Research Groups

Plant Biology: Nutritional Improvement of Crops

Research Interests and Description

Group Leader: Tanushri Kaul, PhD

Group Members

Research Interests

Nutritive value of staple crops, Antioxidant-rich and Low phytate crops, Human nutrition, Herbicide tolerant crops, Climate smart and high-yielding crops, Nutrient use efficiency, Genome editing by Crispr/Cas9 or Cpf1/2 technology.

Description of Research

Weeds are the most serious biological constraint to upland rice production. Manual weed control over large areas is not feasible from the point of labor supply and monetary costs. Genetic engineering of herbicide resistant crop plants allow the application of non-selective herbicide to virtually kill all kinds of weeds without injuring crop plant. There is urgent need to develop crop plants simultaneously resistant to more than one herbicide with different mode of action to effectively control weed infestation by pre- as well as post-emergent herbicide application. We propose to modify the target site of EPSPS and ALS rice genes to confer resistance to herbicides and develop transgenic rice plants tolerant to non-selective herbicides. The same technology shall be extrapolated to other crops that face the weed constraint.
Globally, more people are affected by micronutrient malnutrition than by AIDS, HIV and malaria combined, striking a third of the globe, especially women and preschoolers. Those afflicted rely on monotonous consumption of staple crops with no or low supplementation with meat or dairy products for their sustenance.“Phytic acid (PA) content" in cereal and legume seeds having high affinity for positively charged dietary micronutrients and forms insoluble micronutrient-phytate complexes not assimilated by human gut causing micronutrient deficiencies and thereby rendering bio-fortification of staple foods futile. Single best strategy is to remove PA in cereal and legume seeds consumed globally by gene deletor technology. We propose to design phytase-rich tomatoes and phytate-free cereals and legumes for alleviating global micronutrient malnutrition.
Antioxidants and ROS play a crucial role in fruit ripening and maturation. Our vision of efficient scavenging of ROS during late maturation and postharvest stages of tomato fruits by over expression of the ascorbate-glutathione pathway genes shall enhance their shelf life as well as their antioxidant value and reduce the postharvest losses. In addition, this biotechnological approach may be extrapolated to other fruits and vegetables.

Recent Publications

Kaul, T., Reddy, C.S., Pandey, S. 2017. Transgenics with Monellin. In: Sweeteners Reference Series in Phytochemistry. Springer Publications DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26478-3_20-1

Reddy, C.S., Kim, S.-C., Kaul, T. 2017 Genetically modified phytase crops rolein sustainable plant and animal nutrition and ecological development: a review. 3 Biotech 7, 195. DOI: 10.1007/s13205-017-0797-3 PubMed link

Pandey, S., Fartyal, D., Raina, V., Negi, Y.K., Reddy, M.K., Kaul, T. 2017. Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants: Myriad Roles of Ascorbate Peroxidase. Frontiers in Pl Sci 8, 581; Doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.0058 PubMed link

John, R., Raja, V., Ahmad, M., Jan, N., Kaul, T. 2017. Trehalose: Metabolism and Role in Stress Signaling in Plants, In: Stress Signaling in Plants: Genomics and Proteomics Perspective, Vol 2, pp.261-275,  Sarwat Met al., Springer Publications. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-42183-4_11

Yadava, P., Alok, A., Singh, R., Singh, I., Kaul, T., Pattanayak, A., Agrawal, P.K. 2017. Advances in Maize Transformation Technologies and Development of Transgenic Maize. Front Plant Sci 7, 1949

Malik, M, Pandey, S., Tripathi, K., Jain, R. Kaul, T. 2017. Structural Model of TaNAM-B1 Transcription Factor from Wheat (Triticum aestivum) Insight into the Nutritional Grain Quality. Jour Proteomics & Bioinformatics 10, 8 DOI: 10.4172/jpb.1000441

ICGEB New Delhi

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