Palynology finds applications in various fields. Some of them are taxonomy, plant evolution, plant breeding programmes, biotechnology, microbiology of water, soil and air, the pharmaceutical industry, cosmetic industry, energy food industry, forensic science, aerobiology, allergy, epidemiology, meteorology, fossil fuel exploration and biodiversity.
On account of the above-mentioned applications, palynology has gained a lot of importance and is attracting different scientific disciplines. Published literature on the above aspects is widely scattered. Moreover undergraduate and postgraduate students are deprived of having 'One window system in palynology' in other words a textbook giving both the fundamental and applied information on pollen studies.
In view of the above, it is expected that the present comprehensive book on pollen studies and their applications will be useful to graduate, postgraduate and research students, and scientists in various industries in different countries. The book is also intended to serve as a source of reference to scientists in the various disciplines mentioned above. In order to accommodate both fundamental (basic) and applied aspects of pollen studies, and for easy understanding of the subject matter, the book is profusely illustrated.
Similar to other plant parts, pollen characters are so varied that the classification system of plants can be built up entirely on the basis of pollen morphology. An excellent and thought provoking book 'Pollen Grains' , their structure, identifications and significance in science and medicine published by R.P. Wodehouse in 1935 and reprinted in 1965, has been the main source of our inspiration to undertake this task of writing a comprehensive book concentrating on two important aspects: basic and applied. Several books and publications are available on the most basic aspects of pollen; however, applications of pollen though thoroughly exploited have not been compiled. Hence, the sole purpose of writing this book is to cover all aspects of pollen studies where our focus is always on undergraduate and postgraduate students. It is intended to inspire them to understand basic and applied aspects of pollen studies. Once they are exposed to these fascinating facts they can pursue any particular aspect for more detailed investigation.
The book will be also a good source of basic and applied information on pollen, which can be further exploited by researchers in various fields. It is up to user agencies to make use of the data in this book for exploiting respective fields. Pollen is aptly referred by some as GOLDEN DUST, extremely valuable on account of the golden yellow colour and their tremendous applications in science, industry and public health. No other plant part, even though extremely tiny in size is packed with so much information and power. It appears that honey bees, had realized the importance and utility of pollen earlier than man.
Any amount of written description will not be able to explain certain aspects of pollen which can be easily understood by illustrations. In view of this, the book is profusely illustrated with the primary intention of the students' proper understanding of structure, function and applications of pollen. The illustrations have been redrawn and modified in some cases from various existing publications. We are thankful to different sources for illustrations, which have been mentioned in the text wherever possible. We are especially grateful to Dr. T. S. Nayar, Dr. Cherian Panicker, Dr. K. Govind , Dr. B. E. Rangaswamy and Dr. M. P. Vidya for providing LM and SEM photomicrographs of some pollen and fungal spores. The senior author's wife Dr. Nirmala and daughter Sandhya were a great support and strength to us for initiating and completing this project besides preparing a number of illustrations and helping us in many ways in preparing the manuscript for this book.
Mr. B. R. Ramamurthy, the artist has redrawn many illustrations used in this book for which we are thankful. Data for compilation of some chapters were generated by the senior author during the Department of Science and Technology (D.S.T.) assisted project hence D.S.T.'s encouragement is thankfully acknowledged.
We are also thankful to the officials of Bangalore University, the Vice Chancellor, Registrar and Finance Officer , former colleagues and the Head of the Department of Botany, Bangalore University for providing the infrastructure and other facilities required for this project. There are so many scientists, botanists, clinicians and palynologists whose constant encouragement and interaction have helped us in completing this work. We thank all of them.
Several aerobiology research students of the senior author such as Drs. K. Manjunath, P. Sudha, Shashi Bala Sharma, K. V. Nagalakshamma, Meenakshi Chatterjee, Jacob Abraham, Soucenadin, Abdul Elfadil, Elizabeth Philip, H. S. Anuradha, M. P. Vidya, Binni, Mamlakatoi Hyderova, B. Pramila, have generated a lot of data which have gone into this book for which their efforts are thankfully acknowledged.
Grateful acknowledgements and thanks are due to the following persons for their encouragement, support and the provision of facilities for the work of the Scottish Centre for Pollen Studies, Napier University, Edinburgh, Professor Charles Bryce, Head of the School of Life Sciences, Miss Marina Mocogni and Mrs. Kim Kellet, Senior Technicians in the Biology and Biochemistry Sections respectively, and to David Caulton, son of Dr. Eric Caulton, Coauthor of this book, for his help with communications and advice throughout.
If postgraduate students for whom this book is primarily written, benefit from the palynological information incorporated, we will be really satisfied with our efforts.
Family members of Professor Shripad N. Agashe, wife Dr. Nirmala, daughters Sandhya and Swapna, Helen Caulton, wife of Dr. Eric Caulton and their son David Caulton have been directly or indirectly responsible for initiating and completing this book and to whom it is dedicated.
Bangalore, India Shripad N. Agashe
Edinburgh, United Kingdom, September 2008 Eric Caulton
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