The Department of Botany was started in 1964, with Pre-Degree science batches. In the year 1969, B.Sc. course was initiated under the Headship of Prof. M Krishnanunni Menon. Later, in 1984, the Department was upgraded with the introduction of Post Graduate course. Since then, there was active participation from the department in the academic activities as well as in botanical researches. The faculty was actively involved in botanical explorations and research by undertaking many major and minor projects supported by agencies like UGC, KSCSTE and SARD. The Department was approved as a recognised Research Centre of University of Calicut in the year on 25.08.2011 with two faculty members as Research Guides.
Presently the Department possess a well equipped library with about 30 scientific journals, more than 5000 books and many periodicals. Department runs a Biotechnology laboratory with modern facilities for micropropogation of plants as well as molecular studies. A Botanical Garden was established in 1996 and is now adorned with the introduction of Gymnosperms like Cycas circinalis, C. Revoluta, Araucaria cookie, Podocarpus spp. and Gnetum ula.
Screening for resistant genotype to yellow vein mosaic disease in species of Abelmoschus Medik. through selection and induced mutation funded by UGC. Principal investigator: Dr.G.Pushparajan
Phytochemical and pharmacological studies of the anti-diabetic drug plants of the genus Salacia L. (Hippocrataceae) occurring in Kerala funded by UGC. Principal investigator: Dr. P.S.Udayan
Collection, Conservation of fifty medicinal plants (listed) and pharmacognostic and micropropagation studies of five ethnomedicinal plants of Kerala funded by KSCSTE. Principal investigator: Dr.G.Pushparajan
Collection, Conservation and development of database on species of Abelmoschus Medik. Of Kerala with special reference to cytogenetical aspects funded by KSCSTE Principal investigator: Dr.G.Pushparajan
Genome analysis in okra (Abelmoschus esculentus(L.)Moench) funded by UGC. Principal investigator: Dr.G.Pushparajan
Conducted a one day National Seminar on forests and its sustainable utilization in PG Department of Botany and Research Centre, Sree Krishna College, Guruvayoor, held on 18th October 2013. A talk Delivered by chief guest Dr,N KrishnaKumar, IFS, Director, Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Government of India, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
The Department has also undertaken many student Projects under the following of KSCSTE for post graduate students. Some of the works completed under this scheme are,
Standardization of invitro propagation of medicinal plants (2005) Principal Investigator: G. Pushparajan , Co – Investigator: Sri. P. Balachandran
Standardization of invitro propagation techniques in medicinal plants (2006) Principal Investigator: G. Pushparajan , Co – Investigator: Sri. P. Balachandran
Micropropagation studies on medicinal plants (2007) Principal Investigator: G. Pushparajan , Co – Investigator: Sri. G. Jayakrishnan
Direct oraganogenesis in medicinal plants (2008) Principal Investigator: G. Pushparajan , Co – Investigator: Sri. P. Balachandran
Studies on Floral Biology and Pollination in Okhra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench) (2009) Principal Investigator: G.Pushparajan, Co – Investigator: Sri. P. Balachandran
Phytochemical Standardisation of Salacia sp. Occurring in Kerala (2013) Principal Investigator: P.S.Udayan
Executive Summary of the Project
Ref: Letter No. MRP(S) - 1138/11-12/KLCA010/UGC-SWRO dated 02.08.2012
We have successfully completed the programmes visualized in the Minor project titled “Phytochemical and Pharmacological studies of the anti-diabetic drug plants of the genus Salacia L. (Hippocrateaceae) occurring in Kerala” from 1st September 2012 to 31st March 2015.
The project reveals a comparative study of eight species of Salacia occurring in Kerala. It includes the taxonomical and anatomical studies Salacia agasthiamalana Udayan, Regy & Pradeep, S. beddomei Gamble, S.chinensis L., S. fruticosa Heyne ex Lawson, S. macrosperma Wight, S. malabarica Gamble, S. oblonga Wall ex Wight & Arn. and S. vellaniana Udayan, Regy & Pradeep which are considered as a raw drug in ayurvedic medicine manufacturing process. S. oblonga with campanulate or urceolate flowers, S. chinensis shows clawed large petals with small globose fruit and single seed. S. malabarica with long pedicel, S. agasthiamalana shows bushy scandent shrub with dark green small ovate leaves and seen in high altitude ie. above 1000 m. S. fruticosa shows yellow flowers with sub-rotund petals. S. vellaniana shows young branchlets smooth brownish, leaves entire, smaller. S. beddomei shows leaves crenate, large. The taxonomical study of various species of Salacia with their key characters helps to differentiate them.
The study includes macroscopy, microscopy, powder analysis and fluorescence analysis of the eight species and difference among them were discussed below.
The macroscopical studies show that all Salacia species have no specific odour and taste. But the external and internal colours, the size ie. length and breadth of specific root were different. Salacia agasthiamalana has orange bark and brown internally. Salacia beddomei shows yellow bark with brown internally, Salacia chinensis shows yellowish bark with light yellow internally. Salacia fruticosa have dark brown bark and internal. Salacia macrosperma shows black bark with brown internally. Salacia malabarica shows dark yellow bark with brown internally. Salacia oblonga have yellow bark and internal and Salacia vellaniana shows yellow bark with brown internally. (Table. 3).
Anatomical studies or microscopical studies are very much helpful to know the internal characters of different species Salacia roots. The internal structures show that cork, cortex, phloem fibers, xylem fibers and xylem vessels were present in all eight species. But the size of xylem vessel is different in all eight species. Tannin deposition will be present in cortex region, but they were different in their quantity. More tannin was present in Salacia chinensis. Tannins were completely absent in Salacia malabarica and S. oblonga . Stone cells prominent in S. chinensis , where as it is absent in S. fruticosa, S. oblonga and S. malabarica. Starch deposition is mainly seen in S. beddomei and S. chinensis and it is absent in S. agasthiamalana, S. macrosperma, S. malabarica and S. vellaniana. Medullary rays are seen in all species of Salacia, it may be uniseriate or multiseriate. Both types of medullary rays are seen in S. agasthiamalana , S. beddomei and S. oblonga . (Table 1 & 2).
Fluorescence analysis is a very important method of identification of crude drugs. Several crude drugs shows characteristic fluorescence when exposed to UV light and this method is used to authenticate the crude drugs with various reagents.
In Fluorescence analysis the crude drugs were treated with different reagents like HCl, H2 SO4, H2O, KOH and NaOH. The purpose is to identify the reactive nature of compounds present in a powder. In Fluorescence analysis S. beddomei (Sample 2), S. chinensis (Sample 3) and market sample (Sample 9) shows almost similar fluorescence, but a slight difference occurs. The similar fluorescence pattern indicates that the chemical compounds present in that species were almost similar.
In powder analysis was also carried out in eight species of Salacia which is helpful to know the character of species. In powder analysis few drops of iodine is used to observe starch; starch will give blue colour with iodine and it is observed that starch is present. Ferric chloride solution is used to detect their presence of tannins; more tannin deposition is seen in S.chinensis; tannin will give dark black colour with ferric chloride. Tannins were completely absent in S. malabarica and S. oblonga . Safranins were used in powder analysis to detect the presence of lignified tissue.
Powder analysis is very helpful to observe and detect the presence or absence of tannin, starch, lignified tissues etc. The present study of the phytochemical standardization of the genus Salacia L. - Celastraceae (Hippocrateaceae) occuring in Kerala with macroscopic, chemical viz. TLC, HPTLC, LC-MS, ICPAES analysis and pharmacological studies may be useful to find out the real Salacia source plant for anti-diabetes and better quality species and this will be helpful to the ayurvedic industries for preparing high quality of medicine. (Tables 5-13).
The pharmacogonistic studies of Salacia agasthiamalana viz. In vitro Evaluation of Aldolase Inhibitory Activity of one extract, In vitro Evaluation of Pancreatic α-Amylase Inhibitory Activity of 2 extracts, In vitro Evaluation of Cholesterol Esterase Inhibitory Activity of Two Extracts, In vitro evaluation of DPPH Free Radical Scavenging Activity of two extracts and In vitro Evaluation of α-Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity of one extract were audited and are found to be acceptable one. This is useful for further screening and development of a new drug for anti-diabetic. (Tables 14-18).