Through active support and participation of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) new populations of Acer hookerii, Aconitum heterophyllum, Aconitum nagarum, Angiopteris evecta, Angelica glauca, Bambusa nagalandiana, Begonia satrapis, Calamus innermis, Calamus nambariensis, Cinnamomum cacharensis, Dactylorhiza hatagirea, Ilex venulosa, Ilex khasiana, Dipcadi goaense, Cycas sphaerica, Paphiopedilum fairreanum, Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum, Paphiopedilum insigne, Paphiopedilum spicerianum, Lasiococca comberi, Podophyllum hexandrum, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Rheum australe, Paris polyphylla and Vanda bicolour have been located from the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Sikkim, Mizoram and Odisha through grid-based as well as ecological niche modelling guided surveys.
Techniques of conventional vegetative propagation and seed propagation have been standardized for Aconitum nagarum, Bambusa nagalandiana, Brucea mollis, Calamus nambariensis, Cycas sphaerica, Kayea assamica, Lasiococca comberi, Paris polyphylla, Vanda bicolor and Vanilla borneensis. Michelia insignis seedlings have been generated using the fungal consortium. Root associated endophytic fungi have been identified isolated and characterized from the roots of M. insignis. The identified plant growth promoting fungal cultures have been deposited at MAU, UP.
In Sikkim, 500 saplings each of Acer hookeri and Begonia satrapis were reintroduced in the climatically suitable habitat based on ENM predictions. One hundred and fifty seedlings of M. insignis seedlings were planted both inland and near the banks of Gundiya River. In Assam, 1100 saplings of Vanilla borneensis, 1200 seedlings of Kayea assamica, 1000 seedlings of Brucea mollis, 850 seedlings of Elaeocarpus serettus and 1200 seedlings of Calamus nambariensis have been reintroduced in the field. One hundred and fifty seedlings were planted inland close to the banks of Kumaradara River in Kidu forest range with an overall grand total of 300 plantings.
Also, reintroduction was undertaken in a protected area, Pilikula Nisarga Dhama in Mangalore; where about 15 two years’ old M. insignis plants have been introduced. One-year-old M. insignis plants have also been planted in the FGB being maintained at IIHR, Bangalore. About 500 seedlings of Gentiana kurroo that were reintroduced in its natural habitat (Shilly Wildlife Sanctuary) in March 2016 are being monitored for their establishment. Three hundred saplings of Dinochloa andamanica have been raised. About 60 saplings of Schizostachyum kurzii have been raised for this species with the help of ground layering and during rainy season. Three thousand five hundred (3500) seedlings of Bentinckia nicobarica have developed well and growing in the nursery of the BSI garden and about 50 seedlings have been distributed to local institutions, college and forest personals with the purpose of conservation in Andaman and Nicobar islands. Two hundred and thirty (230) seedlings of Rhopaloblaste angusta are raised and monitored for the growth and development. About 1,500 plants of H. gaitii have been raised by apical stem cutting propagation method in mist house condition and being maintained in RPRC nursery. Hundred (100) well-established seedlings of Cycas sphaerica plants have been planted in Rajin reserve forest of Khurda forest division in collaboration of State Forest Department. Ceropegia bulbosa has been reintroduced in its native habitats and growth performance under the canopy of different native plants has been assessed. In Arunachal Pradesh, ~2150 plantlets of P. haridasanii were distributed and planted in selected areas of Banderdewa Forest Division, Itanagar wildlife sanctuary, Duloong Reserve Forest and botanical gardens of VVKSFRI, Chessa and NERIST campus. About 1500 plantlets of P. lonchites were also given and planted in the selected forest divisions and the botanical gardens of VVKSFRI, Chessa and NERIST campus. About 600 plantlets of P. griffithii were also given and planted Subansiri Forest Range (Kimin), Itanagar wildlife sanctuary and various botanical gardens. Awareness of the species was created while participating in workshops held at Pasighat and Duloong. Three hundred (300) plantlets of P. haridasanii, 50 P. lonchites and 100 P. griffithii were distributed among the villagers during these workshops.
Reproductive biology of Crepidium acuminatum revealed that fruit set is very low. The presence of rostellum acts as a physical barrier between the pollinaria and stigma of the same flower, spiders as predators, pollinators’ limitation and heavy rainfall (due to which flowers fall before fruit set) could be probable reasons for its low fruit set.
Internal Transcribed Spacer region (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2), matK gene and ISSR markers revealed inter- and intra-specific variation within the genus Embelia comprising of E. ribes, E. floribunda and E. subcoraceae, and the genus Ilex comprising I. venulosa, I. khasiana, I. embeliodes and I. excels. Genetic diversity of Dipcadigoaense studied using eight ISSR primers of four populations including two sub-populations and two populations at Betul showed very less genetic diversity. Nonetheless, phylogenetic trees based on ITS and matK revealed its closeness to D. concanense. Phylogenetic analysis performed on all the available Madhuca species throughout the world showed that M. insignis was closely related to M. neriifolia, a similar looking sister species found in India. Genetic variability of Cycas bedommei germplasms collected from the forests of Andhra Pradesh assessed using SSR and ISSR markers, revealed significant differences in banding pattern and intensities of individual bands. The results of the analysis, showed a close geographical partitioning of genetic variance, and the estimates of gene flow (Nm = 0.01) revealed a low level of migration between the isolated locations.
Fatty acid composition and physicochemical characteristics of unexploited seeds of L. comberi have been undertaken. The results show that L. comberi seed oil contains a high content of linolenic acid, which makes the oil nutritionally valuable and industrially promising. Isolation and characterization of Hypericin in Hypericum gaitti was undertaken. The HPTLC technique used here is suitable for the rapid screening of germplasm of Hypericum gaitti for the determination of chemical profiles and quantification of the major constituents as they have higher commercial importance. Biochemical (active ingredients, phenolics, flavonoids and total antioxidant activities) and morphological analyses of the two target species (A. glauca and P. hexandrum) were carried out.
Seeds of four accessions of Aconitum heterophyllum namely, UHFAH-ID, UHFAH-IID, UHFAH-XD and UHFAH-IIW have been deposited with NBPGR, New Delhi in January 2016 for long-term storage and to secure IC numbers. Rhizome cuttings of Artemesia amygadilina, aquilegia nivalis and tuberous root sections corydalis cashmiriana were obtained from plants collected from different sites during 2013-2014 and established at Kashmir University Botanical Garden (KUBG). The cuttings were prepared in early winter of 2015. A germplasm bank of 51 RET species has been developed in the Ethnomedicinal garden of FRLHT, Bangalore.