NATIONAL NEMATOLOGICAL RESEARCH CENTRE, UNIVERSITY OF KARACHI
National Nematological Research Centre (NNRC), University of Karachi, is the sole research and academic institution of Nematology in the country. NNRC was established in 1974 at University of Karachi by Dr. M.A. Maqbool as the founding father. Under the prudent directorship of Dr. Maqbool, NNRC remained the premier Nematological research institution of the country and got international recognition. The untiring efforts of Dr. Maqbool led to the formation of Pakistan Society of Nematologists (PSN) in 1980 which has been housed at NNRC ever since.
NNRC after its successful journey of four decades has now emerged as an eminent seat of higher learning in Nematology in Pakistan. The main objective of NNRC is to promote the subject of Nematology and to produce highly trained manpower through M.Phil and Ph.D degree programs.
PSN and NNRC have regularly been publishing bi-annual scientific journal, “Pakistan Journal of Nematology (PJN)” since 1983 and “PSN Newsletter” since 2002, covering the significant research in fundamental and applied Nematology within and outside the country. All the abstracts of the published research papers of the back issues and full research papers of the latest issue are available on the website: www.pjn.com.pk
NNRC has been organizing regularly the scientific conferences, seminars and training workshops on national and international basis since 1977 and providing valuable research knowledge and expertise to young scientists, researchers, students, extension workers, farmers and other related persons. A total of 13 Nematological events have so far been organized by NNRC and the Society PSN. Internship programme for students and on-farm training for farmers were also arranged by NNRC at different localities of the country to stimulate awareness against key nematode problems of the country. Diagnostic advisory services are also provided by NNRC to agriculturists, extension workers, farmers and other agencies. NNRC also has good linkages with national and international Universities and institutions for joint research work. NNRC has been contributing significantly on the biodiversity and biosystematics of nematode fauna especially the description and identification of new genera and species. So far the total nematode fauna consists of 776 identified nematodes in which 241 new species and 535 new record species whereas 45 genera were new records for Pakistan.
More than 600 research papers have been published by NNRC in refereed journals of national and international repute, 17 books, 14 chapters and articles, 15 hand books in Urdu for farmers and 8 proceedings have also been published. Recently, four books have been published: one on entomopathogenic nematodes, two on marine nematodes biodiversity and ecology by the LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing, Germany and the fourth one is ‘Bibliography on Plant Nematology in Pakistan’ which contains all the information of Nematological research in Pakistan since 1947.
NNRC offers an excellent academic programme of M.Phil. and Ph.D. under which 14 Ph.Ds and 2 M.Phil. have been produced whereas 12 students are enrolled under M.Phil and Ph.D. programme in Nematology. NNRC has developed its own library consisting of over 1000 books of Nematology and related subjects along with several national and international reputed scientific journals and up to date literature on Nematology. This centre is well equipped with modern laboratories for processing, taxonomy, insect rearing, molecular and mass production of nematodes.
The centre has successfully completed more than 37 national and international research projects awarded by various funding agencies such as United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), International Meloidogyne Project (IMP), Third World Academy of Science (TWAS), International Foundation for Science (IFS), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Agricultural Linkages Programme (ALP); Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF); Higher Education Commission (HEC), World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF-P) and University of Karachi (KU). At present two research projects are in progress funded by PSF-NSLP and one of Karachi university.
Since its inception NNRC has won many laurels due to its untiring research efforts: it got an award from USDA in 1986 in appreciation of the significant accomplishment in Nematological research and in 1992 NNRC was honored by the honour of being declared as, ‘The Centre of Excellence’ in nematode taxonomy by FAO. Moreover, the researcher scientists of NNRC were also been honored from time to time with different awards, appreciations certificates, Marie Curie fellowship, productivity allowances and Gold Medal for their remarkable research accomplishments. Lately, research on molecular characterization of nematodes especially EPN and RKN has also been conducted which resulted in achieving over 150 Accession numbers of indigenous EPN and RKN species by the respective NCBI Genbank, USA. Development of EPN as biopesticide using modern technology is a land mark in the history of this centre. NNRC has also achieved a milestone in getting an “International Patent” by USA, besides awarding eleven national patents EPNs in a short span of time. A genomic library has recently been developed for indigenous EPN and RKN isolates at NNRC. The library contains updated sequences of worldwide reported species of both nematodes.
The expansion of research arena and academic program to better understand the genetics and biochemical mechanism will lead to improvement in detecting, classifying, monitoring and treating nematodes diseases. The NNRC future endeavors include:
- Exploration of biodiversity of nematode fauna.
- Estimation of damage / loses to important crops by nematodes.
- Molecular identification of nematodes.
- Mass scale production of EPN as Biopesticides.
- Application of EPN as biopesticide for the control of insect pests of important crops.
- Commercialization of EPN products.
- Provision of Services regarding Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures.