Plant Pathology is the study of plant diseases, their causes, and the interaction with the environment. The Master’s Degree program emphasizes studies on microorganisms, plants and their interactions. The field consists of several sub-disciplines including Phytomycology, Bacteriology, Plant Virology, Nematology, Epidemiology, Crop Protection and Post Harvest Pathology, to the study of which the tools of Genetics, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology are applied.
The Master’s Degree is designed to provide students with a broad exposure to the discipline of Plant Pathology through course work and field / research experience. Students will have the opportunity to be trained in both basic and applied aspects in Plant Pathology, with one of the primary thrusts of the program focusing on agricultural crops of economic importance.
In general, ‘Plant Cell and Tissue Culture’ is the growth of individual plant cells or isolated tissues in artificial light on a nutrient medium under aseptic conditions in glass vessels. Tissue culture which is also referred to as ‘in vitro’ culture is an important biotechnological tool.
Today tissue culture techniques are used throughout the world as a tool, both in research and in commercial production. In developed countries these techniques have been used to a great extent in agriculture, horticulture and industry while in developing countries the techniques have not yet been fully exploited.
Some of the important applications include:
- Elimination of viruses from plant tissues to obtain virus free plants.
- Micropropagation- mass production of uniform plants. (clonal propagation)
- Induction of genetic variability.
- Improvement of crops through genetic engineering.
- Production of haploids – which offer a quick and convenient way of obtaining homozygous plants in breeding programs.
- Production of secondary metabolites through cell cultures.
- Studies on physiological, biochemical, genetic and structural problems related to plant growth and development
- The main aim of this program is to produce experts in the field of plant cell and tissue culture.These experts in turn could,Use the knowledge gained in their Institutes or start his/ her own industry.
Train others and thereby produce skilled human resources in the field.
Assist in developing this type of biotechnology industry using the available resources of the country.
- To improve local agriculture and horticulture industry
- To lay the framework for encouraging, promoting and assisting industry on plant cell and tissue culture and its application in the country.
Agricultural microbiology is a scientific discipline oriented to satisfy the request of new knowledge from the society, consumers and producers, needed for the exploitation of microbial resources in the main frame of agricultural and agro-industrial processes. In a world teeming with microorganisms,benefits and threats are continuously posed to humans, animals, plants and the environment as a whole. Threats come from microbial pathogens that perpetrate a wide range of plant and animal diseases, reducing agricultural productivity.
The constant spread and evolution of agricultural pathogens provides a continually renewed source of challenges to productivity and food safety. Benefits come from the many microorganisms associated with, or introduced into, cropping systems, food and food related industries.Additionally, new vulnerabilities are generated for agriculture by global movement of agricultural products, trading policies, industrial agricultural practices, and the potential for malicious releases of pathogens. Science and technology emerging from microbiology research can help meet these challenges to agriculture. Knowledge of microbial pathogens will lead to tools for surveillance and disease prevention. Beneficial microbes may find uses in agriculture as biofertilizers, phytostimulators, bioherbicides, biopesticides, bioremediators etc. Complex interactions among microbes and agricultural systems must be better understood to facilitate the optimal use of beneficial microorganisms and maximal control of pathogens. In this programme, attempts will be made to give an in depth knowledge pertaining to sustainable use of microorganisms as a valuable tool in agriculture
The main objective is to disseminate new knowledge and technologies to agriculturists with regard to continued advances in agricultural microbiology. In addition:
- To provide training in Safe handling
- Culturing and preservation of microorganisms
- Simulation of microbial processes in the laboratory
- Laboratory management
- To produce experts capable of using novel technologies in current agricultural settings
- To encourage and to lay framework in establishing organic farming systems in Sri Lanka.