1. Angiosperm Taxonomy  Guides (Prof. Santhosh Nampy, Dr. Sunojkumar P., Dr. A. K. Pradeep, Dr. Pramod C.) 

2. Plant Biotechnology - Guide (Dr. Yusuf A.)

The Division of Biotechnology started in the Department by Profs. Aliyama Thomas and V.J. Philip currently has two sections: Enzyme Technology and Plant Biotechnology groups guided by Dr Sailas Benjamin and Dr A. Yusuf. The Division is concentrating on Molecular characterization of industrially significant microbes (bacteria, yeast and fungi), bioconversion of poisonous phthalates in plastics into bioactive products and screening for lignocellulolytic microbes and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) producing microbes are some of the work currently in progress in the Enzyme Technology section. Work in the Plant Biotechnology section involves molecular biology of host- parasite interactions, stress induced by abiotic and biotic factors in economically important plants like rice, and expression of ROS systems and photosyntheic efficiency under the influence of PGPRS in plants. Molecular modelling of proteins in silico by using bioinformatics tools and  the effect of elevated CO2 on a model  system, regulation of carbon sequestering  enzymes and expression of enzymes involved in CO2 acquisition are also carried out. The researchers of this Division have published several research papers in international journals with high impact factor. The division has received funding from various national level funding agenices like DST, DBT, UGC, KSCSTE etc. The new addition to the Divison is the Interuniversity centre for Plant Biotechnology funded by higher education council, Govt. of Kerala with an overall funding of 2.3 crores to develop a centre with facilities for training and research in the area of plant biotechnology for teachers and students from all over Kerala

3. Cell and Molecular Biology - Guide (Prof. John E. Thoppil)

This Division started functioning when Dr John E. Thoppil joined this Department in 1995. This Division has been involved in chromosome imaging,cytotoxic studies, karyomorphometry, antimutagenic studies, essential oil extraction, GC-MS analysis, and antimicrobial and mosquito larvicidal assays. Comparative cytological, phytochemical and molecular studies are also conducted on micropropagated plants, calli and parent plants of several medicinal and aromatic plants. So far, 27 research scholars of this division have been awarded PhD degrees and 18 students got their MPhil degrees in Botany of Calicut University. Currently the division has 8 PhD students and 1 M. Phil. Student. So far, the division has produced 143 scientific publications in national and international journals. Average impact factor and name of the major journals in which publications are made are as follows: Caryologia (Impact Factor - 0.632), Acta Pharmaceutica (Impact Factor - 1.16), Turkish Journal Of Botany (Impact Factor - 1.6), Indian Journal Of Applied Research (Impact Factor - 2.16), Cytotechology (Impact Factor – 1.7), Turkish Journal OF Biology (Impact Factor – 1.3),  Journal of Environmental Biology – (Impact Factor - 0.64), Parasitology Research (Impact Factor – 2.09), Pharmaceutical Biology (Impact Factor - 0.878), Protoplasma (Impact Factor - 2.64), Phytotaxa (Impact Factor - 1.16)  and Fitoterapia (Impact Factor -2.231). Research scholars of this division have published 9 books Two major research projects funded by UGC and NMPB have been completed in the Division.

4. Cyanobacterial Diversity - Guide (Dr. M. Shamina)

5. Environmental Science - Guide (Prof C. C. Harilal)

6. Fungal Diversity -  (Dr. K. P. Deepna Latha) 

Established in 1971. This division was started by Prof. K. M. Leelavathy, a renowned mycologist of India along with Dr. M. U. Rahman, a plant pathologist as Division of Mycology & Plant Pathology. From the very beginning, this division has been engaged in studying the fungal diversity of Kerala. Initially, the emphasis was on microfungi, especially soil microfungi. From the eighties onwards, however, more emphasis has been given to macrofungi, especially basidiomycetes with particular emphasis on agarics or gilled mushrooms. Lately, the division has also started unraveling the diversity of marine fungi of Kerala and Lakshadweep Islands. After the retirement of Prof. K. M. Leelavathy, Prof. P. Manimohan was in charge of the Division. He and his team were focused on studying the biodiversity, taxonomy, and phylogeny of the agaric genera Mycena, Entoloma and Inocybe, and marasmioid, gymnopoid, psathyrelloid, and coprinoid fungi in Kerala State as well as the biodiversity of agarics of Silent Valley National Park. These studies so far have resulted in the documentation of more than one thousand fungal species from Kerala State including four genera and 224 species and several varieties new to science.

Most of the papers published by the staff of the division are published in SCI journals such as Fungal Diversity, Mycological Research, Mycologia, Persoonia, Mycotaxon, Mycoscience, Phytotaxa, and International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. Several of these papers are monographic treatments of individual genera. In addition to these papers, the staff of the division has also published four books; Polypores of Kerala, Marine fungi of Kerala, Mycenas of Kerala, and Inocybes of Kerala. To this date, the division has produced 16 PhDs and 17 MPhils. Also, several generations of students were trained in Mycology as part of their MSc program. The Division has, over the years, accumulated and is maintaining an invaluable and huge collection of agarics of Kerala. Presently, Dr.  K. P. Deepna Latha is in charge of the Division. Currently, she is studying the diversity and phylogeny of agarics in Kerala State.

7. Genetics and Plant Breeding - Guides (Prof. V. V. Radhakrishnan, Dr Resmi L.)

Established in 1971, this division was started by Prof. K. Pavithran and taken forward by Prof. K.V. Mohanan. Presently, Dr. V.V. Radhakrishnan, Professor and Dr. Resmi L., Assistant Professor are the faculty members belonging to this division. The initial works in the Division were on the genetics and linkage of characters in rice.  Phenomena like clustering of rice panicles and medicinal rices have been extensively studied.  A farm-level in vivo cloning technique for conservation and propagation of rice varieties has been standardized.  Ratoonability of rice has been studied in detail and varieties with high ratoonability have been identified.

The next phase of study was mainly concentrated on the genetics and breeding of plantation crops, underutilized crops and medicinal plants.  Studies on special systems of rice cultivation and the genetics of salt tolerance have also been carried out. The extent of genetic variability and diversity in commercially important crop species of Kerala such as rice, coffee, tea, cardamom, vanilla and mango ginger was studied in detail in order to formulate breeding strategies for genetic upgradation of planting stock. Conventional and in vitro propagation methods of ten important medicinal plants were evolved and perfected. This would help in the bulking up of these medicinal plants which are prone to genetic erosion. 

Crop improvement studies on cardamom carried out in the Division have contributed in the development of three high yielding and superior quality varieties of the crop namely ICRI-5, ICRI-6 and ICRI-7. The first man-made hybrid variety in cardamom (ICRI-5) is the outcome of systematic breeding studies undertaken by the Division.  The genetic divergence in landraces of cardamom was studied for its effective utilization in the hybridization programme. Elite coffee lines suited to the agro-ecological conditions of Wayanad were identified. Field gene bank of vanilla accessions was established and the characterization and evaluation of the germplasm resulted in the isolation of three promising accessions for further breeding studies. Floral biology and adaptability studies on vanilla were also carried out. Variability in mango ginger and kasthuri manjal could be analyzed for evolving superior lines in future. Genetical studies on apple mint and participatory breeding programme on conventional as well as new generation salt tolerant varieties of rice are in progress in the Division. Research in the Division has generated the idea of optimum tillering plant type of rice.  Genetics of agronomic characters of rice, cardamom, coffee, tea, vanilla, mango ginger, arrowroot, kasthuri manjal, false turmeric and apple mint has been studied. The association of agronomic characters in the above crop plants has been analyzed.

8. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry - Guide (Prof. Jos T. Puthur)

Since its inception, the institute has been involved in a wide range of research activities, with the initial focus being on the physiology of flowering in crop plants, including pineapple, okra, brinjal, and banana. Physiological and biochemical aspects of seed germination in winged beans and soybeans was one of the earliest studies from this division. During the early stages, the division conducted research on various physiological and biochemical aspects of coconut growth and development. The division also conducted extensive research on the physiology of recalcitrant and orthodox seeds. Detailed research was also conducted on the physiology and biochemistry behind the storage, desiccation, and germination in the seeds of Mangifera indica, Coffea arabica, and Borassus fabellifera. Eco-physiological studies are another major focus of the division. This includes research on the heavy metal tolerance of various plants such as Bacopa monierii, Centella asiatica, Phaseolus aureus, Chromolaena odorata and various mangroves sps. The functionality of AM fungi associated with crop plants for alleviating heavy metal stresses is one among the significant investigations from the lab.

Currently, the division has a well-equipped laboratory that continues the tradition of studies related to seed physiology and ecophysiology. Furthermore, the research also focuses on osmoregulation, biochemical and molecular responses to abiotic environmental challenges, as well as alterations in the photosynthetic and antioxidation processes of plants exposed to various abiotic stresses. We are also interested in various priming techniques for enhancing abiotic stress tolerance of crop plants. In continuity with this, we are also exploring the trans-generational memory of plants with respect to priming and stress tolerance.

Prof. K.S. Krishnan, Prof. N. Neelakandan, Prof. S. Nandakumar, Prof. Nabeesa Salim, and Prof. K.M. Jayaram were among the prominent professors who guided the division's research activities in earlier years. Prof. Jos T. Puthur is currently steering the division's research activities.

The division has international collaborations with institutions such as Bonn University in Germany, the Warsaw University of Life Sciences SGGW in Warsaw, Poland, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the United States, as well as national institutes such as IISER in Tirupati and the Central University of Tamil Nadu. The Division is in the process of signing an MoU with the CFTRI in Kochi for research partnerships.

The division has successfully completed 9 research projects worth 1.1 crores and a research project worth 25 lakhs is in progress with KSCSTE funding. The division has so far published more than 200 publications in nationally and internationally acclaimed journals. The division has produced 35 PhDs so far and currently 8 PhD students and 1 MPhil students are working in the division.

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Department of Botany
University of Calicut
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Malappuram - 673635
Phone : (0494) - 2407406 / 407
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