Tea plant improvement is one of the most important areas of research for Tocklai. For the growth and
development of the Indian tea industry. Tocklai has been producing a large number of cultivars, which
are being used by tea plantations from a long time. The popularity of clones gained momentum in tea
cultivation since the standardization of vegetative propagation and the release of the three clones-TVI,
TV2 and TV3 by Tocklai in 1949. Since then. Tocklai has persisted with its efforts to develop improved
planting materials through selection and breeding. Tocklai has so far released 33 TV clones for
commercial cultivation, apart from 153 garden series clones. Moreover, 27 out of these 153 garden
series clones were released exclusively for planting in Darjeeling hills. All in all. Tocklai has thus far
released 186 clones and 16 seed varieties to the tea industry for commercial planting. Collection,
conservation and utilization of tea genotypes or germplasms have continued as essential activities for
Tocklai since inception. As a result, Tocklai today possesses a large germplasm collection, which is
utilized for continuous tea breeding activities.

To develop a climate resilient tea production system, a project was initiated at Tocklai to study the
impact, vulnerability and adaptation of tea to climate change. This is a part of the network project
launched by ICAR across India to study the overall impact, vulnerability and adaptation of Indian
agriculture to climate change. The major findings of the project so far are:
• Long-term weather data records of TRA suggest a decline in rainfall and an increase in
• There is an increase in the frequency of extreme events (e.g. high rainfall, resulting in floods and
low rainfall, resulting in drought-like situations).
Extreme weather events have been found to trigger some biotic stresses (eg, increase in the incidence of
pests and diseases), as conditions have increasingly become conducive to such stresses.
Initial results of controlled field experiments have indicated that organic tea or an organically integrated
tea production system is more climate resilient than the conventional system. An Open Top Chambers
(OTC) facility has been commissioned at Tocklai to study the growth and behaviour of tea plants at
elevated carbon dioxide and situations. All the TRA-released clones are subjected to elevated CO2 and
temperature conditions in the OTCs, besides simulating artificial water stress (both high and low)
conditions. Individual and combined stress of all the components of abiotic stress are administered and
the physiological changes, production potential as well as the quality of tea are monitored. The level of
stress (eg CO2 and temperature elevation) is created based on the future climate scenarios, simulated
using the PRECIS (Providing Regional Climates for Impact Studies) model developed at the Hadley
Centre, UK. Testing all the clones under these simulated climate scenarios allows researchers to
conclude the vulnerability of the clones and to figure out as to which of these clones is likely to survive
and produce economically with reasonable quality. Further, it is being speculated that tea, being a C3
plant, may show higher productivity at elevated CO2 conditions, but it is not yet known as to how the
plant will behave when CO2 and temperature levels shoot up and water stocks are either limited or in
excess in the soil, while other meteorological parameters are in the extreme range. This project will
eventually answer some of these questions and suggest adaptive measures.

Biotechnological research on tea is rather young, having only started in 1980. A lot of work has since
been done on micro-propagation, somatic embryogenesis, protoplast culture, anther culture etc.
Development of different types of molecular markers and characterization of the large germplasm
collection, using DNA finger printing techniques, have been successfully done. Gene expression and
identification of candidate genes have also been carried out.

Through a large number of experiments, Tocklai has determined the optimum plant population per
hectare and has standardized the pre-planting operations. Bringing up of young tea, from planting to the
first frame formation pruning, is another area where clear- cut recommendations have been released to
the tea industry. The productivity of tea gardens is closely related to the efficient and complete
harvesting of pluckable shoots. Harvesting, therefore, assumes paramount significance in the economy
of tea estates. Harvesting is a highly labour-intensive operation which usually engages about 60-70% of
the workforce belonging to a particular estate. Hand plucking is the norm in the gardens of northeast
India, but the shortage of experienced workers during the high cropping season continues to adversely
affect harvesting operations. To overcome this, Tocklai has been conducting several experiments on
mechanization of field operations like pruning and harvesting. Initial studies have shown that pruning
and harvesting machines can be successfully employed in tea gardens. This can not only improve the
productivity of the estates, but also improve the earnings of the workers. In India, the bushes remain in
a dormant stage for about three months during winter. Tocklai has studied in detail the physiology of
bushes in relation to winter dormancy. Photosynthesis and tea shoot development. Consequently, it is
now possible to put forward firm recommendations to the industry on pruning and harvesting. Nutrients
like nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, sulphur and zinc play a major role in the health and productivity
of the bushes Tockdal has already developed an Integrated Nutrient Management system, involving the
use of organic manures, vermicompost, biofertilizers and synthetic fertilizers. Recent experiments have
shown that the use of synthetic fertilizers can be reduced by 20-25% when organic manures and biofertilizers are used in sufficient quantities.

Tea soils have undergone considerable degradation over the years. Since the massive rejuvenation of
soil under a perennial crop like tea is only possible after uprooting of old tea fields, soil rehabilitation
before replanting an old tea field is thus an extremely important Strands of deep-rooted Guatemala
grass in an uprooted old tea field event for ensuring sustainability of tea plantations in this region. The
benefits of soil rehabilitation have been extensively studied by Tocklai. Water management is another
critical area of operation in the estates. In this context, it is worth mentioning the noteworthy work
done by Tocklai on drainage. While flooding and water-logging remain major problems in the
Brahmaputra valley, soil erosion and landslides are the main problems in Barak valley and Darjeeling. In
the plantations located at the Himalayan foothills and the Terai area, flooding, gully formation and river
erosion are the major causes of concern. Tocklai has used remote sensing techniques on a GIS platform
for covering large plantation areas of major watershed basins.

Tea plantations in northeast India are severely affected by several pests and diseases. Tea mosquito
bugs, loopers, shig caterpillars, thrips, greenflies and termites are the major pests of tea, while black rot,
blister blight and red rust are the important diseases. Tockdal has recommended tea plantations to
adopt an integrated pest management strategy to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and to move
towards non-chemical pest management. Tocklai has released certain biological control agents and
Fungal antagonists on a commercial scale for the control for pests s and diseases. Research is being done
on the sex pheromones of the tea mosquito and the looper. Biological control agents of termites and
loopers are being studied and these will be available shortly. Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria is
another subject of research. The use of these beneficial microbes enhances the resistance of tea plants
against pests and also increases productivity. Tocklai has achieved some useful results in this regard,
which are being tested on a commercial scale, Estates have been advised to only use those pesticides
that are recommended by Tocklai, based on extensive field testing and residue studies. It has been
proved that the tea brew contains very little residue and is therefore safe for consumption.

Tocklai puts immense thrust on the improvement of tea processing techniques to boost the quality of
produced tea. It achieves this through experiments on packaging and storage of tea, application of
various technologies for the optimisation of space, power and labour in factories, tasting of commercial
tea samples, testing of commercial products used in factories and processing and assessment of
experimental tea samples. Tocklai also assumes an advisory role for the Tea Industry on aspects such as
factory layout, design specifications of machinery and other intricacies of tea processing. The Model Tea
Factory (MTF), located within the premises of Tocklai Tea Research Institute, is a complete
representative black tea manufacturing unit, equipped with all the facilities and flexibilities of a
commercial factory. It houses state-of-the-art tea processing machines, allowing the highest level of
mechanisation. Each of these machines has been augmented with various sensors and additional control
features. Advanced networking technologies, along with computerised distributed data acquisition and
measurement systems, have been used for online monitoring and real-time data logging.
List of machines designed/ developed by Tocklai and used by the industry:
• Rotorvane
• Rotorvane Attachment
• Continuous Tray Drier
• Rotorranc Conc Attachment
• Rotorvanc Improved
• Borbora Continuous Leaf Conditioner
• liaruah Continuous Roller
• Barualt Continuous Roller Improved
• Tea Breaker Cunt Stalk Separator
• Green leaf Storage System
• Electronic Monitoring and Control System for Withering.
• Modified Open Trough for Withering.

Tocklai has conducted detailed investigations on the biochemistry of tea and has documented
the physico-chemical changes taking place during manufacturing. Tocklai has also developed
machinery for tea processing. While India adheres to the global standard of ISO 3720 for tea,
many countries are yet to adopt this standard. The Biochemistry department, in collaboration
with the TPMA department, advises the industry on various aspects of tea processing in relation
to quality improvement. Some notable contributions of the department:
• Chemical basis of tea quality
• Flavour index for Darjeeling clones
• Factors regulating Darjeeling Flavour
• Tocklai Fermentation Test
• Brightness Enhancement in Darjeeling Tea
• Pigment Profile as a tool for assessing quality
• TF and TR as indices for quality

Tocklai undertakes analysis of soils, soil amendments and other agricultural inputs like synthetic
fertilizers, organic manures, micro-nutrients, pesticide residues and heavy metals. Samples
received from tea estates are analysed promptly and the reports are sent on priority, allowing
them to carry out agricultural operations on time. The Analytical Laboratory is accredited by the
National Accreditation Bureau for Testing and Calibrating Laboratories (NABL), under ISO A
Network of TM Laboratories 17025. Under the 11th plan, a new Pesticide Residue Laboratory,
entitled TLabs was established at Kolkata to assist the industry in conforming to the required
norms associated with tea production. The TLabs at Kolkata is equipped with state-of-the-art
equipment like triple quadruple LC-MS/MS and ion trap GC-MS/MS that run 24×7. The testing is
carried out by a ream of experienced residue chemists in adherence to the Quality Management
Systems (QMS).

An efficient extension system enables TRA to transfer the technology developed by the
scientists in the lab to the gardens. The Advisory Officers ofTRA conduct regular visits to the
gardens and advise the management on all aspects of tea cultivation. Tocklai also conducts
regular training programmes for garden executives and small tea growers. The General Tea
Training Programme is very popular among young people pursuing a career in Tea. The quick
and efficient transfer of technology to the field and factory is the secret behind the success of
Tocklai. The research organization maintains constant interaction with the tea industry, which is
faced with several challenges like increased production costs, aging tea bushes, competition
from other beverages etc. It is an undisputed fact that IRA’s extension services have contributed
significantly to the growth of the Indian tea industry.

Small tea growers have emerged as major contributors to India’s total annual tea production. As
part of Tocklai’s efforts to empower them, a dedicated Training & Research Centre for small
growers will be shortly established at Tocklai, in collaboration with the Govt. of Assam. This
Training & Research Centre will cater to all R&D needs of small growers. The centre will facilitate
residential training on basic as well as advanced topics on tea production, tea quality, organic
tea and diversified/speciality reas, among others. The research components proposed for this
centre are also designed to tackle the various challenges faced by the industry, including those
put forth by climate change.
As part of this initiative, a number of field training cum demonstration programmes have
already been

Tocklai’s knowledge base on tea is reflected in the sheer amount of tea literature that it has
produced over the years. The biannual journal Two and a Bud is a major publication. TRA’s
newsletter Tocklai News regularly publishes notes and articles that are of practical importance
to planters. Advisory bulletins, advisory leaflets, special bulletins and occasional scientific papers
are also published by Tocklai on regular and topical basis. The Annual Scientific Reports give a
detailed account of the research and advisory work carried out by the Association. Several books
on different aspects of tea science, including those on tea manufacturing and tea tasting, have
also been published. Publications like the Tea Encyclopedia and Science & Practice in Tea
Culture have acquired cult status in the industry.
Some of Tocklai’s best-selling publications were recently converted into Ebooks for easy
accessibility. An online bookstore was subsequently introduced on TRA’s website to make these Ebooks readily available to interested readers. TRA’s member
gardens are eligible to purchase these Ebooks at subsidised rates.

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries