AROMATIC AND MEDICINAL PLANTS RESEARCH STATION, ODAKKALI
Though initially research and development activities were concentrated on lemongrass, it was later diversified to cover all tropical aromatic and medicinal plants. The research efforts initiated by the University were recognised by the ICAR by granting All India Co-ordinated Research Project on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants for KAU which was established at KAU headquarters, Vellanikkara. Aromatic and medicinal plants have become an integral part of the curriculum in B. Sc. (Agri.) degree course and research projects are undertaken in both Masters and Doctoral degree levels. Location specific research programmes are also undertaken at various other research stations of the university.
For the past 10 years, KAU has given much emphasis on the intensification of research on aromatic and medicinal plants foreseeing the worldwide importance of herbs and herbal products. The KAU has rightly recognised the need for domestication of many of these wild plants to meet the growing demand of the industry. Exploration, conservation and documentation of the existing economically important herb species; utilisation of the genetic variability for crop improvement, multiplication and supply of authentic and quality planting materials, standardisation of agrotechnology for economic crop production and development of post harvest technology were initiated.
In early nineties, the Directorate of Research with the help of scientists engaged in research and development activities on medicinal and aromatic plants in the university has laid down the thrust areas of research on these group of plants and the research programmes of the university were re-oriented. Accordingly, the following are the specific mandates of the station.
a) Strengthening research on bio-prospecting to include biodiversity conservation and management, establishment of gene bank, herbarium and museum and biotechnology,
b) Strengthening research on bio-production comprising eco-farming, seed technology, development physiology, development of agro-technology
c) Strengthening phyto-chemical research covering quality assurance, product development, botanicals development
d) Strengthening technology management comprising entrepreneurial training, intellectual property rights protection (IPR), industrial liaison and information technology
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