I study various local biotic and abiotic stress factors such as insect herbivory, drought, heat, extreme diurnal temperature variation, high solar UV flux, and herbicide drift, and their effect on the production and quality of wine grapes. I am currently involved in developing a field-level rapid and inexpensive technology to protect grapevines against the off-target movement of synthetic auxin herbicides.
I also study the physiological responses of various woody perennials such as Olive, Pomegranate, and ornamental tree species against these abiotic stress factors. In my experiments with woody perennials, I helped develop a novel experimental technique to measure leaf-level photosynthetic tolerance to drought stress with precision on a greatly increased sample size by observing photosynthetic decline curves on excised leaves.
In my doctoral research, I have studied low-temperature stress tolerance of various cane species belonging to the energycane category (Saccharum complex), and their interspecific and intergeneric hybrids. I conducted experiments to determine the physiological stress tolerance mechanism of these energycane hybrids in growth chambers, greenhouses, and under field conditions. Using photosynthesis and chlorophyll fluorescence measurement techniques, along with enzymatic analyses and gene expression I was able to identify stress-tolerant genotypes among these taxa. I further tested these genotypes under cool subtropical and warm temperate field conditions in northern Japan which revealed seasonal variability in photosynthesis and biomass production capacity of these bioenergy plant species.
My other works included studying drought-stress tolerance of a core collection of Miscanthus accessions, found throughout East Asia, and helped reveal moisture stress tolerance physiology of these previously unexplored bioenergy grasses.
During my post-graduation study, I have tested various organic and inorganic nutrient sources on the performance and economics of several green fodder species under field conditions of northern Indo-Gangetic plains. I also studied the physiological performance of various grain and fodder species including pearl millet, beans, and rice under saline irrigation management systems in collaboration with prestigious national research institutes in India including the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, and National Dairy Research Institute.
In long term, my research goal is to study the development of plants under specialized environments with extreme resource limitations and help develop self-sustaining ecosystems.