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K. RAJMOHAN Ph.D.

Ph.D. (Horticulture) Kerala AgrIcultural University : Distinction
[Thesis title: “Standardisation of tissue / meristem culture techniques in important horticultural crops”]

M.Sc. (Horticulture) Kerala AgrIcultural University : Distinction
[Hormonal regulation of the growth and yield of Coleus parviflorus- a vegetable tuber crop]

B.Sc. (Horticulture) Kerala AgrIcultural University : Distinction

TEACHING

Thirty two years of experience in teaching at the undergraduate and post graduate level in Horticulture / Biotechnology.
Handled 90 courses in Horticulture, Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology for the undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Guided 4 Ph.D. scholars, as the Major Advisor.
Guided 13 M.Sc. students, as the Major Advisor.
Member of the Advisory Committee of 22 Ph.D. and 40 M.Sc. students in Horticulture / Biotechnology.
Course Director, M.Sc. (Integrated Biotechnology Course), Kerala Agricultural University.
Was instrumental (in the capacity of Head of Department) for establishing the Department of Plant Biotechnology (in 2003) and initiating M.Sc. (in 2003) and Ph.D. (in 2009) programmes in Plant Biotechnology, at the Kerala Agricultural University. Also, offered leadership for starting the M.Sc. (Integrated) Biotechnology course at the University (in the capacity of Course Director) in 2009 as well as establishing an Advanced Centre for Integrated Biotechnology in 2013.

RESEARCH

Served as the Project Coordinator (Biotechnology), Kerala Agricultural University for 15 years.
Involved in 22 externally aided research projects / University projects.
Contributions in research and development
Was involved in research, as Co-Principal Investigator in 18 externally aided research projects dealing with Biotechnology, in vitro propagation, physiology and management of banana, mango, coconut, date palm, orchids, anthuriums, heliconias, bell pepper, black pepper, and ivy gourd. Associated with the molecular characterization of Fusarium pallidoroseum and other species, used as biocontrol agents of insect pests and weeds. Principal Investigator of four externally aided / university research projects on the Biotechnology of horticultural crops.

a.) In vitro propagation of horticultural crops
Protocols for the in vitro propagation of horticultural crops like jack, banana, orchids, anthurium, vanilla and several medicinal plants have been standardized. Protocol for in vitro propagation of jack via enhanced release of axillary buds was evolved. The ex vitro establishment problem of jack plantlets was studied in detail and protocol evolved for successful field establishment. Protocol for in vitro propagation of Red Banana was evolved and commercialized. Protocol for in vitro propagation of Aristolochia indica, Bacopa monnieri, Centella asiatica, Plumbago rosea, Boerhaavia diffusa, Smilax zeylanica and Ipomoea mauritiana were developed. Protocol for the mass in vitro clonal propagation of vanilla was standardised. Evaluation of the performance of banana, pepper, vanilla, orchids and anthuriums in farmers’ fields was done.
Methods could be standardized for the in vitro propagation of mango varieties via somatic embryogenesis from nucellar tissues of Neelum, Banglora and Vellari Manga. Standardization of techniques useful for the in vitro propagation of cashew via enhanced release of axillary buds, somatic organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis was done.

b.) In vitro crop improvement / genetic transformation of horticultural crops
Techniques could be standardized for Agrobacterium mediated genetic transformation in orchid and medicinal plants. Dendrobium orchid could be transformed using 1-aminocyclopropane- 1 carboxylic acid (ACC) synthase antisense gene, for reducing ethylene biosynthesis and increasing the shelf life of inflorescence. Considerable work done, for evolving a vector, for chloroplast transformation, in Centella asiatica. Chloroplast transformation of Centella asiatica and Solanum dulcamera was attempted using biolistic method. Molecular analysis of the spike branching trait in black pepper could be initiated. Involved in the development of five Dendrobium orchid Hybrid varieties, released by the Kerala State in 2006. Characterised one hundred traditional mango varieties of Southern Kerala.

c.) Molecular marker analysis of horticultural crops
Molecular characterization of ecotypes / varieties of crops, including medicinal plants, ornamental crops, vegetable and spice crops was done. RAPD analysis of the clones and intraclones of banana, mango and the ecotypes of several medicinal plants has been done. Clones / inctraclones of banana belonging to various genomic groups were subjected to field evaluation and RAPD analysis. Two hundred trees of traditional mango varieties of southern Kerala were evaluated based on morphological and RAPD profiles. Reported the positive effect of green leaves used in traditional preparations on DNA repair.
Maturity barrier problem associated with the in vitro propagation of tree crops was analysed using molecular tools. DNA methylation in juvenile and mature plants of Eucalyptus camaldulensis was contrasted.