Dr. D.L.N. Rao
Principal Investigator and Consortium Leader of IUNFC
ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil Science,
Dr. Rao has wide ranging research interests in biological nitrogen fixation, microbial diversity, biofertilizers, soil organic matter, nitrogen cycling, legumes and organic farming. He has been working as Project Coordinator of the ICAR’s All India Coordinated Research Project on Biological Nitrogen Fixation since 1998, later replaced in 2004 by the All India Network Project on Soil Biodiversity-Biofertilizers, guiding and executing research at twenty locations all over India, working closely with marginal and tribal farmers, developmental agencies and policy makers.
Pigeonpea is one of the most important crops in drylands in India, but suffers from inconsistent yields and poor nodulation. The team at Indian Institute of Soil Science (IISS), Bhopal will aim to improve selection of optimal plant lines and rhizobial inoculants to increase plant growth and grain yield in Vertisols along with quantification of nitrogen derived from fixation. The benefits of inoculation of effective rhizobia and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) will be assessed along with metagenomic assessment of the functional community involved in nitrification, denitrification and nitrogen fixation in Vertisols. Measurements of the contribution of native and inoculated competitive rhizobial strains, as well as selection of superior rhizobial strains, will enable the inoculant industry to deploy these strains and thus translate to sustainable increases in farm yields.