Collaborative and Consultation Division

About the division

This Division established in 2009 to function as an instrument for collaborative research and to transfer scientific knowledge and technologies developed at the NIFS to the society at large. Although the NIFS has an excellent record with respect to research publications, its impact on national development had been very low. His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka as the Chairman of its Board of Management has therefore suggested that the NIFS should develop a mechanism for knowledge and technology transfer. The CCD chaired by the Director and facilitated by a Coordinator, will promote, regularize and monitor collaboration of NIFS projects with outside organizations including the private sector and encourage NIFS scientists to engage in productive consultations. Only projects of National importance and those having an impact on National Development would be entertained. Any interested parties for collaboration and Consultation, i.e. Universities, Research Institutes, NGOs & CBOs registered in Sri Lanka, Corporate & Private sector organizations, should contact The Director, NIFS for further details.

Current Research Collaborations

Biomass and carbon sequestration in the natural forests of the dry zone.

Collaborating institutions:
Mr. A. Sathurusinghe, Deputy Conservator, Dept. of Forestry, Battaramulla.
Prof. W.A.J.M. de Costa, Dr. T. Sivanantheverl, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya

Developing a risk map for dengue incidence in Mawanella

Collaborating institutions:
Dr. Jagath Gunatilake, University of Peradeniya
Dr. Abdul Haji, Medical Officer in Health, Mawanella Hospital, Mawanella

Heavy metal uptake and bio-adsorption by plants

Collaborating institutions:
Dr. S..S. Iqbal , Dept. of Chemistry, Open University of Sri Lanka, Nawala
Prof. Namal Priyantha, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Peradeniya

Rhizobium project: Achievement highlights during 2107

A noteworthy achievement for the project this year was a formal request by the Ministry of Agriculture to supply rhizobial inoculants for the program of the Department of Agriculture to launch their extended program of soybean cultivation in 2017. Our group participated on invitation at a meeting of the Ministry held on the 22 nd of February to discuss the proposed extension of soybean cultivation in Sri Lanka including the introduction of this crop to several new areas. At this meeting the Secretary to the Ministry while thanking our participation invited us to supply the entire requirement of rhizobial inoculants for this project confirming the confidence they have placed in our product.

This project was launched during the current Yala season and our inoculants were applied to field cultivations in the areas shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Soybean cultivation expansion program conducted by the Department of Agriculture Coordinator: Mr. A.M.B.N. Abeysinghe, Assistant Director Agriculture, Crop leader for Soybean & Maize, Department of Agriculture, Peradeniya.


Cultivated area



Extent (acres)

1. Ampara

  • Department of Provincial Agriculture, Ampara


  • Department of Agriculture, Interprovincial, Ampara




  • Department of Provincial Agriculture, Moneragala


  • Department of Agriculture, Interprovincial, Moneragala




3. Matale

  • Department of Provincial Agriculture, Matale



4. Anuradhapura

  • Department of Provincial Agriculture, Anuradhapura
  • Department of Agriculture, Interprovincial, Anuradhapura




5. Puttalum

  • Department of Provincial Agriculture, Puttalum



6. Vavuniya

  • Department of Provincial Agriculture, Vavuniya



7. Jaffna

  • Department of Provincial Agriculture, Jaffna



8. Dehiattakandiya

  • Mahawelli Authority, System C, Dehiattakandiya



9. Kandy

  • Department of Provincial Agriculture, Kandy



10. Moragaha Kanda

  • Mahawelli Authority, System G, Moragaha Kanda



11. Trincomalee

  • Department of Provincial Agriculture, Trincomalee


13. Polonnaruwa

  • Department of Agriculture, Interprovincial, Polonnaruwa


14. Hasalaka

  • Department of Agriculture, Interprovincial, Hasalaka


15. Galgamuwa

  • Department of Provincial Agriculture, Galgamuwa


16. Kurunegala





  • Department of Agrarian Service, Kurunagala

Agrarian services centers : Kumbukgatte,Kobeigane,Nathagane,Rajangane,
Boraluwawa,Aulegama,Rasnayakapura,                                                           Mahagirilla, Kotawehera,  Mahananneriya,
Galgamuwa,Ahatuwawa, Ibbagamuwa,
Nagollagama, Mahawa,Ambanpola,
Thambutta, Rambe, Moragollagama,
Malsiripura,Madahapola, Ganewatta,
Werawella,Tharama, Kumbalwannawa




17. Welikande

  • Department of Agrarian Service, Welikanda









It is evident from this Table that we had an extensive coverage for our inoculants and this project being launched by the Department of Agriculture (the organization mandated by the Government for crop production in Sri Lanka) greatly strengthened the authenticity of our product. The following photos illustrate the successful soybean cultivations in different locations field tested. While the cultivations as well as root nodulation due to inoculation were successful in many areas there were instances of crop failure particularly in the North Western Province (Kurunegala District) in areas affected by the severe drought. This drought damaged all the cultivated crops in these areas. Profuse nodulation was observed in well drained soils of Hasalaka and Ampara. According to our collaborators from the Department of Agriculture subsequent periodic rains have enabled recovery of the crop in certain drought affected locations and successful pod filling has been observed. It was reported that certain plants bore nearly 100 root nodules in certain areas in Hasalaka where this crop has been newly introduced. The Department is keen to continue collaborative research studies with us and an officer from the Field Crops Research Institute at Maha Illuppallema had a round of discussions to conduct a green house experiment during the Maha season to assess the ability of inoculants to overcome drought stress in soybean.

~ Prof. S.A. Kulasooriya ~

Rhizobiology of Fodder Legumes.

Initial studies on the isolation of rhizobia from the fodder legume white clover (Trifolium repens) grown at Ambewela Farms at Ambewela, their purification, preparation of inoculants and testing the effects of inoculation on nodulation and dry matter production in controlled field plot experiments have been carried out since 2013. A research paper based upon these results has been submitted to the Journal of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka. This paper entitled Pioneering studies on rhizobial inoculation of Trifolium repens L. in Sri Lanka has been accepted for publication after peer review (copy attached).

The present document is the 2nd progress report of this project submitted to Ambewela Farms (with a copy to the Director, NIFS).

Studies on Rhizobiology and Nitrogen fixation in clover at Ambewela Farms, Ambewela Progress Report 2: Period covered: January 2015- January 2017 As a follow up to the conclusions arrived at the last report, field trials commenced to work out the best schedule of inoculation for clover in comparison to urea application. These were done in three blocks having 2m x 3m field plots with 3 replicates per treatment (Fig 1). The three blocks were located taking the topography of the land into consideration. The treatments were: i) basal seed inoculation or urea application followed by liquid spray inoculation or urea application five days after each crop cut; ii) basal seed inoculation or urea application followed by similar treatments after every other crop cut and iii) basal seed inoculation or urea application followed by similar treatments after every two crop cuts. Within a few months this preliminary trial clearly showed that it is necessary to apply inoculants or add urea after each crop cut to sustain healthy growth of clover.

A more comprehensive comparative field trial was then conducted to investigate the best treatment schedule of inoculation and urea application to be adopted for large scale fertilization of clover cultivations. Nine treatments indicated in Tables 1 & 2 were given in 3 m x 3 m field plots in a randomized complete block

Fig: 1 Taking crop cuts from the different treatments.

After obtaining the ½ m2 crop cuts the entire plot was harvested and allowed to regenerate. Either liquid inoculation or urea application (depending on the treatment) was done 5 days after crop harvesting.

Table 1: Regeneration of white clover plants after crop harvest.


Rate of regeneration

 T1: N-fertilizer (basal + t.d.*)

T2: N-fertilizer (basal + t.d*. liquid inoculation)

T3: N-fertilizer (basal + no t.d*.)

T4: Seed inoculation (basal coir based + t.d*.   liquid inoculation)

T5: Seed inoculation (basal coir based + no t.d*.)

T6: Seed inoculation (basal liquid + t.d*. liquid inoculation)

T7: Seed inoculation (basal liquid + no t.d*.)

T8: No seed inoculation (t.d*. liquid inoculation)

T9: Control (no N-fertilizer + no inoculation)

 *top dress









mean values superscripted y the same letters are not  significantly different at 5 % probability   


The entire plot was harvested after crop cuts were taken and allowed to regenerate. Either urea fertilizer or rhizobial inoculants were applied 5 days after harvesting.

Table 2: Total dry matter production (total of all the crop cuts)



Mean Dry weight (g/m2)

% increase over control

T1: N-fertilizer (basal + t.d.*)

T2: N-fertilizer (basal + t.d*. liquid inoculation)

T3: N-fertilizer (basal + no t.d*.)

T4: Seed inoculation (basal coir based + t.d*.   liquid inoculation)

T5: Seed inoculation (basal coir based + no t.d*.)

T6: Seed inoculation (basal liquid + t.d*. liquid inoculation)

T7: Seed inoculation (basal liquid + no t.d*.)

 T8: No seed inoculation ( t.d*. liquid inoculation)

T9: Control (no N-fertilizer + no inoculation)

*t.d. : top dress with urea or liquid inoculants




















Three random crop cuts per plot were taken using a ½ m2 wooden frame. Nine such crop cuts were obtained during a period of 12 months. CV: 5.3%, MSD 79.1

It can be seen from both these Tables that best results were obtained for regeneration of harvested crops as well as total dry matter production of the nine crop cuts by basal seed inoculation followed by liquid inoculation after each crop cut and these were significantly higher than that of urea applications.

In the next series of field trials large scale application of inoculants was tested. In these trails clover seeds pre-coated with coir dust based inoculants were machine spread over 100 m2 field plots and these were sprayed with liquid inoculants 5 days after each crop harvest using knap sack sprayers. This treatment was compared with the traditional practice of urea applications. Empirical data obtained from crop cuts removed during three sampling stages are presented in Figs 2 & 3. These investigations clearly showed that inoculation could produce better crop growth over and above urea applications. Finally large scale inoculation was carried out in 8 to 9 acre field areas using farm machinery and they have given excellent results. Another interesting observation was that the same inoculants which produced spherical (globular) nodules in white cover (Trifolium repens) produced elongated (rod shaped) nodules in red clover (Trifolium pretense) (Figs 4 & 5).


Taking all these results into consideration it is recommended that Ambewela Farm should adopt applying rhizobium inoculants to their clover forage pasture lands instead of urea additions.

Illustrations: The following photos show the field activities conducted.

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