Physiological Ecology & Urban Ecology

Differences among tree species in providing cooling and sequestering carbon, and efficient methods to infer their abilities

Location: Singapore Duration: Sep 2019 - Present

 Physiology & Agroecology 

Common mycorrhizal network as facilitator of bioirrigation for rainfed areas tested in legume-millet intercropping system

PhD Project, Jun 2014 - Jun 2019, University of Basel, Switzerland


Food security for growing population and achieving the zero hunger target by 2050 is a major challenge for mankind. Sustainable intensification of agriculture, i.e. increased food production without causing environmental damage has been foreseen as the way forward to address this challenge. In this study, we tested a legume – millet intercropping system based on bioirrigation where a deep-rooted legume brings up the soil moisture from deep soil layer to the topsoil layer and soil moisture is further transferred to shallow-rooted millet through a common mycorrhizal network (CMN). We conducted a series of pot experiment inside the greenhouse at University of Basel and field trials at two different experiment sites in southern India to test the efficacy of bioirrigation based legume – millet intercropping system. The results from pot experiments showed that pigeon pea (legume plant) brings up the deep soil moisture to the topsoil layer, and CMN plays key role in facilitating bioirrigation. During drought period, water-relations of finger millet (millet) was supported and finger millet in intercropping treatments (with CMN) were able to tolerate drought period. The field trials demonstrated that the optimal spatial arrangement for legume – millet intercropping is row-wise (2 rows of legume : 8 rows of millet) plantation of crops which produced significantly higher yield (at both experiment site) than monoculture and intercrop designs with within row plantation of legume and millet. Within row plantation of legume and millet was only effective at one site and produced similar yield as row-wise (2:8) intercropping treatment. We envision that sustainable intercropping on the basis of our bioirrigation model will help to design appropriate intercropping system especially for rainfed areas that could provide sustainable food security, particularly for the marginal farmers in arid and semi-arid tropics

 Plant Physiology
  1. Salicornia as a multipurpose plant: acting as a biofilter, serving as a vegetable and producing valuable secondary compound

    Location: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany, Duration: Oct 2011 - Sep 2013

   2. Salicornia as a crop plant: optimization of germination condition

   Location: Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens, UK, Duration: Mar 2012 - Apr 2012 

   3. Effect of salt stress on expression pattern of carotenoid pathway genes and physiological characterization of tomato                  cultivar  PKM 1

    Location: VIT University, Vellore, India, Duration: Dec 2010 - May 2011

   4. Characterization of different accessions of Lablab purpureus (L.) sweet

   Location: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany, Duration: Jun 2010 - Jul 2010

   5. Response of growth hormones on cuttings of Jatropha curcas for clonal propagation

   Location: BioTech Park, Lucknow, India, Duration: Apr 2009 - Jun 2009

Interdisciplinary project

LEDs for enegery efficient greenhouse lighting

Location: Hannover Centre for Optical Technologies, Germany, Duration: Jan 2014 - Mar 2014

Light energy is an important factor for plant growth. In regions where the natural light source (solar radiation) is not sufficient for growth optimization, additional light sources are being used. Traditional light sources such as high pressure sodium lamps and other metal halide lamps are not very efficient and generate high radiant heat. Therefore, new sustainable solutions should be developed for energy efficient greenhouse lighting. Recent developments in the field of light source technologies have opened up new perspectives for sustainable and highly efficient light sources in the form of LEDs (light-emitting diodes) for greenhouse lighting. This review focuses on the potential of LEDs to replace traditional light sources in the greenhouse. In a comparative economic analysis of traditional vs. LED lighting, we show that the introduction of LEDs allows reduction of the production cost of vegetables in the long-run (several years), due to the LEDs׳ high energy efficiency, low maintenance cost and longevity. In order to evaluate LEDs as an alternative to current lighting sources, species specific plant response to different wavelengths is discussed in a comparative study. However, more detailed scientific studies are necessary to understand the effect of different spectra (using LEDs) on plants physiology. Technical innovations are required to design and realize an energy efficient light source with a spectrum tailored for optimal plant growth in specific plant species.