Dr. Y.R. Sarma, Former Director, ICAR-Indian Institute of Spices Research, Calicut (Kerala) and Advisory Board, Indian Phytopathological Society, New Delhi passed away on May 19, 2016 at the age of 74.
Dr. Y.R. Sarma was born on May 12, 1942. He did his Msc,Bot- Soil Microbilogy and PhD in Plant Pathology from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, AP and joined ICAR service at Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Kasargod, Kerala, during 1972. Later moved on to the present ICAR - Institute of Spices Research (IISR), Calicut, during 1975, as one of its founder members. Established the Division of Plant Protection at IISR. He was trained in Phytophthora research techniques at Univ. of California, Riverside, USA during 1984.
Established a School on Phytophthora Research involving tropical Phytophthoras which ultimately led to set up of National Network on Phytophthora Diseases of Horticultural crops(PHYTONET) as its National Coordinator operated in nine centres in India. This ensured the effective interaction of Phytophthora researchers at National level. National Repository of Phytophthoras (NARPHS) was set up at IISR, Calicut, to cater the needs of Phytophthora researchers. He headed the Team that led to the elucidation of Etiology, Epidemiology and Disease management of Phytophtora foot rot of Black Pepper. Correct taxonomy Identity of Phytophthora infecting black pepper in India as P.capsici was established by Dr Sarma. Besides he guided students for their doctoral programmes (Eleven) under Univ. of Calicut, on black Pepper, Small cardamom and Ginger, that helped to develop Integrated Disease Management (IDM) of these with a major focus on Biological Control. His research investigations on biological control particularly the fungal antagoniss like Trichoderma and PGPRs in disease management remained as more initiatives in spice crops. Cost effective field efficacy of Trichoderma harzianum was successfully conducted on Black Pepper and other Spice crops in an area of 2000 ha and is one of the major achievements on biological control.
Dr Sarma served as a Member on the Task Force of Bio pesticides under DBT., Govt of India. He served as Member of Research Advisory Committees of six ICAR Institutes besides on QRT of CPCRI& NRC Grapes.
Served as General Secretary of International Symposium on Plantation Crops and also of 6th International PGPR Work shop held at IISR, Calicut (2003). He served as President of IPS, Southern Zone. He was the President of Indian Society for Spices (200-2002) and President of Asian PGPR. He represented IISR at Several Meetings of International Pepper Committee (IPC) Jakarta, Indonesia. He served as the Chairman of IPC committee on IPM on Black Pepper, coordinated and developed IPM Document besides a Document on GAP of Black Pepper. A book on “Diseases and Insect Pests of Black pepper and their Management” by IPC, Jakarta has been published, as a part of FAO programme.
Served as TCDC Consultant on Biological control of Vanilla Diseases in Mauritius (2002-2004) and also as Lead Consultant on Black Pepper in FAO Programme operated at Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka (2008-2009).
He was a National Consultant on Ginger Diseases in Sikkim, under Indo Swiss Programme Sikkim (ISPS) (1995-2002).
He was Life Member of IPS, ISPS, ISS and served as member of Phytophthora Committee of International Society of Plant Pathology.
He authored about 160 papers peer reviewed research Journals both ,National and International, 25 book chapters, about 160 in Symposia /Seminars. Besides he had authored about 15 books to his credit.