An alumnus of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has bagged a national award for his doctoral thesis on the prevalence of cotton necrosis disease caused by tobacco streak virus and the ways to manage it.
S Vinod Kumar, who did the research on ‘Emergence of tobacco streak virus infecting cotton: Investigations on symptom expression, transmission, spread and management’ as part of his PhD programme in the department of Plant Pathology, visited cotton fields in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu. “The instance of the disease is high in Andhra and Telangana, and Tamil Nadu stands next,” he said.
The award was given by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR). “We found out that hybrid varieties were more susceptible to the disease. Based on the seasonal weather data, the disease was more prevalent in places where temperature was low and relative humidity was high. In Tamil Nadu, it is more prevalent in Coimbatore, Erode and Salem, than the southern districts,” Kumar said.
For his research, Kumar also did genome sequencing of the virus and confirmed that all genome of the virus that attacked cotton plants across states is the same. A plant can be infected and not show symptoms, he said. “The severity of the disease can also lead to the plant’s death. To manage the disease, we zeroed in on Bacillus amyloliquefaciens which was isolated from plant roots. This bacterium does anti-viral activity and can be used as a biocontrol agent. We found that it could control the viral disease by 50%. It also helped reduce the yield loss by acting as a plant growth promoting rhizobacteria.”
Kumar, a native of Sankarankovil in Tenkasi, was honoured with the ICAR-Jawaharlal Nehru Award under the crop protection category in an online ceremony.
Credits:Times of India