*R.S. Tripathi, R.D. Tripathi, Kamla Kulshreshtha,
Nandita Singh, K.J. Ahmad & S.V. Krupa
fast pace of industrialization, galloping demand for energy and reckless
exploitation of natural resources during the last century have been mainly
responsible for aggravating the problem of environmental pollution, which is
now set to pose serious threat to biodiversity and ecosystem processes.
widespread poverty, illiteracy and burgeoning population in most of the
developing countries have further confounded the problem, and have caused
environmental pollution at a pace which was unimaginable only two decades
earlier. The threat of global warming is now being felt across the world,
and geographical or political boundaries are no longer relevant in the
present scenario. When it comes to the hazards of environmental pollution,
there is only a very thin dividing line between developed and developing
countries, as the impact of most of the environmental problems is all
in view the enormity of the problem and with a view to highlight its impact
and to seek possible solutions, and in pursuance of the recommendations made
during the Second International Conference on Plants and Environmental
Pollution (ICPEP-2) held in February 2002, the ICPEP-3, was organized by The
International Society of Environmental Botanists and National Botanical
Research Institute Lucknow during 28th November to 2nd
Conference provided a vibrant forum for serious discussions and
deliberations on the burning problem of environmental pollution, and the
role of plants as bio-indicators of pollution and its remediation. The other
important environmental issues that were deliberated upon during the
Conference included biodiversity conservation, ecosystem degradation,
eco-restoration, sustainable development, climate change and effects of
pollution on agricultural crops, food production, forest and human health.
entire global community has a vested interest in supporting and sustaining
any move for the protection of environment and biodiversity conservation.
Taking cognizance of this, several National and International Scientific
Organizations supported and co-sponsored ICPEP-3.
experts from different R & D institutions of India and other countries were
invited by the organizers to participate in this Conference.
deliberations during the Conference revolved around the following themes:
Bio-indication and Bioremediation
Environment and Biodiversity
Environmental Education, Mass Awareness and Legislation
Environmental Impact Assessment
Contemporary Environmental Issues.
Plant Responses to Environmental Pollution
Climate Change, Plant Productivity and Food
Conference was inaugurated by His Excellency Shri T.V. Rajeswar, the
Governor of the State of Uttar Pradesh on the afternoon of 28 November, 2005
at the Convention Centre of King George's Medical University, Lucknow. The
colourful inaugural function was attended by over 500 guests including
delegates from some 30 countries and distinguished citizens of Lucknow. The
Chief Guest, His Excellency Shri T.V. Rajeswar, lighted the traditional lamp
to kickstart the function. Dr. P. Pushpangadan, the then Director of the
National Botanical Research Institute and President of International Society
of Environmental Botanists (ISEB) welcomed the guests and delegates.
Ahmad, the Secretary of International Society of Environmental Botanists
(ISEB) introduced the members of the Executive Committee of ISEB to the
audience. Dr. R.D. Tripathi, Organizing Secretary of ICPEP-3 explained the
genesis of the conference and Dr. Kamla Kulshreshtha, the other Organizing
Secretary of ICPEP-3 proposed the vote of thanks.
Sagar V. Krupa, University of Minnesota, USA and Prof. Erwin Grill,
Technical University of Munich, Germany, who were the guests of honour also
addressed the gathering and lauded the objectives of the conference.
Shri T.V. Rajeswar in his address expressed his deep concern about the
problem of environmental pollution, which was adversely affecting the global
inaugural function was followed by a 'High Tea', at the green, well
manicured lawns of the Convention Centre which provided a salubrious
environment to the delegates and guests for a chitchat during the tea party.
It was followed by a colourful cultural programme of music and dances
presented by students of Bhatkhande Music University, Lucknow.
glittering inaugural function was followed by absorbing Scientific Programme
that commenced at the main Auditorium and Conference Hall at NBRI Campus on
the morning of 29th November and continued till 2nd
December mid day.
Conference was attended by over 400 delegates, representing R & D
organizations, from India and around 30 countries. The scientific programme
was divided into 8 technical sessions each of which was largely attended and
lively. In addition to the technical sessions, a poster session was also
organized in which a large number of delegates presented their valuable
Technical Sessions Highlights
the technical sessions were held concurrently in two halls, and the plenary
and special lectures were delivered in the Auditorium of NBRI. Some of the
highlights of the various technical sessions are mentioned as under:
Session I dealing with “Bioindication and Bioremediation” Dr. Margaret
Greenway from Australia discussed the role of macrophytes in nutrient
(soluble inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus) removal using constructed
wetlands. Prof. Erwin Grill from Germany discussed the role of PCS enzyme in
detoxification of heavy metal by phytochelatin synthesis and also in
detoxification of xenobiotics by catalysing the cleavage of GS-conjugates. A
well known scientist from Japan Prof. Yoshikatsu Murooka, discussed a novel
bioremediation technique called symbiotic engineering for heavy metal using
symbiosis between leguminous plants and Rhizobia. Nodule-specific expression
of metallothionein gene (MTL4) and Arabidopsis PC synthase (AtPCS) in
mesorhizobium increased the ability of cells to bind Cd+
by 9-19 fold.
In the presentation of Prof. Norman Terry from USA, the role of constructed
wetland and genetically engineered plants in phytoremediation of Se and
other trace elements was highlighted. He showed that overexpression of gene
such as PCS, and ATP sulphurylase increased the uptake of Cd, and
overexpression of selenocysteine methyl transferase, gene responsible for Se
hyperaccumulation, gave good result. Dr. E.G. Alirzayeva from Azerbaijan
discussed the ability of plants to accumulate toxic metals growing in metal
contaminated areas. Artemisia spicum, Orgusia sibirion, Gamanthum piosus,
Atriplex tatarica, Kallidium cospicum, Bassia hyssopsifolia, accumulated
good amount of metal. In another presentation Dr. Oleg Blum from Ukraine
reported the use of plants in phytodetections of ambient ozone toxicity.
Ukraine clover and tobacco showed visual toxicity symptoms after 10-14 d-
exposure. A number of scientists from India participated in the session and
presented their valuable research work. Dr. Ram Chandra from India showed
the accumulation and tolerance of heavy metals by aquatic plants such as
Phragmites and Cyperus.The concentration of heavy metals in
plant parts was 20 times greater than that in distillery water as reflected
by his results. Dr. Anjum Farooqui from India, on the basis of palynology,
mineralogy and geochemistry, established that late Pleistocene marine and
terrestrial palynomorphs in Changanacherry (Kottayam district, Kerala) are
good palaeoclimatic and palaeoshoreline indicator. Dr. U.N. Rai from the
host organization presented his work dealing with the integrated
phytoremediation techniques for the removal of metals from industrial
wastes. He mentioned that several chromate tolerant bacterial strains
isolated from tannery effluent showed high Cr accumulation potential and
also some aquatic plants like Hydrilla verticillata, Pistia stratiotes
and Vallisneria spiralis can reduce the level of Cr from tannery
effluents. Dr. C. Retnaningdyah from Indonesia discussed the scope of use of
river benthic microinvertebrates as a bioindicator of detergent pollutants
in terms of acute and sub-acute toxicity. Dr. M.A. Rzepka from France
presented his findings on the assessment of air quality in industrial area
using plants like tobacco, Petunia hybrids and Tradescantia by
monitoring the biomarkers such as GSH, MDA and SOD. Dr. S.A. Salgare from
India discussed the monitoring of herbicide toxicity using pollens of
Phaseolus aureus as indicator. Dr. Angela Schlutow from
Germany presented the BERN
(Bioindication for Ecosystem Regeneration towards Natural Conditions) model,
which enables to assess the current regeneration ability, to quantify the
critical limits and critical loads of natural and semi-natural plant
communities, to determine the dynamic change of vegetation structure in the
past and future. Ms. A. Tabatabaee from Iran showed that four marine
bacteria isolated from east Anzali marsh sediments of Caspian sea
accumulated good amount of Cd, Ni and,
Vanadium and are resistant to these heavy metals. Thus they could serve as
good agent for bioremediation. Dr. D. Cuny from France presented the paper
dealing with the effects of atmospheric nitrogen and ammonia on epiphytic
lichen communities. All the studied sites showed better growth of the
nitrophillous species. Dr. R.D. Tripathi from NBRI showed accumulation of
heavy metals by various aquatic plants including Hydrilla, Bacopa and
Ceratophyllum. He emphasized the role of PCs in metal detoxification
and mentioned that the research work on cloning and overexpression of PC
Synthase gene to enhance phytoremediation potential is in progress. Dr. M.N.
Dandigi from India discussed the role of Typha latifolia in treatment
of municipal wastewater in a constructed wetland.
Session II on “Environment and Biodiversity” Prof. R.S. Tripathi, INSA
Senior Scientist, NBRI, India delivered the lead lecture on “Sacred groves
India and their significance in conserving biodiversity”. He mentioned that
several sacred groves are in existence in northeast India since time
immemorial and are considered to be the relic of the original forest
vegetation. Many sacred groves are still undisturbed having dense canopy
cover. They serve as the treasure house of biodiversity. Over the past few
these sacred groves which were protected on the grounds of religious and
cultural beliefs have been undergoing degradation, although out of ca.
80 sacred groves of Meghalaya studied by him and his associates, 57.5%
are still in good condition. These sacred groves are extremely rich in
floral and faunal diversity. The species content of these sacred groves are
very high. They contain several valuable medicinal and other economically
important plants. Some of the endangered taxa are to be found only in the
sacred groves. He highlighted the existence of several regeneration guilds
in the sacred groves which ensures the coexistence of a large number of
primary and secondary successional tree species. He emphasized that these
sacred groves need to be conserved by external interventions as the
religious beliefs and taboos, which were central to sacred grove
conservation have been eroding fast. He mentioned that if the religious
beliefs and traditional wisdom contributing to forest protection could be
suitably integrated with modern scientific management practices, these
sacred groves could become a very useful model for biodiversity
conservation. He suggested several measures for the conservation of sacred
groves and argued that there is a strong need to perpetuate and promote the
concept of sacred groves.
Besides the lead lecture,
there were invited lectures by Dr. Gautam Ganguly (University of Burdwan,
West Bengal) on spatial distribution of pteridophytes in southern Sikkim, by
Dr. (Mrs.) Prafulla Soni (FRI, Dehradun) on Floristic composition of iron
ore mine areas of Saranda-Bonai forest range in Jharkhand state, by Dr.
Dolly W. Dhar (IARI, New Delhi) on biodiversity analysis of cyanobacterial
germplasm, by Dr. P. Pothiruckit-Prachyanusorn of Thailand on biodiversity
and bioactivity in hydrocarbon contaminated sediments and by Dr. Anil K.
Goel of NBRI, Lucknow on the importance of Indian plant diversity as a vital
source for new ornamentals.
post lunch session on “Environmental Education, Mass Awareness and
Legislation” was chaired by Prof. S.V. Krupa, University of Minnesota, USA.
The lead lecture was delivered by Dr. Margaret T. McGrath of Cornell
University, USA on “Communicating Air Quality- Plant Effects Science to the
Public and User sector”. During her lecture she emphasized the need for
increasing the awareness about the impact of pollutants on the environment
while learning how to do scientific research. She mentioned that hands-on
activities and visuals, such as plants with injury and pollutant monitoring
equipment, are more effective educational tools than written documents. She
mentioned that communicating effects of air quality on plants should target
children, parents and teachers. According to her, the US National Parks
provide an ideal opportunity to educate adults as well as children about
impact of air quality on plants. She also laid emphasis on the need for
ground level ozone bio-monitoring.
Besides, three invited lectures were also delivered during this session. Dr.
Bandana Bose (BHU, Varanasi) made presentation on multiple effects of
nitrate seed treatment on germination growth and yield on maize, wheat and
mustard. Dr. D. D.
Kadam (Kolhapur) spoke about
IV on “Environmental Impact Assessment” was chaired by Prof. Gregor. The
lead lecture was delivered by Dr. L.D. Emberson of University of York, U.K.
on “Assessing the impacts of air pollution on crops in south Asia and
Southern Africa”. She emphasized that current levels of air pollution and
particularly the general level of ozone are contributing significantly to
crop yield losses in parts of South Asia and may be adversely affecting the
crop productivity in Southern Africa. She mentioned that although the impact
of air pollution on crop productivity has been adequately studied in India,
there is lack of such studies in other South Asian countries making it
difficult to develop dose-response
relationships that could be used to perform risk assessments for this
region. She postulated the need to maintain and expand the Air Pollution
Crop Effect Network (APCEN), which comprises a network of air pollution
effects practitioners, atmospheric modellers, socioeconomic experts and
Session V on “Environmental Biotechnology” was chaired by Prof. Erwin Grill
and Co-chaired by Dr. Rakesh Tuli. Prof. Boris Chevone in his lead lecture
discussed the role of ascorbate in plants in response to ozone. A new gene
VCF1 controls foliar ascorbate level resulting in ozone tolerance in young
leaves. Genetic enhancement of ascorbate may produce plants that are more
resistant to oxidative stress. Prof. Arun Goyal from USA discussed the
carbon concentration mechanism in plants and algae including carbon
transporters. He discussed a novel approach on identifying and
characterizing inducible membrane inorganic carbon transporter. A
genetically engineered active inorganic carbon transporter system may reduce
photorespiration. In another lead lecture, Dr. Rakesh Tuli from NBRI
discussed the importance of insect-resistant transgenic plants in pollution
abatement in view of greater use of pesticides in India. Some transgenic
crops like cotton, pigeonpea, chickpea, castor, groundnut and tomato are
being developed jointly by NBRI and other institutions. Dr. Usha Mina from
New Delhi presented her findings on the effect of transgenic plants on soil
biodiversity and soil processes. Transgenic plant products that they release
in soil may affect soil biota (invertebrates and microorganisms) and soil
processes. Dr. Rana Pratap Singh from Lucknow presented his paper dealing
with organic matrix-based, cost-effective, eco-friendly,
slow release fertilizer. He emphasized that these fertilizers release
nutrients especially nitrogen in form of ammonium up to 45 days after
application and enhance productivity and quality of produce in wheat, rice
and other crops. Dr. Neeta Sharma from Lucknow discussed the eco-friendly
technique for management of post-harvest disease using yeasts.
Session VI on “Contemporary Environmental Issues” Chaired by Prof. R.S.
Tripathi, Dr. Yash Pal Kalra (Northern Forestry Centre, Edmonton, Alberta,
Canada) in his lead lecture emphasized the need for standardizing the
methods for analyzing soil and plant samples. The analytical techniques
should be developed for specific requirements of the users. He also
presented the efforts made by soil science laboratories in Canada. The lead
lecture was followed by five presentations covering different aspects
relevant to the theme of the conference. The presentation was made by Dr.
Mridula Chauhan (India) on application of spectrometric data in
identification of radioactively contaminated water sources such as Mahanadi
and other rivers. Dr. A. Ghosh from Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI),
Cuttack talked about the environmental concerns related to excessive use of
nitrogenous fertilizers, and impact assessment and risk management of
nitrogenous fertilizers with reference to rice cultivation in India.
Datta (NBRI, India) discussed the role of gamma ray irradiation in inducing
mutation and mentioned that a large number of promising varieties have been
developed in different ornamentals, particularly Chrysanthemums and Rose by
Floriculture Section of NBRI. Dr. V.P. Kapoor (NBRI, India) made
presentations relating to natural dyes extracted from different plant
species and discussed the positive attributes of eco-friendly plant-derived
chemicals for use as textile dyes.
the morning session (Chairman: Dr. Y.P. Kalra, Canada), the lead lecture of
the theme “Contemporary Environmental Issues",
was given by Dr. H.M. Behl, Scientist, NBRI. He discussed adverse effects of
indiscriminate use of fertilizers and pesticides on soil properties, which
leads to reduction in production. He emphasized on a paradigm shift in
tilling land, agricultural practices and food consumption pattern by the
society. He suggested that least tilling of land, organic cultivation and minimum
use of pesticides could contribute to sustainability in agriculture.
Dr. Rodiyati Azrianingsih
of Indonesia presented her paper on the biology of Cyperus brevifolius,
an invasive species having a large phenotypic variability
which confers an adaptive advantage on this weed and makes it highly
successful in different geographical regions. She discussed its life
history, phenotypic variability and response to soil water contents.
Neerja Srivastava gave an account of ethnobotanical importance of some weeds
of Kota district of Rajasthan. Dr. O.P. Pandey delivered a lecture on
“Neotectonic uplifting of Hyderabad granitic region and environmental
pollution”. He explained the theory and highlighted the role of underlying
like neotectonic uplifting in contaminating water bodies. V. Prasad of Nepal
gave an account of UV effect on Chlorella vulgaris and discussed how
the effect could be minimized by sodium dithionite and sodium chloride.
Samantak Mani from of Tata Motors, Lucknow showed how the effluent treatment
techniques at their factory are successful in separating oil from the
Shrestha Vaidya of Nepal presented her paper on the use of organic matter
made from locally available plant materials such as Lantana etc. She
also discussed how its efficiency can be increased through micorrhizae.
Tiwari of Imphal discussed the effects of cyanobacterial toxins on aquatic
organisms including mammals. The presentation by Suchita Jain focused on the
biodiversity of Ranthambhore National Park of Rajasthan and the importance
of National Park in biodiversity conservation.
invited talk Dr. Fiona Marshal from UK presented the findings of her
collaborative research with Prof. Madhoolika Agarwal of BHU, Varanasi on the
heavy metal contamination of vegetable crops in Varanasi and Delhi.
According to their findings in the samples of spinach and cauliflower
collected from the market and field sites, the mean heavy metal levels
exceeded the limits of Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act for Cu, Cd
and Zn. However, Pb did not exceed the PFA limits.
Tiwari from Shillong presented the results of a long term research carried
out in collaboration with Prof. R.S. Tripathi on the ecology of coal mining
areas in Jaintia hills of Meghalaya. He discussed the changes in soil
properties, microbial population and plant diversity during natural recovery
of coal mine spoils in Jaintia hills. He mentioned that coal mining has
caused the shrinkage of agricultural and forest area, deterioration of water
quality in streams and rivers, increase in respiratory diseases and vast
income disparity. After 14 years of natural recovery the number of plant
species and microbial population increased and physico-chemical
characteristics of soil improved. It was mentioned that the people of the
area have taken a number of initiatives for the ecorestoration of the
landscape damaged due to coal mining.
Laszlo Makra of Hungary discussed the relationship between twelve
meteorological parameters with daily pollen concentrations of twenty four
species over Carpathian Basin in Hungary.
Nikhil Kumar of NBRI, Lucknow presented the evolution of fully protected
cultivation technology of betel vine in subtropical India.
Session VII on “Plant Responses to Environmental Pollution” Prof. J.N.B.
Bell from UK talked about the influence of air pollution on plant fungal
diseases. He established that air pollution reduced the severity of
biotrophic fungi. Prof. R.B. Muntifering from USA discussed the interaction
of tropospheric ozone with elevated
CO2, NOx, NH3,
and SO2 under different
meteorological conditions and showed how the plant nutritive quality could
be affected by such interactions. The magnitude of total economic impact of
ozone to ruminant livestock, and wildlife is a function of cumulative effect
of plant yield and nutritive quality. Dr. S.B. Agarwal from India elucidated
the role of ethylene diurea in assessing impact of ozone on growth and yield
of wheat and mung-bean. EDU alleviates the unfavourable effects of ozone in
both crops. The treated plants maintained higher levels of pigment, protein,
ascorbic acid in foliage as compared to the non-treated plants. Dr. V.
Calatayud from Spain emphasized
the effect of ozone on physiology of endemic Mediterranean plant,
Lamottea dianae. Ozone exposure caused significant reduction in
assimilation, water use efficacy and an increase in intracellular
concentration without any significant decline in stomatal conductance and
maximum quantum efficiency of the photosystem II. He showed that CO2
fixation capacity by Rubisco and maximum RuBP regeneration capacity declined
in the treated leaves. These changes demonstrate that ozone induces
senescence. Dr. Swadesh Malhotra from NBRI talked about the possibility of
improving the quality of essential oils using different soil conditions and
Dr. S.N. Mishra from Rohtak demonstrated that putrescine, a di-amine,
alleviates the growth of Indian mustard under salinity by inducing the level
of nitrogenous metabolites and nitrate reductase activity. It also
suppressed free radical generation which hampers plant growth under stress
condition, through inducing antioxidant enzyme system. Dr. B.B. Panda from
Berhampur, Orissa presented an account of adaptive responses induced in root
meristem (Allium cepa)
or embryonic shoot (Hordeum vulgare) by Cd, Al, H2O2,
paraquat and salicylic acid to three different types of genotoxins namely
malic hydrazide, ethylmethanesulphonate and methylemecuric chloride. The
findings showed the possible involvement of a
signal transduction pathway in the underlying adaptive response to genotoxic
stress. Dr. I.P. Pandey from Dehradun presented a paper on the impact of
environmental pollution in Doon Valley on plant growth and development. Dr.
Nalini Pandey from Lucknow discussed the changes induced in the roots of
green gram in response to Ni toxicity over a period of 16 days and showed
that oxidative damage was related to the magnitude of Ni accumulation in the
roots. Dr. A. Poorkhabbaz from Germany showed the changes in morphological
and anatomical characteristics of two urban trees (Platanus
orientalis and Fraxinus
omas) by the deposition of heavy metals due to air pollution in Mashhad
town in the Province Khorassan, Iran. Dr. J. Sakalauskaite from Lithuania
demonstrated the tolerance of radish plant to ozone. A dose-dependent
response of the plant was observed on
inhibited various biochemical processes but plants quickly regenerated by
induced homoestasis. Dr. Manjula K. Saxena showed that salicylic acid, which
is an important constituent of Lantana camara has a strong potential to kill
water hyacinth. The results of an experimental study indicated that
salicylic acid killed water hyacinth at 10-2
M concentration. Dr. S.M. Singh from Bareilly evaluated the impact of three
types of vermincompost transformed from three different organic wastes (biocon,
dairy and pharmaceuticals) using the worm Eisenia fetida on the
germination of radish and mung
seeds and showed that
vermin composts have favourable effect on germination. Dr. Leena Trivedi
(Ahmedabad) studied the interactive effect of Cu and Cd on yield and
mucilage content of seeds of Isabgol and on various biochemical parameters
of Isabgol spikes. Cu and Cd inhibited all the biochemical parameters and
when given in combination, they had a synergistic effect. Ms. Fozia Bashir
from New Delhi showed in her presentation that deltamerithrin induces
oxidative stress in Glycine max plants in a dose-dependent manner and
altered ascorbate glutathione cycle.
Session VIII dealing with “Climate Change, Plant Productivity & Food
Security”, Prof. Sagar Krupa from USA discussed the issue of food security
in the world in the context of continuously increasing population and
changing climate. He stated that deteriorating air quality and changing
climate will play a critical superimposing influence on how our future will
be shaped. Dr. Geetika Sirhindi, Patiala presented her findings on the
physiological responses of coniferous plants growing in botanic garden in
northwest India and showed adaptive changes in response to the weather
conditions. Dr. H. Pathak from New Delhi presented the Denitrification and
Decomposition (DNDC) model and discussed its ability to simulate the
emissions of methane,
and CO2 from Indian rice fields under various agronomic
management, soil and climatic conditions. Dr. Yue Ming from China in his
presentation on the effect of UV-B radiation on physiology, growth and
quality of Gentiana macrophylla showed an increase in
gentiopicroside content of the plant due to UV-B radiation. However, there
was no significant effect on the growth and chlorophyll content. Dr. D.C.
Uprety from New Delhi told about the establishment of a simple
cost-effective MID-FACE facility at Indian Agricultural Research Institute,
New Delhi to meet the needs of agriculturul science community of the
South-Asian countries. The facility has been established by IARI and NPL,
New Delhi, India in collaboration with Italian group of scientists. He
presented the findings on the response of Brassica and rice to
under water stress conditions and concluded that elevated
ameliorated the adverse stress on growth and water relations in both crops.
Special Session on Air
Pollution and Crops
in collaboration with Regional Air Pollution in Developing Countries (RAPIDC)
organized an Air Pollution Crops Effect Network (APCEN) 'start-up' meeting
at National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow on November 29, 2005. This
meeting was intended to disseminate information about phase III on the crops
component of the RAPIDC progamme. About 30 delegates of ICPEP-3 Conference
attended this meeting.
Lisa Emberson (Stockholm Environment Institute) gave an overview of the
RAPIDC programme and mentioned that the project on air pollution and crops
is only one of the several projects that are being carried out within RAPIDC,
which aims to investigate all aspects of air pollution in developing
countries. The main aims of the phase III of the project were also described
(Stockholm Environment Institute) gave a comprehensive overview of the
bio-monitoring campaigns that are proposed for the crops project and
will be piloted at few sites in India.
Madhoolika Agrawal (BHU, India) described the impacts of air pollution on
crops from the South Asian perspective.
Mieke van Tienhoven (APINA) described the limited evidence of impacts that
exist in Southern Africa. In fact, maximum modeled one-hour surface ozone
concentration identified areas in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique with
ozone concentrations well above 60 ppb.
Behl and Dr. Nandita Singh (NBRI) offered the ENVIS-NBRI website (www.envisnbri.com)
as a location for a dedicated website to collate information on key crop
studies showing air pollution impacts. Several participants stressed the
importance of addressing the existing links between assessing air pollutant
impacts on crops and climate change in the ongoing work of APCEN. The wealth
of expertise in assessing air pollution impacts on crops that exists within
India was highlighted and the potential of colleagues in India to act as the
foci for capacity building exercises in neighbouring South Asian countries
was seen as having the potential to offer huge benefit both to the RAPIDC
project and also in providing policy-relevant
information on the regional scale.
addition to the lead lectures, oral presentations and poster sessions,
following three special lectures were delivered: Prof. Huner of the
University of Western Ontario, Canada emphasized that the effects of global
climate changes in the biosphere are difficult to assess. He described a new
research facility located on the Campus of University called Biotron, which
is dedicated to experimental climate change research on organisms as diverse
as plants, microorganisms and insects.
Behl of NBRI, Lucknow emphasized the strategic potential of biodiesel as a
non-conventional source of energy. He analyzed the current scenario from
scientific, technological, commercial and economic viewpoints, with
particular reference to developing countries like India. He proposed a road
map for holistic development. He mentioned the significance of biodiesel in
environmental management and employment generation. He was optimistic that
biodiesel will be indispensable energy source in running automobile in the
Pushpangadan, the then Director of NBRI in his lecture, discussed the future
agenda of environmental biodiversity. He stressed that the biodiversity is
on decline at all the levels and geographical scales, however, a targeted
strategic plan, involving the management of protected areas and natural
resources and pollution prevention programmes can reverse this trend.
Achieving the 2010 biodiversity target requires not only a redoubling of
efforts but a firm commitment to act according to the priorities identified
through a strategic plan. The conservation and sustainable use of
biodiversity need to become an integral element of planning, policy and
practice for all economic and social sectors of society.
was an enthusiastic participation of delegates in presenting their research
findings through the posters. The poster session was inaugurated by Dr. P.V.
Sane, Former Director of NBRI. In total 117 posters were presented. The
presentations were rich in research content. A team of experts was requested
to select two best posters for the purpose of giving prize. The poster on
“Ozone and crops in Mediterranean climatic condition” presented by M.J. Sanz
of Spain (Authors: M.J. Sanz and S. Krupa) was awarded the first prize and
the poster on “Immature Pea Embryo Response to Variable Manganese in Tissue
Culture” presented by Sapna Awasthi of Lucknow University (Authors: Nirmala
Nautiyal and Sapna Awasthi) was awarded the second prize.
International Society of Food, Agriculture and Environment, Helsinki,
Finland offered to provide one year free subscription of their publication,
'International Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment' to the two
winners of the best poster prize.
valedictory function was organized after the scientific sessions on the
afternoon of 2nd December 2005 wherein Dr. P. Pushpangadan, Dr.
P.V. Sane, Dr. K.J. Ahmad, Dr. R.D. Tripathi and Dr. Kamla Kulshreshtha
expressed their views about the outcome of the conference. Prof. S.V. Krupa
and Prof. Erwin Grill, who were the guests of honour and some of the
distinguished delegates from different countries also expressed their
appreciation and thanks to the organizers of the Conference.
following recommendations were formulated at the final plenary discussion
session of ICPEP-3 for strengthening and widening the activities of ISEB:
funding through national and international institutions to strongly support
and sustain the scientific and educational efforts of ISEB.
Initiate ways at the outset, to develop strong international research
collaboration and information exchange among scientists to address common
environmental issues. A relevant exemplary operative model for addressing
such issues between different countries already exists within the United
Nations Commission of the European Communities (UN-CEC). ISEB should explore
ways to establish links with the CEC efforts.
a strong mechanism to promote environmental education among young people
(e.g. school) and environmental literacy among the public, particularly in
the user sector, through outreach. India can provide the leadership in
developing geographic institutional networks for disseminating the needed
information. That can be achieved by initiating local science fairs for
young people (e.g. school children), increasing the support and opportunity
for graduate and post graduate students to highlight their research work,
organizing regional workshops focusing on specific environmental issues and
collaborating with the media sector to attract attention of the public and
the policy makers. An added strength in that direction is the ongoing
outreach programme initiated by the Eco-Education
Division of NBRI (National Botanical Research Institute) at Lucknow.
systematic fashion, map the specific types (e.g., occurrences of critical
levels of ground level ozone and particulate matter in the air, soil and
water pollution by industrial effluents) and geographic magnitude of various
environmental problems where considerable gaps exist in our current
knowledge for developing countries. In addition to observational studies,
these objectives can be achieved through the use of simple, but elegant
proven methods (e.g., use of passive samplers for quantifying air pollutants
and the use of sensitive indicator plants and other biota for identifying
measurable adverse effects). Such an effort is a prerequisite for
environmental risk analysis and assessment, cost-benefit relationships and
development of mitigation policies.
collaborative research efforts, both regionally and globally, to define the
adverse effects of environmental pollution on food and crop productivity and
quality. Such activities, in addition to the specific local questions, must
be holistic and integrative within the context of multiple stress factors
(both non-biological and biological) identified within the framework of
local and global climate change. In that context, research efforts should be
initiated to determine the extent to which air pollution may be exacerbating
other better-known stresses of crops (pathogens and pests).
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and heavy metals are major
environmental problems, both in the developing and the developed countries.
Production and application of pesticides and the presence of pesticide
residues in crops as well as in the atmosphere is a grave health hazard.
Organic cultivation is the only viable and lasting solution to this problem
and it should be encouraged and promoted at all levels. Experts present at
the conference highlighted the significance of organic cultivation and use
bio-fertilizers, etc. It was recommended that R&D efforts in the area should
be strengthened and India should provide a leadership in that direction,
with active participation by the members of ISEB.
ways to control or prevent the presence of invasive alien species and
promote the preservation of native biological diversity. In that context,
the 'Farmer's Right'' model of India can serve as an example. Of additional
consideration are the issues of "Ethno-botany''
and critical importance of sustaining medicinal species in overall
sustainable development of ecosystems.
and evaluate the comparative success of various cost-effective pollution
mitigation strategies appropriately suited for acceptance by the local
community. Examples include bio-remediation of salinity (responsible for
major crop losses in semi-arid and irrigated agriculture) and phyto-remediation
of soils and surface waters contaminated by industrial waste (responsible
for the transport of toxic chemicals in the food chain). Here, application
of rapidly evolving methods of biotechnology offers much promise. To address
the issue of food security associated with the growing populations in the
developing countries, biotechnology also offers the mechanism to develop
crop cultivars for food production on marginal lands. The overall outcome
should be the transfer of successful methods to the user community for
Organize the Fourth International
Conference on “Plants and
Environmental Pollution, ICPEP-4” during next 3-4 years to exchange
information on the progress of work, based on the aforementioned
recommendations. Emphasis should be on invited state-of-the-art reviews by
recognized experts, focusing on specific themes, with in-depth discussions,
followed by opportunities for young scientists to showcase their research.
The overall proceedings of the conference should be used as another
mechanism to promote awareness among the public and the policy makers.
Session on Herbal Drugs and Environmental Pollution
satellite session was organized by the Botany Department of Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard
University), New Delhi, on the 4th December 2005. The day-long
seminar, focusing specially on medicinal plants in relation to environmental
pollution, was inaugurated by the then Chairman, University Grants
Commission, Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai. Speaking on the occasion,
Professor Muhammad Iqbal, Convener of the seminar, welcomed the delegates,
referred to the environmental and botanical research carried out at Jamia
Hamdard, elucidated the theme of the seminar and thanked the International
Society of Environmental Botanists (ISEB) for holding the Satellite Session
at Hamdard University. Prof. Sudhir K. Sopory, Group Leader in Plant
Molecular Biology at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering &
Biotechnology, New Delhi was the Guest of Honour, and Dr. S. Ahmad,
Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Hamdard presided over the function. They
underscored the significance of evaluating the impact of environmental
factors on the medicinal properties of plants and emphasized upon the need
for using modern technologies for augmenting the efficacy and credibility of
our traditional medicines, which already have stood the test of time.
first Session of the invited lectures was chaired by Prof. R.S. Tripathi
(NBRI, Lucknow) with Prof. S.V.S. Chauhan (B.R. Ambedkar University, Agra)
as the co-chair. The speakers included Prof. P.S. Srivastava (Jamia Hamdard,
New Delhi), Prof. P.K. Gupta (CCS University, Meerut), Prof. C.K. Varshney
(Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), Dr. A.H.A. Frooqui (CIMAP,
Lucknow) and Prof. Norman Terry (Berkeley, U.S.A.).
Professor P.S. Srivastava spoke on herbs, environment and productivity,
laying emphasis on the role of proteomics in studying the abiotic
stress-related variations in metabolites of medicinal plants. Prof. P.K.
Gupta highlighted the role of molecular markers in relation to the
estimation of genetic diversity and the determination of marker-trait
associations in lemongrass (Cymbopogon).
The markers developed from multigene families were expected to prove more
useful than those developed from single copy gene. Prof. C.K. Varshney spoke
on ozone pollution and its effects on plants. He mentioned that ozone and
ethylene diurea not only affected the growth and physiology of medicinal
plants, but also the quality and quantity of their metabolites. Dr. A.H.A.
Farooqui explained that understanding the gene to metabolic networks in
primary and secondary metabolism can lead to identification of gene function
and improve the production of secondary compounds. Prof. N. Terry talked
about the use of plant-based
systems for cleaning up polluted environments elucidating specially the use
of medicinal plants in remediating the polluted industrial or agricultural
poster presentation session, 52 posters were displayed. A free and frank
interaction between the presenting authors and the visitors was the hallmark
of this session. A panel of evaluators inspected all the posters and
identified three of them for the first, second and third prize.
speakers of the second session of invited lectures included Prof. R.S.
Tripathi (NBRI, Lucknow), Dr. Carly Stevens (Lancaster, UK), Dr.
(Debrecen, Hungary), Dr. Esmira Alirzayeva (Baku, Azerbaijan) and Prof. K.K.
Baruah (Tezpur, Assam), Prof. Tripathi spoke on the ecology of mine-affected
areas of Meghalaya. He gave a detailed account of the ecological degradation
of the landscape of Jaintia Hills district and loss of several valuable
medicinal plants. He presented the salient findings of a comprehensive study
on the natural recovery pattern of the coalmine spoils. He mentioned that
most of the soil properties improved and plant diversity as well as soil
microbial population increased considerably after 14 years of natural
recovery of the coalmine spoils in that area. Dr. Stevens showed the
negative impact of nitrogen deposition on the species richness and soils of
grassland in the UK. Prof. Lévai
spoke on the use of bacteria containing fertilizers as a tool to reduce the
environmental pollution. Dr. Alirzayeva spoke on phytoremediation of
contaminated soils in Azarbaijan using several medicinal plants like
Artemisia spp. (A. fragrans, A. scoparia, A. arenaria, A. szovitsiana,
sibirica, Gamanthus pilosus, Atriplex tatarica, Kallidium caspicum, and
Bassia hyssopsifolia. Prof.
Baruah highlighted the allelopathic effect of medicinal weeds of the
rice-growing environment in the upland rice agroecosystem. Prof. P.
Pardhasaradhi (Delhi University) gave his observations about the seminar on
behalf of the participants. The second session was chaired by Prof. W.
Husain (Aligarh) and Dr. R.P. Singh (Lucknow)
was the co-chair.
Professor Singh gave away prizes for the three best posters.
grateful to Dr. P.V. Sane, Ex-Director
NBRI, Dr. P. Pushpangadan Ex-Director
NBRI and Dr. Rakesh Tuli, President ISEB and Director NBRI for providing
constant guidance, advice and support during and after the Conference. We
also wish to record our thanks and gratitude to senior officials of ISEB and
Members of Apex Committee ICPEP-3 including Drs. B.P. Singh (Advisor), S.C.
Sharma (Vice-President), Prakash Chandra (Treasurer), H.M. Behl (Executive
Editor) and Prof. N.K. Mehrotra (Member) for their organizational support
grateful to Prof. Muhammad Iqbal, Head, Department of Botany, Hamdard
University, New Delhi for compiling report of the Satellite session.
also grateful to Er. Jamal Masood for his consistent guidance and advice.
technical support provided by Messrs D.B. Shukla, D.K. Chakraborty and Vijay
Yadav is gratefully acknowledged.
R.S. Tripathi is INSA Senior Scientist at NBRI, Lucknow, India; Drs. R.D.
Tripathi, Kamla Kulshreshtha and Nandita Singh are senior scientists at
NBRI; Dr. K.J. Ahmad, former Scientist 'G' & Emeritus Scientist, NBRI is the
Secretary of ISEB and Prof. S.V. Krupa is at the Department of Plant
Pathology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, U.S.A.