Biodiversity: Insect collection and identification are carried out to generate data for future use. Laboratory rearing of some economically important insects is also done. Diversity of butterflies, bees, spiders and lepidopteran (Noctuidae) moths from Kodaikanal and Nilgiris are carried out.
Biopesticides: We formulate and prepare new botanical pesticides using natural, essential and volatile oils from plants and we test them against several agricultural and vector insect pests both in the laboratory and field. We distribute biopesticides to the farmers. We train women farmers to prepare biopesticides.
Biological Control: There are some beneficial insects which are useful as biocontrol agents. We collect them and identify them and preserve for future use.
Molecular Biology: Using molecular techniques, variations in populations of both insects and plants are identified and used in phylogenetic analysis. PCR, RFLP and RAPD techniques are routinely employed.
Microbiology: Bioactive molecules isolated from plants and microbes are screened for their antibacterial, antiviral, antimycobacterial and antifungal activities. Many microorganisms from marine environment are also screened for their enzyme production and other useful parameters.
Genetic Engineering: Genetic engineering of many cereals and pulses is being pursued with a view to produce insect resistant crops. Fungal resistant crops are also raised. Besides these, some work is done on sugarcane, onion, maize, etc.
Tissue Culture: Many of the threatened and endangered plants are raised through tissue culture and rehabilitated in the natural environment.
Biochemistry: Studies related to treating diabetes, cancer, obesity and inflammation using plant compounds are taken up. Various biochemical parameters are assessed.
Medicinal Chemistry: Many medicinal plants are collected and active biochemical molecules are isolated and their structures are elucidated. We have also collected medicinal plants from various sources and documented them.
Ethnobotany: Collection and documentation of information on traditionally used medicinal plants from tribal people and herbal healers from different parts of Tamil Nadu are done. Herbarium is preserved in the institute herbaria. Rare and endangered medicinal plants (nursery) are grown at our garden and are supplied to the local and tribal healers with a view to conserve the flora.
Extension Programme: Training programmes are conducted for the benefit of the farmers on sustainable agriculture and environmental protection. So far we have trained 15000 farmers. Training on preparation of botanical pesticides and vermicopost is provided to farmers and SHGs.