PAU plant breeding department develops wonder millet

Updated on Mar 09, 2022 12:12 AM IST
Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) plant breeding department researcher Ruchika Bhardwaj was honoured at theICAR-All India Coordinated Research Project’s annual meeting for developing a wonder millet variety.
PAU plant breeding department researcher Ruchika Bhardwaj developed the wonder millet. (Shutterstock)
PAU plant breeding department researcher Ruchika Bhardwaj developed the wonder millet. (Shutterstock)
By, Ludhiana

The Punjab Agriculture plant breeder was honoured at the 57th Annual Group Meeting (AGM) of ICAR-All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP), held at Jodhpur, Rajasthan for developing a wonder millet variety.

Dr Ruchika Bhardwaj, working as the millets breeder, department of plant breeding and genetics at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), was recognised and appreciated by the Government of India as she developed a pearl millet that is high on iron and zinc and low on glycaemic index, making it a perfect food diabetic.

Further, the crops can withstand the weather vagaries of up to 42 degrees celsius.

“This crop could break the cycle of monocropping and bring farmers out of the wheat and paddy cycle which is leading to the decline of the water table in the state,” Bharadwaj said.

Not an overnight achievement

Bhardwaj has been intensely involved and conducting research in pearl millet breeding for the last 10 years. She has developed several trait specific varieties for both fodder as well as grain pearl millet.

Her work on the development of trait specific varieties of pearl millet, especially high fodder and grain yield, high iron) and zinc content as well as value addition was appreciated by the PAMC committee of ICAR-AICRP.

Bhardwaj has also been instrumental in the release of high fodder and grain yielding bajra variety PCB 165 whose grains have high iron and zinc content with very good popping potential.

This variety has a potential for use in the production of value-added products. Besides, she is also working on popularisation of this miracle millet and published several research and extension articles in international and national journals of repute.

She has been involved in the development of 12 varieties of different fodder crops which are released at state and national level.

Bhardwaj was presented with a certificate of appreciation by the chief guest Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) DARE and Director General secretary Trilochan Mohapatra on March 3, 2022, for her outstanding work in the discipline of plant breeding.

PAU Student Bags Young Scientist Award

Ekta, a Ph.D. scholar in the department of chemistry, PAU, meanwhile, bagged the Young Scientist Award during the 25th Punjab Science Congress 2022 on Future Endeavours of Sciences and Technology for Sustainable Growth held recently.

She was awarded for her research work on sulfonamide functionalized silica nanocomposites: characterization and fluorescence ‘turn-on’ detection of fe3+ ions in aqueous samples.

The award contains a certificate, a medal and cash prize of 7,500. The research work was conducted under the supervision of assistant professor Dr Divya Utreja.

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