By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 18 Sep: A Seminar on “Emerging Trends in Bioprospecting of Phytoresources” was organised by the Chemistry & Bioprospecting Division of Forest Research Institute (FRI) here, today, in its Board Room. This seminar is one of several progressive initiatives of the Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education (ICFRE) with the intent to retrospect the research done by it and fine tune future research perspectives in line with contemporary trends and needs. Eminent scientists and academicians from leading institutions including IIT, Roorkee, NIPER, Mohali, BITS, Pilani, NBRI, Lucknow, and representatives from the State Forest Department, Haryana, and industries, participated in the Seminar. Inaugurating the Seminar, Dr AS Rawat, Director, FRI, and Chief Guest at the event, underlined the importance of phytoresource utilisation and called for harnessing the vast phytodiversity of India that comprises 14,500 plant species, taking into account the livelihood generation and sustainability. He further emphasised that the reservoir of knowledge that has been generated out of so many years of research should be beneficially translated into products and services for the use of society and industry for which inter and intra- institutional collaboration is warrantable. Speaking as the key note speaker, Prof Sanjay M Jachak from NIPER, Mohali, presented a glimpse of the paradigm shift in herbal drug research with focus on various aspects like lessons from traditional knowledge, greater emphasis on disease prevention rather than treatment, and regulatory policies of the Government of India and other countries for development and marketing of pharmaceutical and neutraceutical products. He also narrated the success stories of NIPER in development of neutraceuticals from Curry patta, Mulethi, Chia seeds, Lemon grass, Isabgol, etc. Before this, Dr Vineet Kumar, Head, Chemistry Divison, FRI, welcomed the delegates and all the participants, briefed about the seminar and presented recent highlights of the research conducted by the Division. There were five lectures in the first technical session. Jagdish Chander, PCCF & Member Secretary, Haryana State Biodiversity Board, Panchkula, talked about forest phytoproducts for applications in food and pharmaceuticals. Dr DG Naik, Coordinator, Maharashtra Educational Society, Pune, spoke on emerging horizons in utilisation of phytoresources. Then, Dr Sunil Dubey, BITS, Pilani, presented an account of the pharmacokinetics and studies of phytopharmaceuticals pointing out the challenges and prospects. Dr Manjoosha Srivastava from NBRI, Lucknow, discussed about the industrially applicable plant based natural products. Further, application of electronic sensor technology for assessing quality of herbal products from medicinal and aromatic plants was presented by Dr Debrata Sircar from IIT, Roorkee. The session was chaired by Dr Yogendra K Choudhary from Ethix Pharma, Raipur, Chhattisgarh. The second technical session chaired by Jagdish Chander comprised of three lectures from industries. The first lecture on the topic, ‘Bioprospecting: Insights, Regulations, Outcomes’, was given by Dr Choudhary. Dr. Girish Kumar Gupta from Zeon Life Sciences, Paonta Sahib, HP, talked about industrial perspectives of bioprospecting to pharmaceuticals. Utilisation of byproducts of culinary herbs was presented by MM Varshney, Flex Foods Limited, Dehradun. A session for panel discussion chaired by Dr DG Naik and co-Chaired by Dr Girish Kumar Gupta was held in which representatives from academia, SFDs, and industry shared their views and thoughts, and extended suggestions. The need for expertise based inter institutional as well as institutional-entrepreneurial collaborations for conduct of need based research and generation of the effective and usable outcome in the interest of different stakeholders in consonance with socio- economic and ecological concerns was emphasised. The seminar concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by Dr Pradeep Sharma.