The Post Graduate and Research Department of Botany establishes in 1948, started functioning with B.ScProgramme in Botany. The M.Sc Botany Course commenced in the year 1966. The part time M.Phil course was offered to teachers from various colleges during 1990. It was dropped by the University in the year 1993. The department was recognised as an approved Research Centre under the University of Kerala in 1990. The restructured course of B.Sc Botany and Biotechnology (Semester pattern) was launched in the year 1998. The M.Sc Biotechnology course was started in the year 2013. But, later these two courses were shifted to Department of Biotechnology from 2018 onwards. At present, the Department offers four Inter-Disciplinary Courses such as Horticulture as open course, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology as part of FDP, Bio-informatics as part of PG programme and Biotechnology as Elective for PG programme and One UGC recognized Certificate Course entitled Mushroom Cultivation and Marketing under National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF).
The Department was always in the forefront in academic excellence and research in various disciplines of Botany. Ever since its inception, led by able and erudite Professors like Dr, T. MadhavaRao, Prof. P.K.G. Purushothaman, Prof. Padma, Prof. N. Ravi and Dr. M. V.NadarajaPanikkar. Prof. N. Ravi is a well-known plant taxonomist and environmental activist, served as Emeritus Scientist in JNTBGRI, Palode.He established 32 new Angiosperm plants new to science and published 2 Books and 53 research papers. His serious efforts were instrumental in the recognition of Asramam Biodiversity Heritage Site (ABHS), Kollam, which is the first of its kind in Kerala State. Dr. M. V.NadarajaPanikkar is a famous algologist. He contributed 44 new algal taxa to science and published 99 research papers and one Monograph. Dr. Panikkar was awarded Emeritus Professorship by the UGC. He carried out 8 Research Projects.
At present, there are 9 well qualified (8 possess Ph.D degree) faculty members who are actively engaged in teaching and research. The department had the honor of producing 12 First Rank, 3 Second Rank and 4 Third rank holders at UG and PG levels and 22 PhD’s. Five Research Students are currently working for Ph.D programmes.The number of research projects undertaken and the scientific papers published from the department bear testimony to this aspect.
A total of 237 research papers were published from the Department during 1985-2020. Of these, current faculty possesses 51 National/ International papers in recognized journals. In addition, 4 Books and One Monograph were published from the department. Seven Major Research Projects and 13 Minor Research Projects were carried out in the Department. Altogether, 43 species and 01 genus of Angiosperms, 52 algal taxa, 6 bacterial strains were reported as New to Science by the faculty members.
Study Programmes Offered
- Ph.D. in Botany(recognized in 1990)
Certificate Course in ‘Mushroom Cultivation and Marketing’ under National Skill Qualifications Frame Work (NSQF)
The Department has four well-equipped laboratories and Herbarium, which encourage collaborative work and ensure that UG/PG/PhD students have ample opportunity to get hands-on experience.
Major Equipments: Featured lab equipments are Horizontal Autoclave, Cooling Centrifuge, BOD Incubator, Laminar Air Flow System, Research Microscope with Photomicroscopic attachment (Stereozoom), Microscope Image Projection system,Trinocular Compound Microscope, Gel Electrophoresis Unit, Digital pH Meter, Senior Precision Microtome, UV Visible spectrophotometer and UV Transilluminator. All PG classes are equipped with a multimedia projector system.
Tissue Culture laboratory: A well maintained Tissue Culture Lab is working on the development of in vitro production protocols for many commercially important ornamental / crop / medicinal plants. The explants initiation, multiplication and rooting stages in culturing are also carried out in the laboratory. In-vitro propagation protocols were developed for rare, endemic and threatened species for conservation purposes. In addition to these programmes, the department extends assistance to Higher Secondary students through short demonstrations on tissue culture.
Herbarium: The department has maintained well equipped College Herbarium (unofficial acronym SNCH), housed with 5035 voucher specimens belonging to 2037 species of flowering plants under 978 genera and 104 families, which thoroughly arranged in 9 herbarium cabinets, based on Bentham & Hooker Classification system. It was officially started in 1980s. The complete set of voucher specimens from Flora of Kollam & Flora of Pathanamthitta, and Cyperaceae of Kerala were properly documented at SNCH. It is one of the largest academic herbarium under the colleges of University of Kerala. The specimens of lower plant groups such as algae, fungi, lichens, bryophytes, pteridophytes and gymnosperms and plant pathology are also housed in wet/dry preservations. Annually, several researchers, including PG & PhD students working in various institutions of Kerala, are effectively utilizing the service of College herbarium. Currently, with an aim of getting official registration under the International Herbarium Index (IHI), digitalization of herbarium works is in progress.
Botanical Garden: The department has maintained the Botanical Garden of Sree Narayana College Kollam (BGSNCK) which harbours rare trees, medicinal species & exotic plants. The present checklist consists of 215 species, which includes 190 angiosperms, 4 pteridophytes & 2 gymnosperms (updated in 2020). Among these, 23 species come under the IUCN Threatened (Vulnerable, Endangered & Critically Endangered) category. A greenhouse is established in the middle of the garden with an air composting unit. The major attraction of the botanical garden is an artificial forest ecosystem, which is maintained at the eastern side of the garden. The majority of the plants, especially woody plants, are digitally tagged with QR code, based on the current botanical nomenclature system. In commemoration of the International Year of Plant Health 2020, BGSNCK has been renamed ESSENCE Mini Forest (EMF).
Centre of Algal Research (CAR): It was started in 1980. The algal collections of the department were preserved in liquid preparations and herbarium sheets and microscopic slides. The collections are comprised of marine estuarine and freshwater algae. Several new algal taxa were discovered and published in recognised National and International Journals.
Botanical Information Service (BIS): As a part of extension activity, the department offers a free consultancy service for Plant identification. For more details, visit BIS Activities
Botany Alumni Association
The B Sc Botany (1967-1970) batch started the Department of Botany Alumni Association in 2018-19. They are actively involving in many activities for the benefit of the department. The association organizes Annual Merit Day celebrations for distributing the endowments for the meritorious students in Final year university examination in UG & PG Botany and also gives financial support to needy students.