Day 1 :
UT Health Science Center, USA
Time : 10:05-10:45
Russel J. Reiter, Ph.D., is Professor of Cell Biology at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Reiter has been awarded 3 honorary M.D. degrees and 1 honorary D.Sc. Degree. He has received numerous awards for his research including the A. Ross McIntyre Gold Medal (USA), US Senior Scientist Award (Germany), Lezoni Lincee Award (Italy), the Inaugural Aaron B. Lerner Award (FASEB, USA), etc. His scientific publications have been cited in excess of 90,000 times (Google Scholar) and his h-index is 145. He is on Thomson Reuters List of Highly Cited Scientists (top 100 in his field).
Melatonin, an ancient molecule and well known animal hormone which was recently discovered in plants, has numerous beneficial actions in economically-important plant species. Melatonin is a tryptophan derivative which has been identified in all plant species investigated. The concentration of melatonin in plants varies widely depending on stage of maturation, plant organ in which it is measured, plant species and previous stress exposure of the plant. Since they are sessile, plants are subjected to more abiotic and biotic stressors than are animals. Like a number of other small molecules, e.g., polyamines, melatonin increases plant tolerance to a variety of abiotic stresses including salinity, drought, excessive water, heat, cold, freezing, ultraviolet radiation, excessive light and heavy metal toxicity. When exposed to any of these stresses, plants upregulate endogenous melatonin synthesis thereby improving their tolerance to environmental insults. Likewise, melatonin added to the growth medium is taken up by the root systems to improve plant hardiness. Melatonin also protects apple leaves from a biotic stress (Marssonina fungus). Melatonin promotes chlorophyll synthesis in sprouting plants and inhibits chlorophyll degradation during light deprivation. It also helps to maintain ion homeostasis and inhibit senescence-associated genes. When melatonin was added to the seed coating solution used for soybeans, the subsequent growth of the plants was improved (taller plants and larger leaves) and soybean yield (number of pods and number of seeds) was improved. High throughput RNA sequence analysis showed treatment of Bermuda grass with melatonin upregulated 2,361 genes while down regulating 1,572 genes.
Ohio State university, USA
Time : 11:00-11:40
Desh Pal S. Verma is a full professor at the Ohio State University, USA. He obtained his B.Sc. degree in biology and chemistry, and M.Sc. degree in botany from Agra University, India, and his Ph.D. degree in plant physiology and biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences, Italy. His pioneering research work includes the identification and characterization of nudulins and phragmoplastin, and genes responsible for proline and callose biosynthesis in plants. He has served on the editorial boards for several international journals, edited eleven scholarly books, and published over 160 original research papers.
Plants respond to a given environment controlling their growth and productivity. Accordingly, a variety of environmental signals affect translation and transcription machineries and adjust the plant growth allowing it to adapt to the new conditions. A central regulatory system composed of TOR Kinase is involved in multiplexing these signals and controlling the rate of translation and transcription (particularly rRNA). TOR sends signals to the ribosomal protein RPS6 via S6 Kinase. We demonstrated that RPS6 may have a novel function in plants via its interaction with histone deacetylase 2B (AtHD2B) that belongs to the plant-specific histone deacetylase (HD2 family). Both RPS6 and HD2B were localized in the nucleolus. We have shown that RPS6 directly interacts with the rRNA gene promoter. This suggests that the interaction between RPS6 and AtHD2B may play an important role in linking TOR signaling to rDNA transcription (which makes 98% of RNA) in plants. This is consistent with mutation in rps6b that results in decreased root growth and reduction in 18S rRNA transcription. Over expression of both AtHD2B and RPS6 exhibited down-regulation of pre-18S rRNA synthesis with concomitant decrease in some of the ribosomal proteins transcription. This study suggests a new paradigm for controlling rDNA transcription in plants, in which TOR may be involved in an epigenetic silencing of the rDNA transcription via its downstream signaling component S6K/RPS6, and this mechanism involves HD2B. Such an interaction can provide a direct link between stress signals and the regulation of translation and transcription machineries controlling plant growth under a given environment.
- Track 1: Plant Physiology and Plant Biochemistry Track 2: Plant Pathology & Weed science Track 3: Crop Production and Market analysis Track 4: Agricultural science and agricultural biotechnology Track 5: Medicinal Plants
Texas A&M University
Time : 11:45-12:15
Dr Morgan holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in agronomy from Texas A&M University as well as a Doctorate of Philosophy in Horticulture/Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin. He has worked within the Texas A&M University system since 2003. Currently serving as the Texas State Extension Specialist, Morgan is an engaged scientist involved in multi-disciplinary fields of research pertaining to cotton production as well as the practical implementation of those scientific advances to the field.
Potassium (K) deficiencies in multiple row crops, specifically cotton, is a major concern to producers in South and central Texas. Previous research has documented that cotton is more sensitive to low K availability than other major field crops, and often shows symptoms of K deficiencies on soils not considered deficient. Therefore, the first objective was to quantify the K soil levels, surface and with depth, from several major cotton production regions in Texas experiencing K deficiencies. The second objective was to evaluate the impact of applications methods on K and rates on cotton yield, quality, and return on investment. Based on these findings, soil K recommendations will be re-evaluated and modified as appropriate to optimize cotton yields. Potassium was applied at rates of 0 - 160 lbs/a as broadcast incorporated applications and as injected applications in the Blacklands of Texas and Upper Gulf Coast region. In the 2012-2015 trials, positive lint yield responses to applied K were obtained at the majority of the sites. Higher lint yield responses were obtained when soil test levels were deficient; however, significant yield response also were obtained at some sites with greater than threshold K (125 ppm K). At responsive sites, the liquid K injected increased had a greater response on lint yield compared to broadcast incorporated K, but was year dependent. At yield responsive sites, applied K did impact cotton fiber quality characteristics, including length, strength, and micronaire. These trials were partially funded by Cotton Incorporated, IPNI, and Fluid Fertilizer Foundation.
University of California at Davis, USA
Title: Discovery and engineering of terpenoid metabolism in medicinal plants and food crops: from chemical diversity to biotechnology applications
Time : 12:15-12:45
Philipp Zerbe is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Plant Biology, University of California at Davis. His research focuses on the discovery and engineering of specialized terpenoid metabolism in medicinal plants and food crops for developing tools for the production of terpenoid bioproducts with human benefit. For his research, Dr. Zerbe recently received the Arthur C. Neish Young Investigator Award. Prior to his position at UC Davis, Dr. Zerbe received his PhD from the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany (2007), followed by positions as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Associate at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada).
Terpenoids form the largest and most diverse metabolite class in plants with essential functions in plant development and ecological interactions. Their various bioactivities offer a rich source for novel pharmaceuticals and other bioproducts, as well as new leads for enhacing stress resistance in crop plants. However, a broader industrial application of plant-derived terpenoids remains limited by the narrow taxonomic distribution, low abundance and complex diversity of these metabolites in nature. We established deep transcriptome resources for more than a dozen non-model medicinal plants and food crops hat produce terpenoid metabolites of economic importance. We established an efficient gene discovery platform, combining metabolite profiling with generation and gene-specific analysis of these transcriptome inventories that resulted in the discovery of more than 60 terpene synthases and several hundred cytochrome P450-dependent monooxygenases, as key enzymes in generating terpenoid metabolic diversity. Functional enzyme characterization revealed numerous novel terpene synthase functions as part of dynamic modular pathways, where catalytically distinct enzymes may function in different combinations to enhance chemical diversity. Following nature’s lead, we developed proof-of-concept yeast expression platforms for several diterpenoids through combinatorial expression of functionally distinct terpenoid pathway genes.
North-West University, South Africa
Title: Changes in the photosynthetic efficiency of sugarcane (Saccharum sp.) when fumigated with CO2 and O3
Time : 12:45-13:15
Jacques obtained his PhD degree in 2006 at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. He worked for several years in the private sector where he developed nutrient foliar applications and the incorporation of plant growth regulators into these products. At the end of 2007 he was appointed as lecturer in plant physiology at the North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2015. He specializes in the use of chlorophyll a fluorescence as a tool to evaluate plant health. Current research activities involve the quantification of the effects of climate change and air pollution on crops.
Global CO2 concentrations have been rising during the past few decades and it is expected that these levels will reach 550 ppm by next century. Together with rise in global CO2 levels is the increase in in surface O3 due to increases in anthropogenic sources. Surface O3 is regarded as a very serious air pollutant, causing damage to all forms of live. Crops are especially vulnerable to O3 stress and significant loss to yields have been reported. In this study we investigated the effect of elevated CO2, O3 and a combination of elevated CO2 and O3 on the light dependent photosynthetic reactions of sugarcane. Two sugarcane varieties, N31 and NCo376 were exposed to 750 ppm CO2, 80 ppm O3 and a combination of 750 ppm CO2 and 80 ppb O3 in open-top chambers. Chlorophyll a fluorescence analysis was used to investigate the effects on the light dependent photosynthetic reactions. Elevated CO2, O3 and the combination treatment all effected the photosynthetic efficiency, but the two varieties responded differently to these conditions. Analysis of the OJIP kinetics indicated that elevated CO2 resulted in an early decline in the ability of the plant to create a charge separation in the photosynthetic reaction centers of PSII of NCo376. Electron transport between PSII and PSI of NCo376 was also reduced, whereas these reactions of N31 reduced much later. The effect of O3 was less dramatic, but the results did indicate that N31 had a higher tolerance level to O3 compared to NCo376. A combination of 80 ppb O3 and 750 ppb CO2 does indicate that elevated levels of CO2 can ameliorate the negative impacts of O3 on the photosynthetic efficiency.
The City University of New York, USA
Time : 14:00-14:30
Artem Domashevskiy has received his joint doctorale degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics four years ago from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Hunter College, and postdoctoral studies from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is a tenure-track Assistant Professor, who coordinates advance courses in Biochemistry and directs a research laboratory, where his team investigates the properties and function of plant toxic proteins and translation of eukaryotic and viral RNAs. He has published in numerous reputed journals and has served on several prominent editorial and review boards.
An evolutionary arms race between plants and their pathogens has shaped each other’s elaborate strategies for survival. Plants produce proteins that are thought to play a key role in their defense mechanisms against foreign pathogens. These protein toxins are known as ribosome inactivating proteins (RIPs). RIPs are broadly distributed throughout the kingdom of plants, fungi, and several species of bacteria. High toxicity of the castor plant owes its physiological effects to ricin and has been known since antiquity. The deadliness of namy RIPs has been explored by political and military organizations to design biological weaponry, scientists to generate transgenic species of plants resistant to viral infections, cancer researchers in production of immuno-conjugate therapeutics, as well as mystery writers to engage the readers. RIPs are RNA N-glycosidases that inhibit advanced stages of protein synthesis by selectively modyifying large rRNA molecules and deactivating ribosomes. Other plants (e.g., common pokeweed and soapwart produce pokeweed antiviral protein (PAP) and saporin, respectively, with increased antiviral and antifungal activities. Recently, we have identified a viral genome-linked protein, VPg, from turnip mosaic virus (TuMV) that binds PAP and ricin A chain (RTA) with great affinity and inhibits their cytotocicity. VPg functions as a cap analog in cap-independent translation, and potentially target PAP to uncapped IRES-containing RNA. Serving as a potent inhibitor of RIP activity, we believe that VPg may confer an evolutionary advantage by suppressing one of the plant defense mechanisms, and also suggests the possible use of this protein against the cytotoxic activity of RIPs.
RWTH Aachen University, Germany
Time : 14:30-15:00
Dr. Caspar Langenbach obtained his PhD in the group of Jun.-Prof. Dr. Katharina Göllner at the Plant Physiology Department of RWTH Aachen University in 2013. He than started his postdoctoral carreer with focus on translational research in the Plant Biochemistry & Molecular Biology group of Prof. Dr. Uwe Conrath at RWTH Aachen University. Since 2016 he is leader of the ‘Agbiotech’ subgroup in the Conrath lab. Caspar Langenbach has published several papers in reputed journals on molecular aspects of nonhost resistance and transfer of nonhost resistance-associated genes to provide enhanced resistance to Asian soybean rust.
Phakopsora pachyrhizi is a biotrophic fungus that provokes Asian soybean rust (SBR). Since soybean varieties with resistance to all isolates of P. pachyrhizi are lacking, fungicide application is the most effective means for controlling SBR at the moment. However, emergence of fungicide insensitive pathogen strains and wash-off of active compounds by rain reduce the efficacy of fungicides. Hence, there is an urgent need to identify novel fungicides, increase persistence time of contact fungicides on plants and generate SBR resistant soybean genotypes. We identified POSTINVASION-INDUCED NONHOST RESISTANCE GENE 11 (PING11) which expression correlates with the accumulation of a phytolalexin during Arabidopsis postinvasion NHR. The phytoalexin inhibited germination of P. pachyrhizi spores and countered rust symptom development. Consistent with its key role in phytoalexin biosynthesis, overexpression of PING11 in transgenic tobacco BY2 cells enabled production of high amounts of the natural fungicide. Furthermore, stable PING11 expression in Arabidopsis and soybean led to constitutive accumulation of the antifungal metabolite. Current work addresses transgenic plants’ disease resistance and the phytoalexin`s mode of action. We will also introduce the use of bifunctional fusion proteins (BiFuProts) as a tool for controlling SBR and other plant diseases by functionalizing the plant surface. BiFuProts consist of a plant leaf anchoring peptide fused to an antimicrobial peptide and are immobilized on leaf surfaces of different crops. Due to their exceptionally high rainfastness, antifungal BiFuProts may provide long-lasting crop protection and thus contribute to minimize fungicide use.
Savitribai Phule Pune University, India
Time : 15:00-15:30
Dr. S.S. Deokule has completed his Ph.D. in 1989 from Pune University. At presently he is senior most professor in the department of Botany and was HOD from 2010-2013. He has great contribution in the study of Indian medicinal plants, guided about 30 Doctoral and 22 M.Phil. students. Total 175 research articles were published along with 12 books. He is associated with many national and international academic bodies and also appointed as Member, Board of Directors, Asian Society of Pharmacognosy. He has received many prestigious awards at national and international level. He has created awareness about medicinal plant cultivation.
India is very rich in her medicinal plant wealth. About 35,000 medicinal plants are listed all over the world. Out of that 31000 plants are listed in India. Despite being the wide use of Western medicines, more than 70 % of India’s population depends up on herbal drugs. There are about 8 lakh licensed registered medicinal practitioners of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM & H). There are about 7,000-registered herbal medicine manufacturers and 8,000 pharmacies that mainly derive their raw material requirement directly or indirectly from natural sources. Indian Pharmacopoeia records about 100 medicinal plants and their preparations. Some of these drugs are also recorded in the Pharmacopoeia of other countries of the world (viz. British Pharmaceutical codex possess 80 % of Indian medicinal plants). Hence, there is a great demand for them in the international markets. Many fungi are associated with herbal drugs under storage. Association of fungi were screened on six herbal drugs such as Acorus calamus Linn., Boerhaavia diffusa Linn., Cassia angustifolia Vahl, Clerodendrum serratum (Linn) Moon, Cullen corylifolia (Linn.) Medik and Fagonia bruguieri DC. Total 17 fungi and 68 species are isolated from the above stored drugs. It was observed that 75, 96 and 100 % RH showed significant reduction in the sugars, proteins, phenols, alkaloids, glycosides contents and maximum storage periods also proliferate the growth of fungi. Selected drugs are also screened for aflatoxin contamination confirmation but it was observed that these drugs are free from aflatoxin contamination.
Osmania University, India
Title: Title: Synergistic effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobium on plant growth, yield and resistance to charcoal rot of green gram [Vigna radiata (l.) wilczek]
Time : 15:30-16:00
B N Reddy has Published 75 research papers, contributed chapters in books brought out by reputed publishers. He is the author of Systematics and Occurrence of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi brought out by Lap Lambert Academic Publishing. He has presented 114 research papers at national and international conferences, organized 14 seminars/conferences, delivered Plenary Lectures on invitation in the international conferences/symposia held in Austria, China, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Turkey, USA and interacted with many Nobel Laureates.
Low cost biofertilizers for disease management options need to be optimized if yields are to be sustained and food security attained. In the present study, field experiments were conducted to investigate the synergistic eff ects of arbuscular mycorrhiza, Glomus constrictum, nitrogen fi xing bacteria, Rhizobium spp. and charcoal rot pathogen, Macrophomina phaseolina on green gram in relation to plant growth, nodulation, nutrient uptake, seed yield and infl uence on charcoal rot disease incidence. Th e pathogen inoculated plants reduced all plant responses monitored and were signifi cantly lower in uninoculated control plants. Glomus plus pathogen inoculated plants yielded greater plant dry weights, phosphorus, potassium content and seed yield followed by Rhizobium plus pathogen inoculated plants compared to only pathogen inoculated and control plants. The nodule number, dry weight, nitrogen content of the root nodules in Glomus plus Rhizobium treatments in the presence of pathogen were signifi cantly more compared to Rhizobium plus pathogen inoculated plants. In Glomus with pathogen treatments, the percentage root colonization was recorded to be 58.45%. Co-inoculation of two symbionts with pathogen enhanced root colonization ability to 80.64%. Inoculation of two symbionts in combination with the pathogen signifi cantly reduced charcoal rot disease incidence as compared to pathogen inoculated in combination with only one symbiont either Glomus or Rhizobium. However, the plants in the presence of Glomus and Rhizobium were more tolerant to fungal root pathogen, M. phaseolina. The results indicate that inoculation with two symbionts in combination is more beneficial in management of root rot pathogen in green gram.
National Institute of Technology, India
Title: Evaluation of the Nutritional Potential and GC-MS Analysis of Acmella paniculata (Wall. ex DC.) R.K Jansen from Arunachal Pradesh (Eastern Himalayas)
Time : 16:30-17:00
Dr. Pallabi Kalita Hui has completed his PhD from the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Tezpur University, Napaam, Tezpur, Assam, India. She conducted her postdoctoral studies from the Department of Botany, Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal Pradesh, India and Department of Crystallography and Biophysics, University of Madras, India and sponsored by CPEB-II, UGC, New Delhi, India. Presently she is working as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering, National Institute of Technology (NIT), Yupia, Arunachal Pradesh, India, one of the premier national institutes of India out of the 32 renowned national institutes in the country. She has published more than 30 papers in reputed journals and has been serving as editorial board member of internationally reputed journals. Her area of specialization is Drug Discovery and Nutritional Biochemistry.
Acmella paniculata (Wall. ex DC.) R.K. Jansen (syn. Spilanthes paniculata DC.) a food plant of Arunachal Pradesh, belonging to the family Compositae (Asteraceae) is reported to be used frequently as food and medicinal agent by various indigenous communities of Arunachal Pradesh and many other parts of the world. It has been used in ancient system of medicine for the treatment of a number of diseases viz. toothache, rheumatism, fever, skin diseases, purgation, urinary tract infection, pulverization of kidney and gall stones, remedy for stammering in children. The evaluation of nutrient composition of the leaves showed that it is highly rich in nutrients and therefore good for human consumption for the maintenance of health and vitality. Nutritional potential of Acmella paniculata was carried out from eight distant locations of Arunachal Pradesh. Proximate analysis such as moisture, organic matter, crude protein, crude lipid & ash percent was carried out for the selected plant. Some mineral ions like calcium (Ca), sodium (Na), potassium (K) & phosphorus (P) was calculated for the plant. Proximate analysis showed the plant having high levels of organic matter & protein. However the plant did not show significant levels of lipid content. Among the mineral ions Ca was found to be highest in the plant. Phosphorus (P) level was comparatively lower followed by potassium (K) and sodium (Na) showed the least percentage among all minerals. Preliminary phytochemical screening through different solvents inferred that methanol fraction showed maximum presence of alkaloids and other secondary metabolites like steroids, proteins, polyphenols. Further GC-MS studies of the methanolic fraction of Acmella paniculata (Wall. ex DC.) R.K Jansen identified the compounds based on direct comparison of the retention times and mass spectral data with those for standard compounds indicates the plant to be a source of phytochemical importance. The plant may be considered as a potential source for formulation of useful drugs for targeting different diseases.
Imo State University, Nigeria
Title: Stem anatomy of three Chrysophylum species (sapotaceae) and their relevance for taxonomy (systematic botany)
Time : 17:00-17:30
Mbagwu F N is currently working as an Associate Professor. He attended Umuaka High School 1984 and Rivers State School of Arts and Science in 1987. He obtained his BSc in Botany from University of Port Harcourt 1988-1992, MSc in Plant Taxonomy from Imo State University in 1997 and PhD in 2005 from Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike Abia state in Plant Taxonomy and Biosystematics. He is currently a Lecturer at Imo State University owerri Nigeria. He has published up to 52 journals articles.
The stem anatomical features of three species of Chrysophyllum namely: C. albidum G. Don; C. cainito Linn. and C. subnudum Baker were investigated using standard anatomical techniques with slight modifi cation. Th e outcome of the result showed numerous vessels in C. cainito but few in C. albidum and C. subnudum. Th e number of rays are multiseriate in C. albidum and C. canitio but uniseriate in C. subnudum. Th e shapes of vessels ranged from oval to circular in C. albidum but circular to rectangular in C. cainito and C. subnudum. Th ere is a presence of pith and sclerenchyma cells in all the three species investigated. Th e results clearly distinguished C. albidum from C. subnudum, hence the diff erence showed reason for each to exist as distinct specie whereas the similarities showed reasons for them to be placed under the same genus Chrysophyllum.