Tissue culture may give new lease of life for Mallige

If successful, it will be a boon for jasmine cultivators

Mangalur Mallige and Shankarapura Mallige, two famous varieties of jasmine may get a new lease of life soon as someone somewhere is struggling very hard to produce saplings of both varieties using tissue culture.

Uday Kumar P S is not a scientist but he has been doing a silent work of a scientist in his lab named ‘Plant Sprout’ in Padubidri, a small coastal hamlet in Udupi district.
In his small A/C lab, he looks at the glass bottles with hair styling gel like material, flaunting a green and white mass.

Pointing at the bottle, Uday says that if this experimentation is successful, then he will be giving back a great gift to his district-Udupi, which is famous for varieties of jasmines, which have been under threat in the recent past.

About one and half months ago, Uday planted healthy tissues of both Jasmine varieties in a media prepared by him using various chemical combinations.
He has been waiting for the tissues to survive in the media so that the major threat to Jasmine cultivation could become a thing of past.

Uday Kumar P S is a Diploma holder in electrical engineering from KPT Mangalore and despite not having the academic qualification, through his sheer thirst for knowledge, he learnt the art of making combinations of chemicals to prepare media for tissues, which is the most difficult part of tissue culture where mainly scientists come into picture.

 This he learnt during his work experience of 20 years at Indo-American Hybrid Seeds Private Limited in Bangalore and other places where he toiled from maintenance Department to R&D.

Back home at Padubidri, Uday started a tissue culture lab and over the last one and half years, he had been developing healthy banana plants (G9, Nendra, Vegetable banana, Rasbaale and Kadali varieties) along with ornamental and flowering plants.

“I have successfully grown some varieties of plants but I always wanted to find solution to diseases affecting Manglur Mallige and Shankarapura variety. Hence, I brought tissues from healthy mother plants, made media (the gel like substance in which the tissues are left) for both the varieties.

 Over one and half months, both the samples have shown signs of life,” says Uday adding that if he is successful in growing the tissues, then the future for both varieties of Jasmines will be bright.

Advantage of plants cultivated using tissue culture is that they are disease-resistant, high-yielding and bear fruits in one go. However, the only disadvantage in case of Jasmine is that the hardened plants (plants ready for planting) of Jasmine will be comparatively costlier because tissue culture of Jasmine requires chemicals available only in the US, which cost about Rs 10,000 per gram.

“I have used my own combinations and substitute for the costly chemicals. I have to wait and watch how far I have been successful,” says Uday.

However, not forgetting to pay his gratitude to the scientists who trained and nurtured his interest, Uday says that if not for their support, he would have not been able to venture in to an unfamiliar bastion.

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