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Title: Improving salt tolerance in wheat through multi strains bacterial consortium
Principal Investigator: Dr. Sajid Mahmood Nadeem
Co-principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Shafqat Nawaz
Co-principal Investigator:
Summary:

The changes in environmental scenario result in increasing aridity and under dry climate, salinity is one of the major abiotic stresses that hamper agriculture production In addition to osmotic and specific ion effect, salinity also affect plant growth by nutritional and hormonal imbalance. Rhizobacteria having exopolysaccharides activity can survive under stress environment and can also protect the plant from desiccation as well as ion toxicity by binding sodium. Similarly, the presence of ACC-deaminase enzyme reduced the deleterious concentration of stressed ethylene by degrading its immediate precursor i.e 1-aminocycloprpane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC). Also the ability of bacteria to solubilize phosphate and production of siderophores and indole acetic acid and enhancing the activity of antioxidant enzyme are additional benefits for plants to survive under stress environment. However, due to inefficiency of single strain in certain conditions, the use of multi-strain inocula could be an effective strategy under stress environment.  
The present study is planned for developing multi-strain inocula of PGPR that enable the plant to cope with stress environment. For this purpose, preliminary isolated PGPR strains will be evaluated for their ability to tolerate salinity. The selected strains will be used for preparing multi-strains inoculums on the basis of their compatibility with each other. The inoculums will be evaluated for their ability to promote growth in saline environment under axenic conditions and also by conducting pot trials in green house. The most effective combinations will be further evaluated by conducting field trials under natural salinity stress conditions. The most effective combination would be a potential source for biofertilizer preparation.


Objectives:

1. Developing multi-strains inoculums and its evaluation in saline environment under aexinc conditions.
2. Evaluation of most effective combination by conducting pot trials under salinity stress in green house
3. Evaluating the effectiveness of bacterial consortium by conducting field trials on natural salt-affected conditions



Title: Improving drought tolerance in maize through rhizobacteria containing ACC-deaminase and exopolysaccharides activity
Principal Investigator: Dr. Sajid Mahmood Nadeem
Co-principal Investigator: Dr. Zahir Ahmad Zahir
Co-principal Investigator:
Summary:

Drought is one of the major abiotic stresses that hamper agriculture production in most parts of the world. The changes in environmental scenario result in increasing aridity due to decrease in annual rainfall and that causes agriculture under sustained pressure to feed an ever increasing population. When plants are subjected to drought stress, accelerated level of ethylene produced that is harmful for root growth. Moreover, nutrient uptake also decreased due to limited supply of water. Drought can also make physico-chemical and biological properties of soil unsuitable for microbial and plant growth. The plant growth under drought stress can be enhanced by eliminating the negative impact of ethylene on root elongation. The rhizobacteria containing ACC-deaminase can protect the plant from the deleterious effects of high ethylene concentration by degrading the immediate precursor of ethylene i.e 1-aminocycloprpane-1-carboxylic acid. Rhizobacteria having exopolysaccharides activity can survive under drought stress which protects them from water stress by enhancing water retention. These bacteria also protect the plants from desiccation due to production of exopolysaccharides.  
Therefore the present study is planned for improving maize under drought stress through plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) having ACC-deaminase and exopolysaccharide activity. 
For this purpose, PGPR strains containing ACC-deaminase and exopolysaccharides activity will be isolated and then screened for their effectiveness under axenic conditions. The efficient strains on the basis of axenic trials will be evaluated in pot and field trials under drought conditions. The selected strains will also be identified and characterized for various characteristic such as ACC-deaminase activity, root colonization, chitinase activity and indole acetic acid production. 


Objectives:

1. Isolation of PGPR strains containing ACC-deaminase and exopolysaccharides activity.
2. Screening of PGPR strains for their growth promoting activity of maize in drought under axenic conditions.
3. Evaluation of the performance of most efficient strain by conducting pots trials. 
4. Evaluation of selected strains under drought stress by conducting fields trials. 
5. Identification and characterization of selected strains



Title: Improvement in the socio-economic and health status of female cotton pickers under the changed scenario of Bt cotton adoption in the cotton belt.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Muhammad Abubakkar
Co-principal Investigator: Dr. Ashfaq Ahmad Maann
Co-principal Investigator: Ms. Saima Nazir
Summary:

The uplift in the socio-economic and health status of the individuals of a society is the most reliable measure of the prosperity of a particular society. Pakistan is an agricultural based country whose economy chiefly relies upon the sustainable production of different agricultural commodities. Cotton crop is the life line of Pakistan's economy which has not only contributed to foreign exchange earnings but is also providing a large number of employment avenues. The attack of CLCuV and bollworms are the serious threats to sustainable cotton production and to the stability of country's economy consequently. To date, scientists are still unsuccessful to cope with CLCuV but, fortunately the introduction and adoption of Bt cotton varieties has provided a significant control over cotton bollworms. The induction of Bt cotton varieties have provided a sigh of relief to the growers by improving their socio-economic status. All the stake holders of cotton cultivation, processing and value addition chain have reaped maximum socio-economic benefits of Bt cotton adoption since its introduction in the country except, the most neglected, deprived and under waged part of this chain, the "female cotton pickers" (FCPs). Keeping in view the importance of FCPs in context of women empowerment and harnessing human and social capital, a comprehensive study has been proposed to assess the impact of Bt cotton adoption on the socio-economic and health wellbeing of FCPs. The results of the proposed project would be used to plan and execute different reforms to improve the socio-economic and health status of FCPs.


Objectives:
  1. To provide a descriptive analysis of wage structure of female cotton pickers before and after Bt cotton adoption.
  2. To highlight the health issues of female cotton pickers before and after the adoption of Bt cotton.
  3. To investigate the impact of Bt cotton adoption on the socio-economic status of female cotton pickers.
  4. To compare the health status of female cotton pickers working in Bt and non Bt cotton fields.
  5. To make comparison of socio-economic and health status of female cotton pickers with special reference to their employer's economic status.
  6. To provide descriptive analysis of the socio-economic and health status of seasonal migrant female cotton pickers and non migrants cotton pickers.
  7. To know the level of awareness in rural female cotton pickers about the hazardous effects of pesticides.
  8. To find out the reason of overwhelming representation of females in cotton picking.
  9. To explore the perception of female cotton pickers regarding the field training workshops
  10. To suggest specific areas of intervention to upgrade the socio-economic conditions of female cotton pickers.
  11. To provide outreach training sessions for awareness creation among female cotton pickers and to incentivize them to improve their family conditions.


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