The Division is pursuing interdisciplinary research on genetic improvement for salinity, sodicity and waterlogging tolerance in crop plants. Different experiments/projects are being taken up in the division for genetics, plant physiology, plant breeding, germplasm documentation, physiological characterization and molecular breeding through germplasm collection, conservation, evaluation and documentation for salt tolerance in rice, wheat, mustard, chickpea, soybean and vegetables. The Division has developed several salt tolerance varieties of rice, wheat, mustard, chickpea, sesbania, dill and lentil. In addition, a number of genetic stocks have been registered with the NBPGR, New Delhi to be used by breeders and other scientists engaged in crop improvement for abiotic stresses world over. These studies have been extremely useful in improving the genetic makeup of different crops and their productivity in salt affected soils. The division has established extensive facilities for screening under salinity/sodicity/waterlogging in the form of controlled temperature glass house, microplots, transgenic glass house and net houses etc alongwith seed production farm. The Division has developed strong international and national linkages with different organizations/institutes and has successfully completed and currently involved in many foreign aided/externally funded research projects on various research themes.
- Eight salt tolerant varieties of rice (CSR56 and CSR60 in 2019, CSR 36 in 2005, CSR 23 in 2004, CSR 30 in 2001, CSR 13 and CSR 27 in 1998 and CSR 10 in 1989) have been developed and released and notified for commercial cultivation by Central Sub-Committee on Crop Standards, Notification and Release of Varieties for Agricultural Crops. Four salt tolerant varieties of rice (CSR52 and CSR49 in 2020, CSR 46 in 2016 and CSR 43 in 2011) have been released and notified for commercial cultivation by UP state varietal release committee.
- Four salt tolerant varieties of wheat (KRL 1-4 in 1990, KRL 19 in 2000, KRL 210 and KRL 213 in 2010) have been developed and released by Central Sub-Committee on Crop Standards, Notification and Release of Varieties for Agricultural Crops. KRL 283, a salt tolerant variety was released and notified for commercial cultivation by UP state varietal release committee in 2018.
- Five salt tolerant varieties of mustard (CS 52 in 1997, CS 54 in 2005, CS 56 in 2008, CS 58 in 2017 and CS 60 in 2018) have been developed and released by Central Sub-Committee on Crop Standards, Notification and Release of Varieties for Agricultural Crops.
- One chickpea variety, Karnal Chana-1 in 1997 has been released for salt affected soils by Central Sub-Committee on Crop Standards, Notification and Release of Varieties for Agricultural Crops.
- Developed two Lentil variety: PDL-1 and PSL-9 in 2019 (identified by AICRP on MULLaRP) for moderate salinity affected soils of North Western Plain Zone (NWPZ) & North Eastern Plain Zone (NEPZ) in collaboration of IARI.
Salt Tolerant genetic stocks
- CSR47, CSR51 and CSR53 have been registered as unique sodicity tolerant rice germplasm with NBPGR, New Delhi.
- KRL 35, KRL 99 and KRL 3-4 have been registered as unique salt and waterlogging tolerant wheat germplasm with NBPGR, New Delhi.
- Three genotypes of Mustard CS 1100-1-2-2-3 (IC0511389 & INGR 15058), CS15000-1-2-2-2-1 (IC0624502 & INGR17051) and CS 52-SPS-1-2012 (IC0630607 & INGR19082) – have been registered at NBPGR as national genetic stock with salinity tolerance upto ECe 12-15 dSm-1 and alkalinity tolerance upto pH 9.4-9.5 and high photosynthetic efficiency under salinity
- In Sesbania (Dhaincha), two genetic stocks CSD 137 and CSD 123 have been registered with NBPGR as salt tolerant genetic stocks.
Other research achievements
- A large number of germplasm of cereals, oilseeds, pulses, okra, tomato, medicinal and agro-forestry crops have been collected, screened and evaluated for salt tolerance
- Rapid and reliable laboratory methods for screening of genotypes/germplasm for salt and waterlogging tolerance developed.
- Saltol QTL has been introgressed in to high yielding rice varieties namely, Pusa44 and Sarjoo52 thorugh Marker Assisted Backcross Breeding (MABB)
- Identified QTLs for spikelet fertility for salt tolerance at reproductive stage in rice and is being introgressed. Evaluated 1000 transgenic progenies of IR 64 for salinity and sodicity tolerance in the controlled transgenic glass house facility.
- Identified the salinity and Sodicity tolerant transgenic rice lines namely, ICG A18-2-R1 and ICG TA7-1-4-R2.
- Developed the calibration models and standardized the Fourier transform near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy(FT-NIR) for non-destructive estimation of oil [ r2 = 0.907, RPD= 4.67]; protein [r2=0.922, RPD=4.71]; erucic acid [r2= 0.902, RPD=4.65] and crude fibers [r2= 0.903, RPD=4.74] in Indian mustard.
- RILs of Rice, Wheat, Mustard and Chickpea have been screened for salinity, alkalinity and waterlogging stress.
- Developed the pass port data of 9000 rice accessions for 30 qualitative and quantitative traits and has been submitted to NBPGR for national use in further breeding programme. Developed mini core of 1500 for better utilization in breeding programme.
- Identified highly salt tolerant grasses (Urochondra setulosa and Sporobolus marginatus ) that can survive upto ECe 50 dSm‑1 and pH 10.0.
- Denovo transcriptome of grass halophytes Urochondra setulosa and Dichanthium annulatum has been generated for identification of differentially expressed genes for salt tolerance which can be used for further crop improvement through genetic engineering.
Seed Production of Salt Tolerant Varieties
- Breeder and labelled seeds of salt tolerant varieties are produced to meet the requirements of national and state organizations and the farmers. During last five years, breeder and truth labeled (TL) seed of salt tolerant varieties of rice (333 and 604 qt ), wheat (293 and 1740 qt), mustard (127 qt) and chickpea (49 qt), respectively was produced and distributed. Annual estimated area coverage from this much seed is about 1.5 mn hectares with estimated 4.4 million tonnes contribution in the food grain production of the country. This much food grain corresponds to 51573 crore rupees.
Collaborations and Linkages
- ACIAR, Australia funded project on Wheat Improvement for waterlogging, salinity and element toxicities in Australia and India” (2009-2013).
- ICAR funded project on “Multilocation evaluation of wheat germplasm” through NBPGR (2007-2014).
- DBT funded project on “Germplasm Characterization and Trait Discovery in Wheat using Genomics Approaches and its Integration for Improving Climate Resilience, Productivity and Nutritional quality” (2020-2025).
- ICAR-NBPGR funded “Consortium Research Platform on Agrobiodiversity (CRP-AB) Wheat Component -Evaluation of wheat germplasm for salt tolerance” (2017-2020).
- BMGF funded IRRI-CSSRI STRASA Project on “Stress tolerant rice for poor farmers of Africa and South Asia” (2011-19).
- ICAR funded Network Project on Functional Genomics and genetic modification in Crops (NPFGGM): Salt tolerance in rice (2017- contd.).
- DBT funded “From QTL to Variety: Genomics assisted introgression and field evaluation of rice varieties with genes/QTLs for yield under Drought, Flood and Salt stress” (2018-2021).
- ICAR-IRRI Collaborative Project on “Climate smart management practices” (2019- contd.)
- Consortium research platform on Agrobiodiversity- Evaluation of Rice germplasm for salinity. (2015-contd. ).
- Contractual Research project on “Evaluation of Bayer Rice Hybrids under salinity stress”. (2015- 2019 ).
- ICAR funded project under “Incentivizing Research in Agriculture” scheme on “Molecular genetic analysis of resistance/tolerance to different stresses in rice, wheat, chickpea and mustard including sheath blight complex genomics”. 2015- contd.).
- NFBSFARA (now NASF)-ICAR funded project on “Understanding the adaptation mechanism of wild forage halophytes in the extreme saline-sodic Kachchh plains for enhancing feed resources” (2013-2016).
- NASF-ICAR funded project on “Potential gene mining from salt tolerant grasses for improvement of stress tolerance in crops” (2017-2020).
- RKVY funded project on “Mineral Nutrient Diagnostic and Site Specific Nutrient Management Demonstrations to Improve Agricultural Productivity of Salt Affected Soils in Haryana” (2016-2019).
- RKVY funded project on “Phytoremediation Potential of Selected Halophytes for Salt Affected Lands of Haryana”(2017-2020).
- IFFCO funded project “Enhancing nutrient use efficiency using Nano-N in rice-wheat cropping system under salt stress”. (2020-2023) .
- DBT funded project “Development of high-density linkage map and tagging salinity tolerance in lentil using genotyping-by-sequencing approach for improving salt tolerance”(2019-2022).
- DBT funded project “Leveraging genetic resources for accelerated genetic improvement of Linseed using comprehensive genomics and phenotyping approaches”(2020-2025).