ICPMIA-2020: Insights Into Plant-Microbe Interaction And Its Implications

ICPMIA-2020: Insights Into Plant-Microbe Interaction And Its Implications

The Department of Biotechnology and Medical Engineering, NIT Rourkela, hosted an International Conference on ‘Plant-Microbe Interaction and their implication in Agriculture’ from 16th to 18th November 2020. The 3-day-long conference consisted of a series of interactive sessions by some of the most renowned researchers in Plant-microbe interaction across India. The conference aimed to create a wonderful ambience of scientific knowledge for the exchange of ideas. The conference aimed to create more technologies for utilizing plant-microbe interaction to solve agricultural challenges like Economic food crisis, Food shortage, Wastage of food resources, Easy access to phytopharmaceuticals, Treatment of diseases, and Simplification of agricultural activities, among others.

The conference was open to Students and Research scholars, Young faculty and Scientists, and Industry personnel. All the sessions were conducted via MS Teams Mode.


Inaugural session

The session started at 9.00 AM with Dr A.Thirugnanam(Head of the Department of Bio-Medical Engineering), who welcomed everyone to the session. Dr Thirugnanam briefed the online attendees of the department of Biomedical Engineering and gave the attendees an insight into the various programs the department has to offer

This was followed by a short talk by Dr Nivedita Patra, the Convenor of the International Conference. She presented the online attendees with the theme of the conference and the motto of this coveted International Conference.

The release of the Abstract book followed this. The online attendees were shown the abstract book. 

ICPMIA – 2020 unfolded at about 9.30 AM as Prof. Animesh Biswas, Hon’ble Director of NIT Rourkela, declared the event open.

The first Keynote Address of the International Conference was by Guest of Honor, Prof. H. S. Chawla,(Retired Professor (Genetics and Plant Breeding), Gobind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar). Prof. Chawla’s presentation revolved around ‘Intellectual Property Rights in the Context of Bio-Technology’. Prof. Chawla also touched down on various subtopics like Plant Tissue Culture, Concept of Totipotency, Genesis, Various Aspects of Plant Tissue Culture and Applications, Patents, Intellectual Property. A short Q&A session followed this.

The second Keynote address of the session was by Dr Alok Kalra (Ex-Director, CSIR-CIMAP Lucknow). Dr Kalra was the Chief Guest of the session as well. The delivered talk was about Endophytes modulating biosynthesis of pharmaceutically important secondary metabolites in medicinal plants.’ Following the highly informative presentation, Dr Kalra answered all the queries of the participants.

Dr Shri Ram Yadav conducted the morning session’s final Keynote address (Associate Professor, IIT Roorkee). The session was centred around the topic of ‘Functional genomics of rice adventitious root development.’


This session involved two oral presentations, followed by a keynote address.

The first presentation was given by Dr I. Farida Begum of B.S.A. Crescent Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai. She presented her research topic on 'Citrobacter species a potential source for biodegradation of Tannery effect.'

Bhavya Surendran V S of NIT Rourkela presented her research topic on 'Statistical optimization of Fermentation based production of Bioethanol from seaweed.' This was followed by a very interactive Q&A session between the attendees.

The day ended with the keynote address by Akanksha Singh(Scientist, CSIR-CIMAP Lucknow.) She stressed the topic of 'Harnessing the potential of plant-microbe interaction for sustainable agriculture.'



The first presentation session was by Nandita Banerjee, who currently works in the division of crop improvement at Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow who presented on ‘QTL identification of red rot disease’ and sub-topics like ‘Prospects for developing red rot resistance in sugarcane.’ A short discussion session followed this. 

The second presentation was by Dr Varucha Misra (ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow) on the topic ‘Antimicrobial property of various chemicals on Leuconostoc spp. for improving post-harvest quality of Sugarcane’, consisting of sub-topics like- ‘Leuconostoc bacteria in harvested sugarcane,’ “How much loss in post-harvest sugarcane?” and many more.

The next presentation was by S Ranjani, on ‘Green Nanoformulation and their application in plant growth.’ A short Q&A session followed this.

Following this, Berhanu Girma(Ph.D. scholar) presented on ‘Potential Plant Growth promoting and salt tolerance rhizobacterial strain Klebsiella Sp. KBG6.2 and its probable implication in sustainable agriculture.’ A lively discussion followed this.

The next presentation was by Ms Edet Love Mendie on ‘Isolation and Identification of Endophytic Bacteria and Fungi from the parts of Nyctanthe arbor tristis linn plant.’ There were no questions from the attendees, and the oral presentation session was concluded, following which the keynote lecture sessions began.

The first keynote session was by Dr Gunjan Prakash, Associate Professor at ICT, Mumbai. She has received various awards such as ‘Indo-Queensland early career fellowship of DBT, Govt. of India’, ‘Bio-vision next fellowship’, ‘TEWAS,’ a travel grant in 2011, to participate in an international conference. She presented on ‘Algae as counterparts of land plants for food security and more,’ and a discussion session followed it, marking the session’s end.


This session involved 2 Keynote addresses by distinguished personnel. 

The first speaker of the session was Gaurav Rajauria, a Senior Technical Officer, University College of Dublin, Ireland. Mr Rajauria’s main focus of research involves Bio-Economy and Bio-Resource Utilisation with the aim of Mining and Characterising functional Ingredients from underutilized marine and agro-food resources. The session lasted for a period of 1 hour. 

The online attendees were given an insight into various topics like Circular Bio-EconomyMarine Bio-Economy, and various aspects of Seaweed, ie. Chemical Composition of Sea-Weed, Bio-Active Compounds in Sea-Weed, Valorisation of Sea-Weed, and many more. A short question- Answer session followed the session.

The last speech of the day was conducted by Dr M.V.R.K. Sarma. Dr Sarma is a Senior Scientist in the Microbiology and Fermentation Technology Department of Central Food Technological Research Institute. Dr Sarma gave a presentation on ‘Production of phytochemicals in microbial cell factories: A way forward.’ The attendees were given a brief idea regarding phytochemicals, Key pathways for major classes of phytochemicals. He talked about Stoichiometric models as well. The session lasted for 1 hour as well. A doubt clearing session too marked the end of the day.



This session comprised 2 keynote addresses by two distinguished personnel.

The first speaker of the session was Dr Shivram Singh(Principal Scientist, ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research). His area of research included Plant-microbe interaction and Rhizosphere Engineering. He started his presentation from the grassroots level such that any newbie could understand.

The last address was given by Dr Rishi Verma. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biotechnology, B.N. College of Engineering, Uttar Pradesh. He presented his innovative and intuitive thought on 'Microbial consortia for plant growth promotion – A tool for Rhizosphere Engineering'.


The chairperson for the final session of the coveted International Conference was Prof. Nandini Sarkar of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. The closing ceremony started with the closing remarks by Convener, Dr Nivedita Patra. 

Dr Patra then requested the delegates of the conference to give their feedback regarding the conference. Dr Pankaj Kumar Singh, of the department of Ceramic Department, IIT BHU, appreciated the way the conference was conducted. Dr Gunjan Prakash, Associate Professor of the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, appreciated the idea of a virtual conference and thanked all the organizers. She also said that she was looking forward to the next conference of this series.

Dr Swati Shalini, a Scientist from NIB, Delhi, also heartily thanked the organizers for conducting this conference and said that it showed her the path to move forward in her research on shikimic acid production using Metabolic Engineering. 

Later, Prizes were announced by the chairperson, Dr Nandini Sarkar, for the four best oral presenters based on the merit of their research. The participants from ICT Mumbai and NIT Rourkela were adjudged as the joint winners in session I by judge Dr Akanksha Singh(CSIR – CIMAP, Lucknow). At the same time, the presenters from ICAR-IISR Lucknow and Wollo University Ethiopia were awarded the 1st and 2nd prize in the II Oral paper presentation session. Dr G. Prakash of ICT(Institute of Chemical Technology) Mumbai was the judge of the session.

In the words of Prof. Nivedita Patra the convenor of the event

ICPMIA-2020 was very successful with about 150 participants from NIT Rourkela (50) and other institutes (85) such as IIT Roorkee, IIT BHU, NIT Raipur, MNNIT Allahabad, BIT Mesra, University of Lucknow, ICT Mumbai, ICAR, and ICMR institutes in India, to name a few. International participants were also present from Vienna, Taiwan, Ethiopia, and Africa. There were eight national and one international (UCD, Ireland) invited lectures from eminent personalities in the area ranging from basic research in Developmental plant biology to applied studies related to Quorum sensing, IPR, biorefinery, food security, and metabolic engineering. 

Seven oral paper presenters (5 national, two international) were also shortlisted out of all the abstracts received. Therefore, the quality of presentations was also kept very high, which was highly appreciated by the knowledgeable participants. In the future, we wish to conduct this series of International Conferences in Plant Biotechnology every year so looking forward to the participation of all the delegates in the next conference for another successful event next year.

The Department of Biotechnology and Medical Engineering NIT Rourkela not only provided an online platform but also managed the smooth conduction of the webinar. These kinds of workshops have always been encouraged by our institute, and especially in these trying times, such events certainly help the students to grow despite the pandemic.

Team Monday Morning compliments the Department Of  Biotechnology and Medical Engineering for successfully conducting this webinar and wishes them the best for all future endeavours.

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