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Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (CAAST)

Laboratory Facility under Coconut Mission

Coconut Mission aims at coordinating the research and developmental programmes on coconut, the head quarters of which is functioning at College of Agriculture, Padannakkad.   Associate Director of Research, Coconut Mission is the Principal Investigator of the  CAAST component (Centre of Advanced Agricultural Science and Technology) of ICAR- NAHEP funded project on ‘Knowledge and Skill Development on Coconut Based Secondary Agriculture’ in KAU.  One of the objectives of the CAAST component is to provide advanced research facilities for Post Graduate (M.SC and PhD) and faculty research. Under the project the following facility has been established in College of Agriculture, Padannakkad

CAAST LAB for Molecular Biology

An advanced research lab was established in the existing PG block of College of Agriculture, Padannakkad for meeting the requirements for the Faculty and PG/PhD research objectives under the CAAST project. The facilities include necessary equipments for gene detection, molecular marker studies, microbilogical experiments, coconut oil estimation and quality analysis and neera quality analysis envisaged under the project such as gradient PCR, RT-PCR, Nanodrop spectrophotometer,  -200C & -800C deep freezer, refrigerated centrifuge, soxhlet ice flake machine, Gel documentation system, electrophoresis facilities, horizontal autoclave, hot air oven, laminar airflow chambers etc.

CAAST LAB for Molecular Biology

Refrigerated Centrifuge

It is having diversified use in DNA / RNA isolation and protein basedCompact design with a smart, simple interface, trouble-free rotor installation and removal, Biocontainment sealing options, capacity 8 x 50mL conical tubes, 24 x 1.5/ 2 mL tubes, microplates and microtubes. Spin  50mL conical tubes at over 12,000 x g and microtubes at speeds up to 30,279 x g

Real Time PCR

Real-time PCR, also known as quantitative PCR (qPCR), is used for sensitive, specific detection and quantification of nucleic acid targets. It monitors the amplification of a targeted DNA molecule during the PCR (i.e., in real time), not at its end, as in conventional PCR. Real-time PCR can be used quantitatively (quantitative real-time PCR) and semi-quantitatively (i.e., above/below a certain amount of DNA molecules) (semi-quantitative real-time PCR). Two common methods for the detection of PCR products in real-time PCR are (1) non-specific fluorescent dyes that intercalate with any double-stranded DNA and (2) sequence-specific DNA probes consisting of oligonucleotides that are labelled with a fluorescent reporter, which permits detection only after hybridization of the probe with its complementary sequence.

-80° C Deep Freezer Facility

An ultra low temperature (ULT) freezer is a refrigerator that can store contents up to −86 °C especially suited for biological samples like DNA, RNA, proteins, cell extracts, or reagents. To reduce the risk of sample damage, these types of samples need extremely low temperatures of −80 to −86 °C (−112 to −123 °F). It is equipped with reliable heavy-duty compressors (2-stage cascade cooling system). 

Laminar Air Flow Chamber (LAF)

LAF is used in the lab for setting up PCR reactions without any contamination, and for microbiology work. The equipment used in the lab has an aluminum framed High-efficiency Particulate air (HEPA) filter, with a minimum efficiency of 99.99% at 0.3 microns.


In molecular biology, quantitation of nucleic acids is commonly performed to determine the average concentrations of DNA or RNA present in a mixture, as well as their purity. pectrophotometric analysis is based on the principles that nucleic acids absorb ultraviolet light in a specific pattern. In case of DNA and RNA, a sample is exposed to ultraviolet light at a wavelength of 260 nm and a photo-detector measures the light that passes through the sample. Some of the ultraviolet light will pass through and some will be absorbed by the DNA / RNA. Using the Beer–Lambert law it is possible to relate the amount of light absorbed to the concentration of the absorbing molecule.  Normal Spectrophotometers require more sample volume for the estimation of the nucleic acid concentration compared to Nanodrop which require only 1 µl of sample.  It helps to identify nucleic acid contaminants such as RNA contamination in dsDNA samples and chemical contaminants such as phenol in RNA samples. Also can view the full-data formats (e.g., contaminant analysis spectral graphs) and organize experiments using the software.


Soxhlet extraction is used when the desired compound has a limited solubility in a solvent, and the impurity is insoluble in that solvent. It efficiently recycles a small amount of solvent to dissolve a larger amount of material. A Soxhlet extractor has three main sections: a percolator (boiler and reflux) which circulates the solvent, a thimble (usually made of thick filter paper) which retains the solid to be extracted, and a siphon mechanism, which periodically empties the thimble. The equipment used in the lab has an automated solvent extraction for rapid, economic and safe estimation of soluble material in  various samples.

Ice Flaking Facility

For making ice flakes for layering samples and used in molecular biology lab while performing experiments on the work bench requiring lower temperatures.

Horizontal Autoclave

Pressure chamber consists of  large  horizontal cylinder in which the materials to be sterilized are placed. It is made up of gunmetal or stainless steel and placed in a supporting iron case. Used for sterilizing the various instruments, glassware and plastic ware used in molecular biology research programmes

Gel Documentation System

For the imaging and documentation of nucleic acid and protein suspended within polyacrylamide or agarose gels.  A gel doc includes an ultraviolet (UV) light transilluminator, a hood or a darkroom to shield external light sources and protect the user from UV exposure, and a CCD camera for image capturing

Water Distillation facility

All Glass Horizontal Type, Made from Heat Resistant, Low Expansion Borosilicate Glass.

Refrigeration facility

-20°C Deep freezer facility, Double Door  refrigerators  for short term storage of various chemicals and samples

BOD Incubator

Used to grow and maintain microbiological cultures or cell cultures. The incubator maintains optimal temperature, humidity and other conditions such as the CO2 and oxygen content of the atmosphere inside. Incubators are essential for much experimental work in cell biology, microbiology and molecular biology and are used to culture both bacterial and eukaryotic cells. Temperature range 5°C to 60°C.

CAAST lab for Biochemical analysis of value added products

Under the project various value added products are made from coconut inflorescence palm which is rich in minerals and vitamins. For analysis of nutritional quality of these various products like neera, jaggery, jiggery-halwa, neera pudding, cookies etc , a biochemical lab is functioning under Coconut Mission with advanced equipment like Inductively Coupled Plasma Analyser (ICP).

Commercial Neera Processing Demonstration Plant

Under the NAHEP- CAAST project a commercial neera processing unit is established for training and demonstration for FPOs after technology transfer. The machinery include walk-in cold room facility, large containers for neera collection, sieving, mixing and pH stabilisation, clarifier, carbonation& bottling unit and labelling unit. For additional products from neera, such as sugar and jaggery preparation an electric concentrator and for neera sip-up, automatic filling machine were also included.

Fuel Briquette making plant form Coconut Biomass 

According to the Waste-to-wealth concept, for utilising  the biomass waste generated from coconut palm, a fuel briquette making plant was established. The fuel briquettes can be utilised in processing units, hotels etc where large boilers are required. The machinery include a biomass crusher and shredder, and 75KVA briquetting machine.


Around 50,000 numbers of  hybrid coconut seedlings of variety Kera Ganga, Kerasree and T x COD are produced by artificial pollination of elite West Coast Tall (WCT) mother palms identified in farmers field by trained pollination workers every year for distribution to farmers under Coconut Development Council scheme of state Government.


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Padannakkad (P.O),
Kasaragod Dt. Kerala 671314