Scientific Contributions

Major Scientific Contributions

Using novel methods in field and laboratory, we have received international recognition for our researches on the ecological implications of exotic introduced trees like Eucalyptus and Poplar, and alien invasive weeds such asParthenium hysterophorus, Ageratum conyzoides and Lantana camara.

Biochemical Inter-plant interaction: 

Have made seminal contributions in understanding as to how the plants release chemicals into the environment which in affect other plants (allelopathy) under diverse habitats such as wastelands, grasslands, plantations, agricultural fields and simultaneous agroforestry systems. I have demonstrated the role of these interactions in reduction of diversity and productivity of plants. The research has provided important insights into the mechanism for successful establishment of invasive weeds, particularly Parthenium, Lantana and Ageratum conyzoides, in India. The pioneering work on ecology and biology of Parthenium has yielded useful information that has aided the Chandigarh Administration in managing the weed to a great extent. The research finds place in prestigious journals like Annals of Applied Biology, Weed Technology,Biological InvasionsAgriculture, Ecosystems & EnvironmentWeed Biology & Management and J. Agronomy & Crop Science. 

Exploiting Allelopathy for sustainable Weed Management: 

We have succeeded in exploiting the allelopathic property of Eucalyptus and exotic invasive weeds as (a) novel weapon against noxious weeds, and (b) as growth regulator in low dose. I pioneered the use of essential oils especially monoterpenes from Eucalyptus and other aromatic plants against weeds. Our work opened a new frontier of research for sustainable weed management using minimal amounts of eco-friendly, effective and economically better options. In collaboration with a scientist from IARI, we made structural analogues of Parthenin from Parthenium and succeeded in demonstrating herbicidal activity against some weeds with no effect whatsoever on the growth of wheat. Our work was published in journals like, I.J Chem., Biol. PlantarumPl. Growth Regulation, Current ScienceIAS Quarterly etc.  We further successfully explored the use of allelopathic plants like Anisomeles indica and Tagetes minuta with rich natural product chemistry for managing the weeds in rice and wheat fields without affecting crop produce. This work has been published in good journal like Annals of Applied BiologyCrop Protection and Agronomy for Sustainable Development. The work is of immense significance to agrochemists.

Understanding Mode of Action of Allelochemicals: 

The research team lead by me has established the physiological and biochemical mode of action of pure natural compounds of herbicidal interest like parthenin, α-pinene, BOA (2-benzoxazolinone) and L-DOPA (L–3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine). Our findings suggest that allelochemicals act through a multitude of metabolic pathways including photosynthesis, respiration and membrane integrity. We have demonstrated that chemicals like L-DOPA, α-pinene, and BOA cause oxidative burst in the plant systems and alter the scavenging mechanism of the plant systems. The work has been published in journals like Plant Growth RegulationAnnals of Applied BiologyPlant Physiology and Biochemistry and Annals of Botany.

Plantation Forestry and Agroforestry: 

We have demonstrated that indigenous tree species like Dalbergia sissoo are ecologically and economically better than exotic Eucalyptus and Populus when cultivated as shelterbelts. Our research has helped many farmers in designing suitable tree-crop combinations for the agroforestry systems for enhanced and sustainable crop production. These finding have appeared in journals like Agriculture, Ecosystem & EnvironmentAgronomie (France)Agroforestry Systems (Netherlands), International Tree Crops J (England), J of Tropical Forest Science (Malaysia). We have provided ample evidence in support of ecological suitability and economic profitability of mix-culture of native and exotic species over monoculture of fast growing native trees. 

Patents on Environmental Innovations: 

We have provided practical solution of converting the non-degradable mammal hair and birds feather into rich manure through vermin-technology. Likewise, added value to noxious weed Congress-grass (Pathenium hysterophorus) by converting it into nitrogen-rich manure and degrading Parthenin. Both these practical solutions to environmental problems have been granted patents. The procedure of extraction of Parthenin from Congress-grass that has a lot of potential in Environment is awaiting the grant of the patent

Scholarly publications in SCI journals of repute, many of which have good impact factor and these findings have been profusely cited by others. 

Also published reviews on the different aspects of allelopathy in international journals of repute including Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences (USA). The published track record attests to very high standards of academic excellence with some of our papers rated as the top 25 hottest articles /top 20 most cited / most popular articles of Science Direct and Blackwell Synergy. One of these even got us the honour of ‘Highly Cited Author’ between 2007-2010.

Current Interest: Group is currently engaged in understanding the following themes of direct social relevance 

(a)  Ecological Implications of Cell-phone Technology and <p >(b) Development of eco-friendly novel herbicides from plant essential oils. <p >(c)  Urban Forestry: Problems and solutions

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