The Kuzhur Sub Centre of KSCSTE - Kerala Forest Research Institute is situated in Kuzhur, Thrissur District and is 5 km away from Mala, 18 km away from Kochi International Airport with a campus of around 1.27 acres. The Sub Center was initially known as Prof. A. Abraham Centre for Research in Natural Products and was established in January 2019 under Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment-Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanical Research Institute (KSCSTE-JNTBGRI), for in vitro propagation of natural fibre yielding plants through tissue culture with special emphasis on different varieties of screw pine plants and other economically important agricultural and horticultural crops. The vision was to ensure sufficient raw materials for the screw pine-based cottage industry and quality planting materials of agricultural & horticultural species for the development of the green industry in Kerala. The Centre was handed over to KSCSTE-Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) on 1st January 2022 and thereafter is known as KSCSTE-KFRI Sub Centre, Kuzhur. The Centre is currently managed by an Advisory Committee and the current staff strength is 13.
The Sub Centre is equipped with a Plant Tissue Culture laboratory consisting of a total area of over 10000 sq. ft. in 1.27 Acres of leased land. Non-sterile processing area (1800 sq. ft.) includes a media preparation room, washing area and autoclave rooms. The sterile area (1825 sq. ft.) comprises an office room, an inoculation room (745 sq. ft.) and a growth room (1080 sq. ft.) for culture incubation. The existing capacity of the Centre can facilitate in vitro production of approximately 5 lakh plantlets per annum.
Currently the laboratory is engaged in
Pandanus (Screw pine -Kaitha): Different species of Pandanus like Pandanus odorifer, P. furcatus, P. leram (long leaved), P. tectorius (thornless), P. pygmaeus (ornamental) are propagated currently in the Sub Centre. About 20,000 Pandanus plantlets have been distributed to prestigious institutes like ISRO, Kerala State Biodiversity Board, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, Miyawaki forest program and different private nurseries. Besides providing plant material for mat weaving, the Sub Centre also focuses on the protection of river banks, streams and coastal areas through the planting of Pandanus plantlets.
Forestry species: Bamboos are often considered as 'Poor man's timber', bamboo is a valuable raw material for a range of products and various applications (for paper pulp, as a building material, scaffolding, basketry, furniture making, crafts, stakes and agricultural tools, etc.) and thereby providing a livelihood for rural and tribal people. Protocol standardization for mass production of highly sought-after bamboos like Dendrocalamus giganteus, Dendrocalamus brandisii, Schizostachyum brachycladum, Dendrocalamus stocksii, etc. and other tropical timber species including teak is being carried out at the Sub Centre.
Medicinal Plants: Tissue culture offers a non-destructive way of providing plant materials and also restoring natural populations. The Sub Center standardizes micropropagation protocols of selected medicinal plants like Holostemma ada-kodien, Embelia ribes, Aloe vera, Kaemferia galangal, among others.
RET and endemic species: The Sub Centre is in the process of developing tissue culture protocols for expediting the conservation of rare, endangered and threatened (RET) species and endemic tropical forest species of special interest to Kerala.
Ornamental plants: There is a rising demand for quality indoor plants and flowers in Kerala. Keeping this in context, the Sub Centre has started micropropagation of unique varieties of popular ornamental plants such as Aglaonema, Alocasia, Calathea, Cordyline, Philodendron, etc.
Agricultural Crops: The Sub Centre has been successfully producing tissue culture bananas (different varieties) and ginger throughout the year to meet the local demand from farmers.