Director

 

Brief Biodata of Dr. Alok Kalra

Dr Kalra made systematic efforts in developing eco-safe inputs for augmentation and stabilization of productivity and value addition in Medicinal and Aromatic Plant (MAPs). His contributions towards establishing the role of microbes in imparting stress tolerance to plants, improving biodegradation of crop-waste and enhancing yields of pharmaceutically important secondary metabolites had been incredible. He developed efficient strains of Trichoderma; a multi-activity strain of T. harzianum useful as biofungicide, growth promoter and nematode inhibitor, of T. citrinoviride producing higher amounts of exo and endo glucanase and ß glucosidase and T atroviride producing higher amounts of cellulose, xylanase and ligninase. By involving these strains, it was possible to obtain vermicompost within a shorter period of time and because of its richness in Trichoderma propagules and humic acid, the resultant compost provided substantial protection to the plants against various abiotic and biotic stresses. He identified distillation wastes of MAPs as cheap substrate for mass multiplication of Trichoderma and higher cellulase production and developed complete recycling package for production of superior quality vermicompost from the wastes of medicinal and aromatic plants with no economic use. The resultant vermicompost besides being rich in macro and micro-nutrients, was found to be an excellent carrier of various inoculants. He also found that calliterpenone, a natural plant growth promoter from a plant Callicarpa further enhanced the population and survival of useful microbes in vermicompost considerably enhancing its shelf life. Interestingly, while screening resistance inducers ( biological and chemicals) he identified some which apart from providing resistance also improved growth and yields of secondary metabolites; application of amino-iso butyric acid improved growth and flowering in Chamomilla recutita, Dl-2 amino butyric acid improved the content of essential oil in geranium, mint and patchouli by 20-36% and culture filtrate of Trichoderma harzianum and Bacillus significantly improved content of asiaticosides in Centella asiatica. He established that microbial diversity is crucial for maintaining the stability of ecosystem functioning and acts as ecological insurance under abiotic perturbations and further showed that bacterial diversity in rhizosphere affect ecosystem functioning through complementary relationship among plant growth promoting traits and may play significant roles in delivering microbial services to the plant. He has identified efficient strains of PGPRs which can be effectively used in promoting plant growths under various stresses like salt, draught, flood and metal toxicity and by means of integrating these with stress tolerant varieties, he could establish their beneficial roles even under field conditions. His contributions towards establishing the role of ACC deaminase bacteria in imparting stress tolerance to plants had been noteworthy where he established that inoculation with such microbes leads to improved nodulation by Rhizobium and colonization by AM fungi like Glomus. He also established that while there is a major shift in rhizospheric microbial population when exposed to stress, application of these microbes prevent such shifts. Also, he has established that endophytes play an important role in enhancing the content of secondary metaboilites in important medicinal plants like Papavar, Catharanthus, Artemisia and Withania; this could be proved in alkaloid free variety of opium poppy where inculcation of such microbes could produce appreciable amount of alkaloids. In addition, for the first time , he established that an ACC deaminase producing endophyte could protect sensitive Artemisia plants from multiple stresses like draught, water logging and salt. This could be an attractive alternate to ACC deaminase gene containing transgenic plants. His recent 3-years publications carrying a total IF of 90 truly speak about his research capabilities. Based on his scientific achievements in Plant Protection, he was elected as fellow of NASI (FNASc) in 2017 and fellow of NAAS (FNAAS) in 2010. As a leader of CSIR-800 Programme, CSIR-CIMAP team did a commendable job, recognized by FICCI, CSIR and ZEE-MAHINDRA who conferred Rural Development and Technology Awards to CSIR-CIMAP twice. His contributions (17 patents and 20 plant varieties) of which 06 have been transferred to the industry are visible on over 3 Lakh hectares of farmland.

 
   
Current Research Interests:  

 

 

 

 
Educational Record:  
  • B.Sc.(Hons.) Agri. Haryana Agri. Univ., Hisar, India 1980 3.82/4.00(First)
  • M.Sc.(Plant Pathology) Punjab Agri. Univ., Ludhiana, India 1982 3.89/4.00(First)
  • Ph.D.(Plant Pathology) Haryana Agri. Univ., Hisar, India 1986 3.83/4.00(First)
 

 

 
Career and Positions Held:  
  • Scientist 'B'          CSIR-CIMAP         1986 1991
  • Scientist 'C'          CSIR-CIMAP         1991 1996
  • Scientist 'E1'        CSIR-CIMAP         1996 2001
  • Scientist 'E1I'       CSIR-CIMAP         2001 2006
  • Scientist 'F'          CSIR-CIMAP         2006 2011
  • Scientist 'G'          CSIR-CIMAP         To date
 

 

 
 Fellowships of Science Academies/Societies:

 

 
  • Elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (FNASc) 2017
  • Elected Fellow of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) 2010