Training on “Biosecurity and Biosafety: Diagnostics, Phytosanitary Treatments and Issues” was organized from 15-24 September, 2021 by ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi

Date Posted: 29-09-2021

Training on “Biosecurity and Biosafety: Diagnostics, Phytosanitary Treatments and Issues” was organized from 15-24 September, 2021 at ICAR-NBPGR in virtual -mode under the DBT-funded project “National Programme for Quarantine and GM Diagnostics of Genetically Engineered Plant Material” operational at ICAR-NBPGR especially for the researchers from ICAR institutes, State Agricultural Universities, private sector and plant quarantine officials from Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage (DPPQS). It is one of the objectives of this project is to train human resources in the area of biosecurity/ biosafety issues related to Genetically Engineered plants.

The training course was attended by 80 participants (27 from ICAR institutes, 31 from SAUs, 14 from private sector and 8 from DPPQS) from different parts of the country representing all Indian states except Punjab. The training was inaugurated by Dr Pranjib K Chakrabarty, Member, ASRB and former ADG (PP&B), which was followed by the inaugural lecture by Dr. Ashok Kumar, Director, ICAR-NBPGR giving an overview of PGR management at ICAR-NBPGR.

The training was conducted by 21 in-house faculty from ICAR-NBPGR belonging to Division of Plant Quarantine, Division of Genomic Resources, Germplasm Exchange & Policy Unit and DBT project staff. In addition, 16 guest faculty from DPPQS, DBT, MoEF&CC, BCIL, CFTRI/FSSAI, ICAR, ICAR-IARI, ICAR-NCIPM, ICAR-NBAIR, SABC, Mahyco and Syngenta.

The course curriculum included both lectures and practicals conducted through videos to give the trainees a good idea on the various techniques used for diagnostics for different pests and GMOs, phytosanitary treatments anf policy issues. Also, two virtual visits were conducted for the National Containment facility at ICAR-NBPGR and Phytotron facility at ICAR-IARI. The topics covered included biosecurity and biosafety: concepts, international framework; national plant quarantine set-up for bulk imports; exchange procedures for germplasm including transgenics; detection and identification of insects, mites, plant pathogenic fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes and weeds in quarantine; phytosanitary treatments for disinfestation and disinfection; post-entry quarantine regulations in India; pest risk analysis: concepts and methodology; status of agricultural biotechnology in India; biosafety regulatory framework for GE plants; Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and risk assessment for GMOs/ LMOs including laboratory practices for GMOs; biosafety issues and concerns related to field trials/ release of GM crops; policy issues related to new emerging technologies viz. CRISPR; case studies on gene editing of banana and surveillance and early warning of fall army worm; DNA-based diagnostics of GMOs and information sharing and biosafety clearing house mechanism; surveillance, monitoring and identification of pest-free areas; management practices for containment facility/ green house and strategies and challenges in plant protection and biosafety. The trainees were given both pre-training and post training evaluation quiz and a substantial improvement was seen in their knowledge post-training.

The Training was concluded with a Valedictory Session with Dr. SC Dubey, ADG (PP&B), ICAR as Chief Guest for interaction and distribution of Certificates. The course Director, Dr. V. Celia Chalam gave a brief about training programme and the trainees gave feedback for the training. The trainees were given certificates online. Dr Dubey in his address emphasised on the importance of such trainings and their role in awareness generation among the stakeholders. The vote of thanks was proposed by Dr Kavita Gupta, Convenor of the training.

(Source Dr V Celia Chalam, Head, Division of Plant Quarantine, ICAR-NBPGR & PI of the DBT Project “National Programme for Quarantine and GM Diagnostics of Genetically Engineered Plant Material”, Component 1)