To meet the globalization challenges raising higher education quality to the world standard is essential. Bangladesh Govt. has taken initiatives to develop the quality of tertiary education. Govt. plans to prepare university graduates in such way that they can successfully compete in the context of international knowledge society. Accordingly, the Ministry of Education, with the assistance of the World Bank, has undertaken a Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP). The project aims at improving the quality of teaching-learning and research capabilities of the tertiary education institutions through encouraging both innovation and accountability and by enhancing the technical and institutional capacity of the higher education sector. The University Grants Commission of Bangladesh is the implementing agency of the project. A HEQEP Unit has been established in UGC for implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation of the activities.

"Creating a next generation of postgraduate researchers highly skilled in molecular and analytical approaches while harnessing endophytes for broad spectrum industrial application as well as using them for improved stress tolerance in jute."

Project Background

Plant associated microbes (generally bacteria and fungi) that live within plants as an integral part of the host metabolism and function are referred to as endophytes. Several recent studies have shown that this intrinsic microbial community brings significant benefits to plants. Endophytes have been shown to stimulate growth, increase nitrogen fixation, enhance protection against pathogens, increase drought resistance help the plant in obtaining nutrients and regulate phytohormones. However, this symbiotic mutualism can be species and environment specific. Identification and characterization of novel metabolites from endophytic microbiota may lead to the discovery of new drugs for human, plants and animals. Very few attempts have been undertaken to study their roles in the growth and metabolism of jute and allied fiber-producing plants. We aim to identify the fungal and bacterial endophytes of jute, determine their mutualistic relationship through biochemical, molecular biology, genomics and proteomics analyses, investigate potential industrial and medical applications through identifying important secondary metabolites and genes, assess their roles as mediators of biotic and abiotic stress resistance and growth enhancers as this important crop is being pushed towards inhospitable terrains in our country to make space for the food crops. This will open new windows for potential application of endophytes in improving growth and cultivation of jute, phytoremediation, organic farming, bio-control, accelerated retting, etc. We highly anticipate that these applications will be extended to other major crops.


Establishment of in vitro culture of jute endophytes, their characterization, and assessment of beneficial effects on jute growth and yield:

♠ Application of beneficial endophytes in promoting growth, biotic and abiotic stress resistance, etc.

♠ Application of endophytes for limiting plant pathogens will reduce the use of toxic chemicals, which will improve the quality of lives of the farmers and make the environment greener and reduce the negative impact on non-target species.

Characterization of some beneficial genes, proteins and secondary metabolites of jute endophytes:

♠ Isolation of commercially and industrially important genes and proteins.

♠ Applicability of medically and therapeutically important compounds isolated from endophytes.

Transcriptomic analysis of fungal endophyte of jute:

♠ Assessment of broad spectrum interrelationship of endophytes with plants.

Use of endophytes for improving yield of jute varieties, and potentially other crops:

♠ Identification of a combination of endophytes that provide maximum benefitsunder a number of different conditions.