June 23, 2015 from 11am-12pm in Room C21 of Plant Sciences Building.
Dr. Varma is a distinguished scientist and Professor of Eminence at Amity Institute of Microbial Technology in Uttar Pradesh, India. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Amity Science, Technology and Innovation Foundation. By training, Dr. Varma is a microbiologist and his long research in microbiology lead to the discovery of a symbiotic fungus that has the potential to revolutionize crop production. He is currently the director of a private company, Rootonic. He serves on the Board of Directors for Prathista Industries Limited, Secunderabad, India, as well.
Brief Abstract:Piriformospora indica– A miracle fungus: Piriformospora indica is an AM like fungus, originally isolated from the rhizosphere of the woody shrubs Prosopis juliflora and Ziziphus nummularia growing in Thar Desert of India. The fungus has been named Piriformospora indica based on its characteristic pear-shaped chlamydospores. Molecular phylogenetics have revealed that the fungus is a member of the basidiomycetous order Sebacinales. Plants colonized by P. indica display a wide range of beneficial effects including enhanced host growth and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, promotion of adventitious root formation in cuttings and enhanced nitrate and phosphate assimilation. The fungus promotes plant growth and health by various mechanisms such as enhanced nutrient uptake, resistance against plant pathogens, and tolerance against salinity, drought, temperature extremes and low nutrient content. Further, it is shown to stimulate excessive production of biomass, early flowering, seed production and a potential microorganism imparting biological hardening to tissue culture-raised plants.