Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Molecular Biology



The Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Molecular Biology (CPBMB) was established as an independent unit at the college of Horticulture, Kerala Agricultural University with effect from 1st August 1996, with the main objective of strengthening biotechnology research in the University.





Dr. P.A. Nazeem, Professor & Head

Dr. P. C. Rajendran, Professor

Dr. R. Keshavachandran, Professor

Dr. P. A. Valsala, Professor

Dr. A. Augustin, Professor

Dr. D. Girija, Professor

Dr. R. Sujatha, Assistant Professor (SS)


Current Activities


A. Teaching 


UG Courses


CPBMB has been offering Biotechnology courses included in the curriculum of B.Sc (Agri) and B.Sc (Forestry) programmes. These include the following courses

Sl. No.

Catalogue no.


Credit hours

Semester no.


Biot 203

Biotechnology I




WE Biot 203

Biotechnology I Work Experience




Biot 302

Molecular Biology




WE Biot 302

Biotechnology II Work Experience




From 2007, the syllabus has been revised as per ICAR pattern and there is only one course in the B. Sc (Ag) curriculum


Sl. No.

Catalogue no.


Credit hours

Semester no.


Biot 2201

Introduction to Biotechnology




B.Sc (Forestry) syllabus has been revised from 2006 and the biotechnology course is as follows


Sl. No.

Catalogue no.


Credit hours

Semester no.


Biot 3201

Introduction to Biotechnology



PG Programmes

a)       Ph.D. Programme:

        Ph.D. programme in Biotechnology : Admission to start from 2009 onwards

       The staff at CPBMB act as major advisor or Co-Guide for Ph.D. programme in Biotechnology offered by different other universities. At present there are three programmes under this;

         Genotyping teak germplasm through AFLP assay

         Genetic Transformation in Hevea for biotic stress tolerance

         Transgenics for imparting brownbast resistance in Hevea

       Offer Molecular Biology and Biotechnology courses included in the curriculum of Ph.D in the departments of Plant Breeding & Genetics, Plantation Crops & Spices, Plant Pathology etc.

b)       M.Sc. Programme:

       M.Sc. Ag Biotech programme is implemented in two streams : Through JNU entrance with DBT support and through KAU entrance

       From 2003 onwards, students are being admitted on the basis of entrance examination conducted by Kerala Agricultural University with an intake of 6 students. A total of 12 students have completed their post graduate programme till June 2008


       From 2005 onwards DBT has been sponsoring MSc (Ag) programme. Ten students are allotted every year based on the common JNU entrance examination. The first batch of 12 students is in their 4th semester. A fellowship of Rs.1800/- per month is provided to them for two years

       No. of M. Sc. Ag Biotech students enrolled  & passed out since 2003




Total enrolled

Passed out / Ongoing




















Final semester





Second semester






c)   M.Tech. Biotechnology :

  The proposal for starting a five year integrated programme M.Tech in Biotechnology has been approved in              principle with intake capacity of 20 from 2008 onwards

Areas of work for PG programme

  1. Characterization using biochemical and molecular markers
  2. Gene isolation, cloning and characterization
  3. Genetic transformation in plants
  4. Molecular detection of plant pathogens
  5. Molecular diversity of microorganism
  6. Microbial biotechnology
  7. Development of trait related markers in agriculturally important crops
  8. Genome mapping
  9. Gene expression studies
  10. Biotechnological interventions for enhancing secondary metabolite production
  11. Biomethanogenesis
  12. Enzyme characterization & kinetics
  13. In vitro propagation of woody perennials
  14. In vitro conservation of endangered medicinal plants
  15. In vitro pollination, embryo culture & embryo rescue
  16. Somatic embryogenesis

 PG Courses

The centre is offering M. Sc (Ag) programme in Plant Biotechnology from 2003 onwards. Students have to complete course work and research work. They have to register a total of 60 credits including 24 credits from the major, 10 credits from the minor field of study, 6 credits from compulsory and supporting courses and 20 credits for research. One credit seminar is compulsory for Masters degree, which will be counted under the major courses. 


Major Courses 


Sl. No.

Cat. No.

Course Title

Credit hours


Biot 601

Plant Tissue Culture I (Plant Tissue Culture & its Applications)           

(2 + 1)


Biot 602

Genetic Material and synthesis

(1 + 1)


Biot 603

Genome assembly in prokaryotes & eukaryotes

(2 +1)


Biot 604

Gene expression & regulation in prokaryotes and eukaryotes

(2 + 0)


Biot 605

Plant Genetic Engineering I (Principles of Genetic Engineering)    

(1 + 1)


Biot 606

Cellular and Developmental Biology

(1 + 1)


Biot 607

Plant Tissue Culture II (Germplasm conservation)

(1 + 1)


Biot 608

Plant Tissue Culture III (In vitro production of secondary metabolites)

(1 + 1)


Biot 609

Gene and gene mutation           

(1 + 1)


Biot 610

Plant Genetic Engineering II (Plant Genetic Transformation)



Biot 611

Analytical techniques in Biotechnology and Molecular biology         

(1 + 1)


Biot 612

Gene Isolation and Characterization        

(1+ 1)


Biot 613

Molecular Diagnostics               

(1+ 1)


Biot 614

Biofertilizers & Biocontrol Agents           

(2 + 1)


Biot 615

Soil Biotechnology

(1 + 1)


Biot 616

Industrial biotechnology 

(1 + 1)


Biot 617


(2 + 2)


Biot 618

Food biotechnology



Biot 651


(0 + 1)

23+ 19 = 42


 Accommodation facilities for the students

The Under Graduate and Post Graduate programmes of the College are residential in nature, and hence hostel facility is provided for bonafide students, unless they are exempted on ground that they are residing with their parents or guardians. The hostel Harsha accommodates UG girl students while Haritha accommodates PG girl students. Both are located 200m away from the College. The boys are accommodated in Pamba Mens Hostel. The hostels have spacious and comfortable rooms with extra guestrooms to accommodate guests. There are clean mess halls in which more than 100 people can dine at a time. Television sets have been provided with cable connections. The hostels enjoy round the clock telephone and security facilities also.


The other facilities available are

  • A reading room with books and magazines for various competitive exams, vernacular and national newspapers and other major periodicals

  • Round the clock working computer club

  • A well equipped multi-purpose gym facility at the boys hostel

  • Indoor facilities for table tennis, caroms, chess, badminton and for other outdoor games like football, volleyball and basketball.

  • Spacious garage for parking vehicles

  • Facility for earn while learn scheme

 Fee for P.G. Courses*                                                                                                                              


M.Sc. Programme

Ph.D. Programme

Description of fee

At the time of admission

Payable from 2nd Semester

At the time of admission

Payable from 2nd Semester

Admission fee





College Caution Deposit





Tuition Fee





Library Fee





Medical Inspection fee





Stationery Fee





Syllabus & Calender Fee





Athletic Fee





Association Fee





Magazine fee





University Union fee










 *Subject to revision at the discretion of the University.

  • Hostel fee including mess advance: Rs.2185
  • Monthly mess fee : around Rs.1500


                         PG Lab                                           Molecular Biology Lab

                         PG Lecture Hall                                  Plant Genome Lab


Minor fields of study (10 credits)


Biochemistry, Plant Physiology, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Plant Pathology, Microbiology, Ag. Entomology, Horticulture, Agricultural Statistics

Compulsory and supporting courses, as per the existing PG academic regulations (6 credits)

Ag. Chem 603             Agricultural Biochemistry                                       (2+1)

RM 601                      Research Planning & Implementation                      (2+1)


DBT sponsored HRD programme

From 2003 to 2005, students were admitted on the basis of entrance examination conducted by Kerala Agricultural University with an intake of 6 students. A total of 9 students have completed their post graduate programme till June 2007.


From 2005 DBT has been sponsoring MSc (Ag) programme. Ten students are allotted every year based on the common JNU entrance examination. The first batch of 12 students is in their 2nd semester. A fellowship of Rs. 1800/- per month is provided to them for two years.




Click here to see more facilities at CPBMB


B. Research

 The major thrust areas for research are

In vitro  propagation of plantation crops, spices & medicinal plants

In vitro conservation of endangered species

In vitro production of secondary metabolites

In vitro fertilization and embryo rescue

Genetic transformation of  crop plants for biotic stress tolerance

Cloning and characterization of novel genes conferring resistance to biotic and abiotic stress conditions

Molecular diagnostics for detection and characterization of plant pathogens

Biodiversity of agriculturally important microorganisms in the Western Ghats

Molecular breeding and marker assisted selection

Fermentation technology



Collaboration with other Institutions


In the State

  • Indian Institute of Spices Research, Calicut

  • Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram

  • Spices Board, Cochin

  • Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi

  • National Bureau of Plant Genetics Resources, Thrissur

  • Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam

  • Rubber Research Institute of India, Kottayam

  • Cochin University of Science & Technology, Ernakulam

Outside the State

  • National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, IARI, New Delhi

  • Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay

  • Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore

  • Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai

  • International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi

  • University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore

  • University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad

  • National Bureau of  Agriculturally Important Microorganisms, Mau

  • Bombay University, Thane

  • Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore

  • Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi

Externally aided projects in operation at CPBMB


Funding agencies : Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment.


DBT Funded Projects

  • In vitro propagation of black pepper (PI : Dr. P.A. Nazeem)

  • Tissue culture research on humid tropical plantation crops & Spices (PI : Dr. P.A. Nazeem)

  • Field evaluation of tissue culture derived black pepper (PI : Dr. P.A. Nazeem)

  • Tissue culture research in black pepper   (PI : Dr. P.A. Nazeem)

  • Improvement of selected spices through biotechnology tools  (PI : Dr. P.A. Nazeem )

  • On farm evaluation of TC derived black pepper plants (PI : Dr. P.A. Nazeem )

  • Studies on Genetic diversity of teak using AFLP markers  (PI : Dr. P.A. Nazeem )  

  • M.Sc. (Agriculture) in Plant Biotechnology  (PI : Dr. P.A. Nazeem )  

  • Isolation and characterization of genes encoding disease resistance (TLCV & Bacterial wilt)  (PI : Dr. P.A. Nazeem )

  • Exploration of molecular diversity and insecticidal spectrum of Bacillus thuringiensis of Western Ghats of India, NE Hill and the Himalayan ranges, establishment of Repository at UAS Dharward and cloning novel insecticidal genes ( PI : Dr. D. Girija )                                                               

  • Genetic transformation for biotic stress tolerance in bell pepper ( PI : Dr. D. Girija )

  • Genomic library construction & cloning of gene(s) for PR proteins in black pepper  ( PI : Dr. D. Girija )

  • Tissue culture research in Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L) (PI : Dr. R. Keshavachandran)

  • Establishment of Distributed Information Centre (PI : Dr. R. Keshavachandran)      

  • Induction of variability in Zingiberaceous crops through in vitro fertilization (PI : Dr. P.A. Valsala)

ICAR Funded Projects

  • Application of microorganisms in agriculture & allied sectors  ( PI : Dr. D. Girija )

  • Sustainable management of plant biodiversity : Rare and endangered medicinal plants    (PI: Dr.R.Keshavachandran)

  • Rapid multiplication of rare and endangered medicinal plants ( PI :  Dr. R. Keshavachandran)

  • Rapid multiplication of Cashew through in vitro methods ( PI :  Dr. R. Keshavachandran)

 Projects Funded by Govt of Kerala

  • BIOTECH-KERALA-Biotechnological interventions and opportunities towards enhancing crop production in Kerala  ( PI : Dr. P.A. Nazeem )

  • KSCSTE project on Enhancing yield and quality of Vanilla through improved technologies.

 EAPs Supported by CPBMB

  • Characterization, Evaluation and Conservation of Exacum species in Kerala with emphasis on ornamental, medical and dye value (DBT Project, PI :  Dr. U. Sreelatha)

  • Classification and Characterisation of banana varieties of Kerala using molecular markers (KSCSTE Project, PI : Dr. Rema Menon)

  •  Catloging of Cashew germplasm in Kerala using Molecular Markers and Digitalizing its morphological data (KSCSTE Project, PI : Dr. Jayalakshmi )

  • Sustainable management of plant biodiversity :Vegetable cowpea and amaranthus (PI : Dr. Salikutty Joseph)

Research Highlights


Plant Tissue Culture

  •      Standardized viable protocols for large scale in vitro multiplication of:

Fruit crops


pineapple, banana & jackfruit

Plantation crops





black pepper, vanilla, ginger, turmeric,



cardamom, clove & cinnamon

Medicinal plants


adathoda, kaempferia, holostemma, trichopus,



artemisia, withania, gymnema, stevia & tylophora

Ornamental plants


anthurium, orchids



chilli, capsicum



exacum, aquallaria, spathyphyllum

  • Confirmed the genetic stability and clonal fidelity of Tissue culture regenerants through molecular techniques.

  • Evaluated the superior performance of Tissue Culture plants through on farm trials with farmers participation all over India in black pepper plants

  • Standardized in vitro pollination techniques for seed set in ginger, turmeric & kaempferia crops in which natural seed set is very rare/lacking

  • Standardized in vitro medium term conservation in vanilla, holostemma and tylophora.

Genetic transformation

  • Standardized genetic transformation protocol for capsicum, ginger & black pepper for inducing biotic stress tolerance.

  • Genetic transformation in capsicum with glucanase/chitinase/osmotin genes carried out. 18 transgenic plants confirmed by PCR & RT PCR.

  • Standardized hairy root induction on Artemisia sps., holostemma and withania for enhancing secondary metabolic production.

 DNA finger printing

  • 50 genotypes of black pepper through RAPD & AFLP

  • 70 genotypes of tomato through RAPD, AFLP & ISSR

  • 250 ecotypes of teak through AFLP assay

  • Cashew, banana and cowpea germplasm through RAPD assay

  • 50 isolates of Bacillus thuringiensis from the Western Ghats of Kerala by RAPD assay.

Gene isolation

  • Cloned and sequenced genomic/cDNA fragments of various genes in different crops/microorganisms




Piper sp., Solanum xathocarpum, Solanum nigrum & Solanum torvum



Piper spp.



Piper spp

Cry 1, Cry 4


Bacillus thuringiensis

R genes for ToLCV and bacterial wilt 




Molecular diagnostics


  Developed PCR based technique for detection of the following:

  • Tomato leaf curl virus

  • Vanilla mosaic poty virus

  • Ralstonia solanacearum Race 3

Biocontrol agents & Biofertilisers  

  • Characterized 431 isolates of Bacillus thuringinesis from the Western Ghats of Kerala

  • 75 Bacillus thuringiensis isolates found to be efficient in controlling pumpkin caterpillar (Diaphania indica)

  • Characterized 12 isolates of Pseudomonas fluorescens, 14 of Trichoderma viridae, 22 of N2-fixing bacteria and 28 P-solubilizers from the Western Ghats of Kerala.

Click here to see Research Achievements of CPBMB


National Award for Biotech Research


C. Outreach Activities 


Include on farm trials, consultancy services, training programmes, symposium, seminars and publications.






Click here to see the Details of Trainings


National Symposium organized


Symbiohort 2005 National Symposium on Biotechnological Interventions for Improvement of Horticultural Crops Issues and Strategies


Inauguration :  Dr. G. Kalloo, DDG (Hort)


Release of proceedings :  Dr. Renu Swarup, Advisor, DBT

Total Participants: 174


VIPs : Dr. G. Kalloo, DDG (Hort), Dr. Renu Swarup, Advisor, DBT, Dr. P.S. Rao, Member, DBT Task Force, Dr. V. A. Parthasarathy, Director, IISR


Books Released


Plant Biotechnology, Molecular Profiling of Piper Species, Biotech Research in KAU, Methods in Plant Biotechnology


 Faculty Details


Dr. P.A. Nazeem

M.Sc (Hort), Ph.D (Hort) and FAO training at USA in Biotechnology

Area of Research: Plant tissue culture, molecular markers, Gene isolation and genetic engineering

Awards: Biotech Process and Product Development award, 2003

PG students guided: 12


Dr.  P.C. Rajendran

M.Sc (Hort), Ph.D (Hort), Post-Doc (Biotechnology) and DGE

Area of Research: Endosperm culture, In planta transformation, Methanogenic bacteria and plant tissue culture

Awards: DBT National Associateship Award 1993-94, ICAR senior fellowship 1985-88

PG students guided: 8 students including 1 PhD


Dr. R. Keshavachandran

M.Sc (Hort), Ph.D, Post-Doc in Molecular markers, Genetic transformation

Area of Research: Plant Tissue culture of tree crops, medicinal plants, hairy root induction in medicinal plants, Genetic transformation, Bioinformatics

Awards: ICAR Junior and Senior Fellowships Dean S. Muthuswami gold medal for best Ph.D thesis, Foreign Examiner's medal for best Ph.D student, DBT National Associateship 1994-95, DBT Product, Process and Commercialization Award, 2003

PG students guided: 10 M.Sc and 1 Ph.D


Dr. P. A. Valsala

M.Sc (Hort), Ph.D (Hort)

Area of Research: Plant tissue culture (Micropropagation, in vitro fertilization and somatic embryogenesis

Awards: Jawaharlal Nehru Award- 1996 for outstanding post graduate works in Horticulture

PG students guided: 7 including 1 PhD


Dr. A. Augustin

Ph.D (Biochemistry)

Area of Research: Waste utilization and protein technology

Awards: Fellowship of the society of Agricultural Biochemists and 3 patents obtained

PG students guided: 4 including 1 PhD


Dr. D. Girija

M. Sc (Ag) in Microbiology and PhD (Microbiology)

Area of Research : Isolation of novel genes, Molecular diversity of microorganism and insecticidal spectrum of cry protein

Awards: Young scientist award of KSCSTE for best paper in 2000. Biotech Process, Product and commercialization award-2003

PG students guided: 5


Dr. R. Sujatha

M.Sc (Ag), PhD (Plant Breeding and Genetics)

Area of Research: Plant tissue culture, cell biology, genome analysis and molecular markers

 PG students guided: 1

Contact Address

Professor & Head

Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Molecular Biology

IT-BT Complex

Kerala Agricultural University

KAU (P.O.),Trissur Dt. 680 656

Kerala , India.

Phone: 0487- 2371994 Fax  0487- 2371994,