Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka

Ministry of Plantation Industries



Plant Science Department

 

The broad objective of this department is to identify and recommend cost effective techniques from plant production up to exploitation which would maximize the productivity.  The quality of planting material is improved constantly.   Planting techniques to improve the condition of the clearings and also methods of exploitation to cut down on COP are researched.  Cultural practices during the immature phase along with intercropping are also looked at and recommendations are made where necessary.  Plant physiological research is conducted to help increase the productivity and tissue culture work is also continued with some progress.  Apart from research activities, services and advisory work play vital roles.

Head of the Department

N M C Nayanakantha, BSc (SL), MSc (India), PhD (India)
nayanakanthachamil7[at]gmail.com

Dr. N.M. Chamil Nayanakantha is presently the Head of Plant Science Department of RRISL. He obtained his PhD in the field of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from Indian Agricultural research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, India in 2014 and obtained his MSc. in the same field from GovindhBallabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India in 2007. He obtained his BSc (special) degree in Botany from University of Peradeniya in 1999. He has received seven Best Presenter Awards and two Best Paper awards for his papers presented at various national and international conferences. He has published more than 40 research papers in international and national journals, bulletins and conference proceedings. Currently he is involved in research relevant to nursery techniques, seed science, exploitation techniques and plant physiological studies with special emphasis on abiotic stress tolerance in rubber plants.

 

Senior Research Officer

T U K Silva, BSc Agric (SL), MPhil  (SL)
tuksilva[at]yahoo.com

Mr. T.U.K. Silva is currently working as a Senior Research Officer of Plant Science Department. He obtained his M.Phil in Forestry from University of Sri Jayewardenepura in 2007, and BSc in Agriculture from University of Ruhuna in 1998. Currently he is reading for his Ph.D. at Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Presently he is carrying out research on intercropping, planting techniques, harvesting systems and crop physiology of rubber and intercrops. He has published more than 10 research papers in journals, bulletins and conference proceedings.

 

Research Officer

Mrs D S A Nakandala, BSc Agric (SL)
sashika75[at]yahoo.com

Ms Sashika Nakandala serves as a Research Officer/Botanist in the Plant Science Department since 2005. She obtained her BSc Degree in Agriculture from University of Ruhuna in 2002 with a Second Class Upper Division. She has more than twelve years of research experience in the field of irrigation and water management for rubber nurseries and on physiological aspects of water stress tolerance of rubber seedlings in non-traditional areas of dry and intermediate zones. She has designed more than ten large sprinkler and drip irrigation systems for rubber nurseries of the RRISL and for the government rubber nurseries of Rubber Development Department. She is a member of the Technical Evaluation Committee of Rubber Development Department as an expertise on irrigation systems. Currently she is reading for her PhD in the field of Irrigation and Water management. She has published more than 10 research articles and presented papers at Plantation Crop Research Symposia.

 

Research Officer

Miss B M S S Panditharatne, BSc Agric. (SL)
sanjubmssp[at]gmail.com

BMSS Panditharatna is currently working as a Research Officer/ Botanist of the Plant Science Department. She obtained her BSc degree in Agricultural Technology and Management from University of Peradeniya in 2015 with a Second Class Upper Division. She completed her Msc in Floriculture and Landscape Architecture from Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya in 2017. He current field of research include rubber nursery techniques and plant physiological studies with special emphasis on abiotic stress tolerance.

  • The paper by N. M. C. Nayanakantha, B. M. S. S. Panditharathna, P. Seneviratne and E. U. M. De Z. Dissanayakaentitled “Assessment of growth and budgrafting performance of selected clonal seedling rootstocks of rubber (Heveabrasiliensis) won the “Award for the Best Oral Presenter” under the category of “Crop Protection and Production” at the First International Symposium on Agriculture, 6th October 2017, Eastern University, Chenkalady, Sri Lanka.
  • Received an award for the “Contribution Made to Rubber Industry during 2014-2015”at the 6th Symposium on Plantation Crop Research, 2nd -4th November, 2016,  Colombo.
  • The paper by N.M.C. Nayanakantha, K.D. Madhushani, L.A.R. Amarathunga, G.A.S Wijesekera, P.D Pathirana, W. Karunatilaka, D.L.N. de Zoysa, M.N. de Alwis, R. Handapangoda & P. Seneviratneentitled “Treatment with nitric oxide and seed coat removal improve germination dynamics and growth attributes of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis)” won the Award for the “Best Paper from RRISL” at the 6th Symposium on Plantation Crop Research, 2nd -4th November, 2016,  Colombo.
  • The paper by N.M.C. Nayanakantha,  S. Rawat, S. Ali and A. Grover entitled Differential Expression of Defense-Related Genes in Sinapis alba and  Brassica juncea upon  the infection of Alternaria brassicae  won the “Award for the “Best Oral Presenter” under the category of “Biotechnology” at the Twenty Seventh Annual Congress of Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture (PGIA), Peradeniya, held from 19th to 20th November 2015 at PGRC, Gannoruwa.
  • The paperby N.M.CNayanakantha, S. Rawat and A. Grover entitled “Identification of differentially expressed genes in Brassica junceaand Camelina sativa upon challenge inoculation with Alternaria brassicae” received a “Merit Certificate”at 4th Young Scientists Forum Symposium,  23rdJanuary, 2015, HARTY, Colombo.
  • The paper, by N.M.C. Nayanakantha,  P.D. Pathirana, A.M.W.K. Senevirathna and P. Seneviratne entitled “The effect of nitric oxide-donor sodium nitroprusside on root architecture and growth of young budding polybagged plants of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis)” , won the “ Award for the Best Paper (with a Gold Medal) at the 5th Symposium on Plantation Crop Research, 15-17 October 2014,  Colombo.
  • The paper, by N.M.C. Nayanakantha,  S. Rawat, S. Ali and A. Grover entitled “ Differential expression of defense-related genes in moderately-resistant Sinapis alba and susceptible Brassica juncea upon  Alternaria brassicae challenge or defense inducer treatments”, won the “Award for theBest Oral Presenter” under the category of Plant Biotechnology at the 2nd  International Conference on Frontiers to Molecular Life Sciences held from 11-12 September 2014, Colombo.
  • Priming of rubber seeds with Nitric Oxide donor Sodium Nitroprusside enhanced germination dynamics and growth attributes of rubber.
  • Wintering, flowering and seed production were evaluated for 20 clones and identified prolific seed-producing clones & areas.
  • Novel and cost-effective sowing media for river sand were evaluated and obtained promising results.
  • Pre-treatment with nitric oxide donor sodium nitroprusside enhanced physiological and growth attributes of budded rubber plants under drought stress conditions.
  • Drip and sprinkler irrigation systems were designed for the government rubber nursery at Padiyathalawa
  • Exogenous salicylic acid improved growth of rubber seedlings under water stress condition.
  • An experimental field was established in Kilinochchi to study the growth & physiological attributes of rubber clones under sub-optimum condition
  • New experiments were commenced on theapplication of antioxidant (chemicals&botanicals) to address tapping panel dryness problem of rubber.
  • Rubber agarwood intercropping experiments revealed that the growth of local agarwood plant (Gyrinopswalla) or “wallapatta” is low as compared to other two species.
  • There were no marked differences in growth and yield of Cinnamon under fourspacialarrangements of rubber.
  • The growth of Mango, Guava & Pomegranate intercropped under rubberwas satisfactory.
  • All private, RPC and government rubber nurseries were inspected for plant quality improvement and reports were submitted to RDD and RPC for implementation.
  • ‘Rubber Home Garden’ concept in popularizing rubber in nontraditional areas was introduced with the aim of uplifting the livelihood of rural poor.
  • “Ready-Reckoner chart” to assess excessive bark consumption rates, to predicttherelevant panel durations and to rectify the harvesting process was developed and distributed to stakeholders. The chart was recommended to implement and to take remedies tosustain the economic lifespan of rubber  plantations.
  • It is strictly recommended to use only early germinating seeds collected in the early seed fall to establish rootstock nurseries
  • The life span of budwood nurseries is ten years and therefore it is recommended to replace 10% of the nursery with new clones every year
  • Young buddings use for planting should be less than one year old at planting and bare roots are not recommended as a planting material

Patents and Industrial Designs

  • R P Karunasena –Improvement to the existing rubber tapping knife which is being currently used.

 

  • Growth and abiotic stress tolerance improvement in rubber plants
  • Introducing cost-effective irrigation systems and scheduling for rubber nurseries
  • Certification of nursery plants for quality and productivity improvement
  • Tissue culture and micropropagation of rubber and some other crops suitable for intercropping with rubber
  • Data base on source bush nurseries under different sectors
  • Different planting strategies for growth and productivity improvement
  • Planting at different densities to obtain maximum economic return from latex and timber
  • Intercropping diverse crop species with rubber for productivity improvement and environmental sustainability
  • Low-frequency harvesting with liquid/ gaseous stimulation to reduce cost of production
  • Testing of different harvesting systems to obtain maximum yield and sustainable utilization of bark
  • Testing remedies to address tapping panel dryness problem; one of the major reasons for low productivity in rubber plantations
  • Evaluation of anatomical, physiological and molecular biological attributes of rubber clones for selecting best clones for better growth and yield, especially under drought and heat stress conditions
  • Training and trouble shooting in nursery management, planting, harvesting, intercropping and other aspects related to agronomy
  • S. Ali, N. Chandrashekar, S. Rawat, N.M.C. Nayanakantha, Z.A. Mir, A. Manohaean, M. Sultana and A. Grover (2017). Isolation and molecular characterization of thepathogenesis-related PR2 gene and its promoter from Brassica juncea. Biologia Plantarum. doi:10.1007/s10535-017-0726-7.
  • Sandhya Rawat, Sajad Ali, N.M. ChamilNayankantha, N. Chandrashekar, BhabatoshMittra&  Anita Grover (2017). Isolation and expression analysis of defensin gene 3 and its promoter from Brassica juncea. Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection. DOI 10.1007/s41348-017-0103-y.
  • N. M. C. Nayanakantha, B. M. S. S. Panditharathna, P. Seneviratne and E. U. M. De Z. Dissanayaka (2017). Assessment of growth and budgrafting performance of selected clonal seedling rootstocks of rubber (Heveabrasiliensis). The full paper has been accepted for publication in the symposium proceedings of the 1st International Symposium on Agriculture, Eastern University of Sri Lanka, to be held in October 5th-6th, 2017, Eastern University, Chenkalady.
  • N.M.C. Nayanakantha, N.N. Hettiarachchi, A.M.W.K. Senevirathna, and P. Seneviratne(2016). Exogenous nitric oxide donor sodium nitroprusside enhanced growth attributes of polybagged rubber (Heveabrasiliensis) seedlings. Tropical Agricultural Research and Extension Journal.18(3), pp.134–141.
  • Silva, T.U.K.,  Senevirathne, A.M.W.K.,  Senevirathne, P. and Costa, W.A.J.M. (2016). Different latex harvesting systems and their impact on bark consumption and economic lifespan of rubber plantations in Sri Lanka. “International Symposium on Agriculture and Environment 2016”, University of Ruhuna, Matara, Sri Lanka. Pp. 33-35.
  • Silva, T.U.K., Senevirathne, A.M.W.K., Senevirathne, P., Costa, W.A.J.M., Samarasekara, R and Deshapriya, H.A.U..(2016). Impact of different latex harvesting systems on bark consumption, yield and economic lifespan of rubber plantations in Sri Lanka. Proceedings of the Sixth Plantation Crop Research Symposium November 2-4, 2016. Bandaranaika Memorial International Conference Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Pp 125-133.
  • Nayanakantha, N.M.C., S. Rawat, S. Ali and A. Grover (2015). Differential expression of defense-related genes in Sinapis albaand  Brassicajunceaupon the infection of Alternaria brassicae. Tropical Agricultural Research Journal. 27(2): 123-136.
  • Senevirathna, A.M.W.K. (2013). Protect our rubber plantations for long-term sustainable yield and economy under prevailing rubber prices. Journal of the National Institute of Plantation Management. 27 (No. 1), 58-61.
  • Silva, T.U.K., and Rodrigo, V.H.L. (2015).  Potential of increasing the planting density ofrubber in Sri Lanka.Proceedings of the International Rubber Conference 2015. RRIV, Vietnam, 2-3, November 2015, Pp 577-590.
  • Nayanakantha, N.M.C. P.D. Pathirana, A.M.W.K. Senevirathna and P. Seneviratne (2014). Exogenous nitric oxide-donor sodium nitroprusside ameliorates root architecture and growth of young budding polybagged plants of rubber (Heveabrasiliensis). Journal of the Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka. 94: 9-24.
  • Nayanakantha, N.M.C., S. Rawat, S. Ali and A. Grover (2014). α-Tubulin: A more suitable internal control than β- actin in reverse transcription PCR analysis of Brassica juncea, Sinapis alba and Camelina sativa under different experimental conditions. Annals of Plant Protection Sciences, 22 (2):345-351.
  • Nayanakantha, N.M.C., S. Rawat, S. Ali and A. Grover (2014). Defense gene induction in Camelina sativa upon Alternaria brassicaechallenge. Indian Phytopathology, 67(3): 252-256.
  • Nakandala S A, P Seneviratne, S M M Iqbal, S S P Munasinghe and D Pathirana.(2014). Performance and Cost effectiveness of three irrigation systems in a rubber nursery in the Intermediate Zone of Sri Lanka. Pp 91 -98. In A P Keerthipala (ed) Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on Plantation Crop Research – “Towards a Green Plantation Economy”. Sugarcane Research Institute, Uda Walawa, 70190, Sri Lanka
  • Munasighe S S P, S A Nakandala, C S de Silva, P Seneviratne and P D Pathirana. 2013. Performance assessment of technically specified and Non-specified sprinkler irrigation systems in rubber nurseries in the Intermediate zone of Sri Lanka. In: Proceedings of Annual Academic Sessions 2013. The Open University of Sri Lanka. 27th – 28th November 2013. Pp 127 – 132.
  • Nakandala S A, K D N Weerasinghe, P Seneviratne, S M M Iqbal and D Pathirana.2013 Exogenous application of Salicylic acid with irrigation to alleviate drought stress of rubber nursery plants in the Intermediate zone of Sri Lanka. In: Proceedings of International Symposium on Agriculture and Environment 2013. Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna.
  • Senevirathna, A.M.W.K. (2013). Protect our rubber plantations for long-term sustainable yield and economy under prevailing rubber prices. Journal of the National Institute of Plantation Management. 27 (No. 1), 58-61.

For Information

  • Call 1919

Contact Info

  • Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka.
  • Dartonfield, Agalawatta. 12200
  • 034 - 2247426, 034 - 2247383
  • 034 - 2248459, 034 - 3439999
  • 034 - 2247427
  • dirrri@sltnet.lk