Plant Physiology Division focuses on the understanding of the physiology i.e. functioning of tea plants which is closely linked to external environmental and climatic factors (elevation, precipitation, ambient temperature, atmospheric CO2 concentration, humidity, light duration and intensity as well as moisture, temperature and fertility of soil). Any adversity in these conditions, i.e. abiotic stresses can significantly impact on yield, revenue and livelihood security.
- Early screening of new tea cultivars for tolerance to drought in different agroecological regions (low country wet zone, mid country wet zone and uva) using selected physiological and biochemical parameters.
- Investigations on behavior of tea root system
Land Productivity Improvement
- Physiological performances of tea under newly identified shade tree species are measured to evaluate the suitability of new species as shade for tea.
Impacts of Climate Change, Adaptation & Mitigation Strategies
- Responses of tea plants to climate change and climate resilience of tea plants.
- Possible interventions to minimize the adverse effects on tea via plant hormones and other chemicals.
- Carbon sequestration potential of seedling and VP tea plants, different shade trees and soil were estimated and carbon budgets were developed for main tea growing regions.
- A simulation model was developed to predict tea yields and carbon sequestration potential variations with expected future climate change.
- A Drought Susceptibility Index was developed to screen the new cultivars for drought.
- Discovery of the reason behind yield decline at the later stages of the pruning cycle.
- Discovery of allelopathy in tea lands.
- Development of alternate shade tree data base.
- Spraying of K2SO4 at a concentration of 2 % together with urea at 4 %, just prior to a drought was found to be helpful for tea plants to withstand drought conditions.
- A simple technique was developed for testing root starch content prior to pruning.