In the city, the Social Forestry Department SFD has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ramabai Barlingay School of Biotechnology at Lady Amritbai Daga College to develop over 2-3 lakh bamboo plants annually using tissue culture technology.
College principal Shyamala Nair told that while SFD is funding the project, the biotechnology students of the college are getting a unique opportunity to learn not just the micropropagation of bamboo plants but also a skill which they can use to develop their own commercial venture as a career option.
In a mutual beneficial scheme, the Social Forestry Department (SFD) is collaborating with education institutes across the state to develop hi-tech nurseries for forest trees. The aim is to generate a pure genetic pool of existing biodiversity in the state, especially the species which are on the verge of extinction.
"And it is not just bamboo propagation alone. We are starting with bamboo but once the college develops a standardized protocol for bamboo tissue culture technique, it will switch to other forest plant species as well," said Nair.
The project was formally launched by deputy director general (SFD) Maheep Gupta, and Panna Akhani and Varsha Manohar, secretary and joint secretary respectively of Women's Education Society, in the presence of the college principal, teachers and students.
Kishore Mishrikotkar, SFD deputy director, who was also present, said that since the forest department didn't have the required infrastructure for 'tissue culture' and other biotechnology methods of propagation and biodiversity conservation, it was roping in educational institutes in the project. Along with LAD College, the project is being implemented through Vidya Pratishthan School of Biotechnology, Baramati, and Amity University in Thane.
Explaining the technicalities, the project in-charge at LAD College Krishnaveni Iyengar said it would take about six months for the biotechnology school to standardize the technique for mass production of the plants. "In bamboo, one can generate over a 1,000 plants from just one excision. We also have a poly-house. Standardizing the tissue culture technique is not going to be a difficult task though it will require some time," she said.?
"Bamboo is no longer a poor man's timber. It now has a huge market and is replacing wood in construction and housing. Hence, we decided to standardize the bamboo propagation technique through LAD College which has a well-developed biotechnology department," said Mishrikotkar.
Madhuri Thakre and Rekha Bawankar will be the two project associates who would be working in the laboratory throughout the project. "Bamboo requires certain specific conditions to give best results. These include maintaining a photoperiod of 8-16 hours, illumination of 1,200-1,500 lux, 25-30% humidity and a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius plus-minus two degrees," said Thakre. LAD will be propagating the Dendrocalamus strictus' species of bamboo under the project.
Highlights of the project: Bamboo tissue culture process
- Dehusking the seeds
- Surface sterilization of the seeds using mercury chloride and distilled water
- Preparation of growth media — Murashige skoog
- inoculation of seeds
- Development of seedlings
- Explant cutting and inoculation
- Multiple shooting
- Covering the plant with polyethene and keeping it in playhouse or green house
- Allowing the plant to harden naturally in the greenhouse
- Simultaneously trying to test its cultivation in soil to ascertain desired results
- Sending the ready plants to forest nursery
Biotechnology students of the college are getting a unique opportunity to learn not just the micropropagation of bamboo plants but also a skill which they can use to develop their own commercial venture.
Students will learn a lot in this project as it's a very good initiative by the college along with Social Forestry Department SFD.