UoH research finds ways to improve yield of pigeon pea

Prof. Appa Rao Podile with the three Ph.D. scholars who studied the ways to improve yields of pigeon pea.  

Research results of the research scholars at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) could lead to improved yields of pigeon pea, which is considered as a primary protein source for people across the world and more so in India.

Pigeon pea (known as kandulu in Telugu and toor daal in Hindi) is a climate-smart pulse crop of Indian origin and is widely grown in the tropical drylands around the globe. A research team led by former UoH Vice-Chancellor Prof. Appa Rao Podile in a three-year collaboration with two groups in the United Kingdom (Prof. Philip Poole’s group at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, and Dr. Andrew Neal at Rothamsted Research) has made a major breakthrough in plant symbiosis studies related to pigeon pea.

The team headed by Prof. Podile and including three Ph.D. scholars, Ch. Danteswari, Anirban Basu, and P.V.S.R.N. Sarma, assessed the microbial community associated with pigeon pea roots in different soil types with a comprehensive approach and found the root microbial composition was primarily determined by the plant developmental stage and soil type rather than the plant variety. The study concluded that the low nodulation efficiency of pigeon pea is due to the inadequate presence of appropriate symbionts in the soils. It suggests that the inoculant strain selection of symbionts for pigeon pea should be based not only on their nitrogen fixation potential but, more importantly, on their competitiveness in agricultural soils.

Pigeon Pea crop often suffers from inconsistent yields and poor nodule formation in India. The findings will pave the way for selecting and applying appropriate symbionts to improve pigeon pea yields and nodulation under Indian conditions. The project was supported by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), UK. The results will be published in a high-impact journal entitled ‘mBio’ of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) in association with the American Academy of Microbiology, USA.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 1:42:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/uoh-research-finds-ways-to-improve-yield-of-pigeon-pea/article34933777.ece

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