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Kerala Agricultural University is perhaps the first among the Universities in India to have a research station exclusively for Aromatic and Medicinal Plants. The station was established on 15-3-1951 as "Lemongrass Breeding Station" under the Department of Industries of the erstwhile Travancore-Cochin Government. The centre was brought under the Department of Agriculture with effect from 1-8-1954 and was baptized as "Lemongrass Research Station". The main objective of the centre was to provide adequate research support for lemongrass cultivation in the state. Consequent to the formation of Kerala Agricultural University in 1972, the station became an integral part of the University's research net work. Diversifying the research emphasis of the centre to cover all other tropical aromatic and medicinal plants, the station was renamed as Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Research Station (A.M.P.R.S.) in 1982. Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India has upgraded the phytochemical laboratory of the station as one of the Regional Analytical Laboratories for medicinal and aromatic plants in 1994.
The station was established in 1951 as "Lemon grass Breeding Station" under the Department of Industries of the erstwhile Travancore-Cochin Government. The Centre was brought under the Department of Agriculture with effect from 1-8-1954 and renamed "Lemongrass Research Station". The main objective of the Centre was to provide adequate reasearch support for lemongrass cultivation in the state. Consequent to the formation of the KAU in 1972, the station became an integral part of the Uni-versity's research system. The station was named as Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Research Station (AMPRS) in 1982. This institution is recognised as lead centre for lemongrass research at national and international level. United Nations Industrial Development Organisation usually directs the entrepreneurs to this centre for advice regarding their research and development needs on lemongrass. A Regional Analytical Laboratory for medicinal and aromatic plants started functioning on 31.12.1993.
The lead function of the centre is research on essential oil yielding plants and the verification function is on medicinal plants.
The most significant contribution of the Centre was the release of the high yielding lemon grass variety OD - 19 (Suganthi), the only nationally accepted variety in East India lemongrass. Six lemon grass accessions superior to OD-19 have been identified. Superior palmarosa selection made at the station, ODP-2 is popular among farmers. Among the South Indian vetiver types, Nilambur selection, ODV-3, identified at this station is very popular. A high eugenol yielding cinnamon type has also been identified.
Agrotechniques for lemon grass, palmarosa and vetiver were evolved and recommended. Agronomic practices for maximising rhizome yield in Kaemferia galanga (Kacholam) has been worked out.
The process of distillation of lemon grass and other essential oil yielding plants was standardised.
The phytochemical laboratory of the station is recognised as one of the Regional Analytical Laboratories for medicinal and aromatic plants.
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