The Department of Bio Technology of KCT has undertaken a research project on The Development of Foldscope Based Device to Measure Leaf Hairiness: A Plant Breeder’s Tool & Rapid Estimation of Microbes Using Foldscopes for Pest Control.

What is a foldscope?

Foldscope is the ultra-affordable, paper microscope that you assemble yourself. Designed to be extremely portable, durable, and to give optical quality similar to conventional research microscopes (magnification of 140X and 2 micron resolution), Foldscope brings hands-on microscopy to new places!

Background of the research
Pests such as rootworm larvae and other insects pose a serious threat to Indian agriculture system. Recent estimates suggest that an Indian farmer incur annual loss of 7 lakh rupees (approximate, per acre) due to pests affecting Cotton, Sugarcane and Rice cultivation. Since agriculture is the backbone of our economy it is of utmost importance to safeguard our nation’s agriculture from such threats. Although chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides have long been used as an effective strategy to counteract pests and to increase yield, but majority of those strategies were both expensive and harmful to the environment. Therefore, there is an immediate need to devise a strategy that is both cost effective and environmental friendly. To this end, this project proposes the use of foldscope for estimation of microbes and leaf morphology for pest control. Using this approach, a Gram-positive, soil-dwelling bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis(Bt) that produces BT toxins that kills the pests (larvae of rootworms) will be administered to crops in a dose dependent manner using foldscope.

This project uses a novel and cost effective method of using foldscope to control pests that affect the yield of cotton and corn crops in India.

This project is funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and carried out by Dr. N. Saraswathy and Dr. K.Kumaravel of Dept. of Biotechnology, KCT.
Curious to know more about this? Contact them at [email protected] and [email protected]