PLANT PATHOLOGY & MICROBIOLOGY

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In the division of Plant Pathology & Microbiology, research is carried out on diseases of tea and biofertilizers. Among the tea diseases, blister blight is the most important leaf disease caused by the pathogen, Exobasidium vexans affecting the tender harvestable shoots of tea resulting in enormous crop loss. Extensive research has been carried out on the pathogen’s life cycle, epidemiology and control measures. It is to the credit of division that the timely control measures developed in the fifties saved the south Indian tea plantations from being wiped out by this disease. Based on the epidemiological studies, a computerized model has been developed for predicting the incidence of blister blight disease. With the help of this model, disease incidence can be predicted well in advance and based on the prediction, the control measures can be planned which will result in considerable savings in the management of the disease.

So far, several fungicides have been screened against the disease and the efficient ones were identified and recommended for use. Hexaconazole, bitertanol and propiconazole are the most effective systemic fungicides recommended against this disease and a combination schedule of triazoles (hexaconazole, propiconazole) and morpholine (tridemorph) fungicide has also been recommended for adoption. Studies are under way to find out alternatives (biological control measure) to chemical control measures. The most important area is biocontrol of diseases by native proven microbes. Importance is also being given to the studies on resistance of plants to this fungus. Studies on systemic acquired resistance (SAR) and induced systemic resistance (ISR) are being considered. Understanding the biochemical and molecular basis of resistance can bring out effective strategies for disease control in future.

Extensive research has been done on the grey blight and brown blight diseases, which are gained importance as other foliar diseases of tea. Grey blight disease is caused by Pestalotiopsis theae, a wound pathogen. Mature leaves, young shoots and bare stalks are affected by this pathogen. Infection on young shoots results in die back of shoots. Die back of shoots became a major problem mainly due to continuous shear/machine harvesting blocks. Grey blight adversely affects the health of the bushes which in turn declines the yield while die back of young shoots directly leads to considerable crop loss. Studies indicated that the disease incidence is at its peak during July to December and the crop loss due to the disease is ~17%. Spraying of carbendazim, mancozeb, or thiophanate methyl is suggested to control these diseases. After screening of several fungicides, the effective ones have been identified and recommended for application.

Soil samples were collected from tea growing districts of southern India for isolation of biocontrol agents in order to derive efficient biocontrol organism against grey blight and brown blight pathogens. Bacterial and Trichoderma isolates were screened for antagonism against Glomerella cingulata and results were documented.

Collar canker disease caused by the fungus Phomopsis theae (wound pathogen) is a problem in young tea and comprehensive studies were carried out and effective control measures, both chemical and biocontrol were identified. It is prevalent in young tea while clones are more susceptible than seedlings. In vitro studies indicated that the pathogen completes its life cycle in 10-13 days. Impact of predisposing factors on disease development indicated that the nature of soil is an important factor. Disease incidence was more in gravelly soil. Deep planting, application of fertilizer near to plant collar and mulching with raw coir pith close to the collar predispose the disease. Soil drenching of the systemic fungicide carbendazim and application of the same as wound dressing provided satisfactory control. However, the efficacy was superior when biological control agents like Trichoderma harzianum and Gliocladium virens, were applied both to the soil around the bush and used for wound dressing.

Studies on wood rot and branch canker stem diseases of tea have been considered and control measures through chemical/botanical/biological as integrated schedule then epidemiological aspects are underway. Soil samples of different tea growing districts were collected and beneficial microorganisms were isolated and screened for their antagonistic potential against the tea pathogens.

Alternatives to the conventionally used soil fumigants for tea root disease control have been recommended to the industry. Systemic fungicides like tridemorph and hexaconazole were found effective and incorporation of biocontrol agents like Trichoderma sp. and Gliocladium virens in the planting pits in order to prevent the occurrence of root disease.

In biofertilizer research, several efficient strains of nitrogen fixing Azospirillum and phosphobacteria have been isolated from tea soils of different tea districts and region specific potential strains were selected based on laboratory, greenhouse and field experiments. A technology for their mass multiplication has been developed. Experiments proved that composted coir pith is a superior carrier material compared to the commonly used lignite. Efficient strains have been commercialized and available in the market under the brand name of Biodyne-N (Nitrogen fixer: consortium of four Azospirillum) and Biodyne-P (consortium of four phosphate solublizing bacteria).

Enumeration of microflora (total viable count, yeast and mould) in made tea is regularly carried out besides the analysis of made tea for total coliforms, E.coli and Salmonella. Quality check of commercially available bioformulations (biocontrol agents and biofertilizers) is regularly undertaken. The department has developed a user friendly kit for the quantitative analysis of microbial load present in the tea factory machinery and the kit is available for sale.    A nursery experiment with BSS-1 seedlings and clone UPASI-9 was initiated to study the influence of bioinoculants in combination with inorganic fertilizers for its growth and development under integrated approach. Bioinoculants (BF) were incorporated in nursery soil mixture and inorganic fertilizers (IOF) were applied at fortnightly intervals and growth and development of vegetatively propagated clonal cuttings were monitored regularly. Plants treated with 50% IOF + BF registered better height of plant (cm) and biomass production. Number of leaves significantly increased in plants treated with 100% IOF + BF followed by 50% IOF + BF. Similar kind of experiment was carried out with young and mature tea plantations as well. Among the treatments, 75% of recommended inorganic fertilizers manure in combination with biofertilizers recorded higher yield next to standard practice in young tea INM trial. Green leaf yield recorded in the mature tea plantation experiments at the Anamallais, Vandiperiyar and Coonoor followed the same trend. As a result of INM trials, consortium of N fixer, phosphobacteria, VAM has provided significant crop yield and better soil health.

News & Events

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  • Dr. C.S. Venkata Ram Memorial Annual Tea Colloquium-2015

    Dr. C.S. Venkata Ram Memorial Annual Tea Colloquium will be held on July 10, 2015 at Seminar Hall, UPASI Tea Research Foundation, Tea Research Institute, Valparai. The maximum time for presentation is ten minutes followed by discussion. Prizes will be awarded for the best three…

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  • Residue analysis in other crops

    31-05-2013

    The Pesticide Residue Division is equipped with state-of-art instruments viz., Gas Chromatograph, High Performance Liquid Chromatograph, GCMS, Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, etc., Our lab is GLP certified by National GLP Compliance Monitoring Authority, Govt. of India for the execution of Pesticide Residue Studies. We are accredited…

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  • Vacancy 2017

    09/06/2016 @ 4:55 pm

    Date of Publish: 12.01.2017 UPASI TEA RESEARCH FOUNDATION TEA RESEARCH INSTITUTE NIRAR DAM P.O. VALPARAI – 642 127   THE POST OF RESEARCH FELLOWS ENTOMOLOGY Project title:  CABI project “Sustainable Tea Production”             Designation of Posts Fellowship Consolidated (Rs.) Relevant Qualifications   Research Fellows (2)…

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  • Monthly circular – April 2014

    07/04/2014

       Monthly Circular April -2014  WEATHER Weather data recorded in March 2014 at the TRF observatory are given below, along with the corresponding figures for March 2013. Year Total Rainfall mm Mean Sunshine hr/day Mean Temperature ° C Mean Relative Humidity % at Mean Evaporation…

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  • Quotations & Tenders

    DETAILS OF VEHICLES FOR SALE Sl. No. Make Regn. No. Place Year of Mfg. 1 Suzuki Max 100 R TN 41 F 7245 Valparai 1999 2 Suzuki Max 100 R TN 41 F 7246 Valparai 1999 3 Suzuki Max 100 R TN 41 F 7250…

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Articles

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  • Publications

    09.05.2012

    Ajaikumar, S., Siby Mathew, R. Raj Kumar and P. Mohan Kumar (2014). Mechanical harvesting in tea: A case study of Pasuparai estate. Journal of Plantation Crops. 42(2): 201-214. Ajay, D. and Baby, U.I. 2010. Induction of systemic resistance to Exobasidium vexans in tea through SAR…

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  • Latest

    12/12/12

    The principal landmark in the history of tea research in south India, was the establishment of a Tea Experimental Station in Gudalur in 1926. During the last seven and half decades, this research organisation. Now known as the UPASI Tea Research Foundation (UPASI TRF), had…

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  • Publications and Library

    01/02/05

    Annual Report is the one among the major publications of UPASI TRF. Annual report of each year is released by September of the following year. Other publications include Research Highlights and half yearly Newsletters. The Bulletin of UPASI TRF is an occasional publication. The Handbook…

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Conferences Seminars

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  • PLACROSYM XXI

    DATE:  10-12 December 2014

    PLACE:  Kozhikode

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  • Research Extension Meeting

    DATE:  06-08 May 2013

    PLACE:  Valparai

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  • JOINT AREA SCIENTIFIC SYMPOSIA (JASS)

    DATE:  

    PLACE:  

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  • INTERNATIONAL TEA CONVENTION

    DATE:  

    PLACE:  

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  • TGLIA

    DATE:   2013

    PLACE:  

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  • Dr.C.S. Venkata Ram Annual Tea Colloquium

    DATE:  1 August 2013

    PLACE:  VALPARAI

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  • INTERACTIVE SESSIONS / WORKSHOPS

    DATE:  28/04/2012

    PLACE:  VALPARAI

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  • PLATINUM JUBILEE SYMPOSIUM

    DATE:  2001

    PLACE:  Chennai

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  • PLANTATION CROPS SYMPOSIUM 2014

    DATE:  2014

    PLACE:  

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  • UPASI ANNUAL CONFERENCE

    DATE:  September 2013

    PLACE:  Coonoor

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Research Activities

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  • Pesticide Residue

    Of late, considering the constant usage of pesticides and to monitor the residues in the final produce, a well equipped test facility was established at UPASI TRI in 1994. The pesticide residue laboratory is accredited by National Accreditation Board for testing and calibration Laboratories (NABL)…

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  • Botany

    The Tea Research Institute at Valparai has seven divisions namely Botany, Soil Chemistry, Entomology, Pesticide Residue, Plant Pathology & Microbiology, Plant Physiology & Biotechnology and Tea Technology. Botany Research activities of Botany Division include plant improvement, cultivation practices and weed research. Plant improvement programme was…

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  • Soil Chemistry

    Chemistry Division is involved in research pertaining to soil-plant nutrients of tea besides extending analytical service to the industry. The research activities include investigations on physico-chemical properties of soil, soil-plant interactions, response of tea to major, secondary and micronutrients and their interactions. The research work…

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  • Entomology

    Entomology Division involve in basic and applied aspects of insect pests, particularly, biology, ecology and evolving control measures. The division evolved and recommended physical, chemical and biological method of tea pests control. In the past, extensive studies on bioecology, crop loss due to major pests…

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  • Pathology & Microbiology

    In the division of Plant Pathology & Microbiology, research is carried out on diseases of tea and biofertilizers. Among the tea diseases, blister blight is the most important leaf disease caused by the pathogen, Exobasidium vexans affecting the tender harvestable shoots of tea resulting in…

    Read More
  • Physiology & Biotechnology

    Plant Physiology Division was established in 1980 which has been primarily concentrated on crop productivity. The division strives for excellence in applied research in tea productivity and bush health besides biotechnological studies. The research undertaken extends over a wide range of research programmes having collaborative…

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  • Tea Technology

    Besides offering the analytical services and involving in inter laboratory ring test to validate the test methods, Tea Technology Division is concerned about quality of final produce in accordance with PFA Act requirements, storage studies, value added products and manufacturing aspects. The laboratory has been…

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