FACE/FATI conditions Understanding the role of light dynamics in distribution of plants.
Regulatory role of redox homeostasis on glucosinolate metabolism Understanding plant-insect relationships under changed redox/glucosinolate environments.
Multiplication of elite clones through conventional and biotechnological approaches.
Identification of key enzymes involved in biosynthetic pathway. Expression, accumulation and modulation of desired bioactive molecules using biochemical approaches
Functional dynamics of MAP’S under simulated stress conditions of temperature, photoperiod & varied CO2 & O3 levels. Physiological and biochemical pathways like photosynthesis, respiration, anti-oxidative, C and N metabolism at different altitudes for target plant species
Bioprospection of plant resources and other natural products (BioprosPR)”(BSC-0106).
Studying adaptation biology and understanding / exploiting medicinally important plants for useful bioactives (BSC 0109).
Understanding the molecular basis of plant microbe and soil interactions (PMSI) (BSC 0117).