Dr. Samir C. Debnath, P.Ag.

Image Samir C. Debnath
Research Scientist

Plant Propagation, Biotechnology, Biodiversity and Germplasm Improvement

Current research and/or projects

1. Innovative techniques for screening, propagation and utilization of wild berry crops for sustainable northern agriculture

2. Tissue culture techniques for the rapid multiplication, selection and improvement of blueberry plants 

3. Understanding Indigenous food systems and revitalizing key Indigenous food plants in Interior and Coastal regions of British Columbia

4. Lingonberry from the Prairies: Enhancing the sustainable development of lingonberry with health benefits

5. Blueberry development program: evaluation and selection under field condition

Research and/or project statements

The aim of research is to develop and improve in vitro and molecular technologies for propagation and characterization of northern berry crops, in broad and multi-disciplinary areas which diversify and add value to rural economies in northern summer regions of Canada at national and international levels. Research includes (i) new areas of berry micropropagation (somatic embryogenesis, stationary bioreactor) and molecular studies (DNA methylation, fingerprinting) leading to the development of new propagation techniques, (ii) to generate knowledge on clonal fidelity and epigenetics to support the berry industry in Canada and abroad and (iii) to characterize and utilize the wild berry germplasm for propagation, conservation, selection, property rights protection and genetic enhancement.

Professional activities / interests

Editor-in-Chief (IAPB), In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Plant

Editor-in-Chief, Scientia Horticulturae (2013 - 2016).

Panel Chair of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Peer Review process for the NP 301 Panel 7B; Berries (2018) of the USDA, ARS 301 Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics & Genetic Improvement National Program 2017-18 (Cb-1.21). 

Special Issue Editor (Guest Editor) of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395).

Academic Editor and Editorial Board Members - Agronomy (MDPI), 2017 to present (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/agronomy/editors).

Academic Editor and Editorial Board Members - Diversity (MDPI), 2009 to present (http://www.mdpi.com/journal/diversity/editors/).

President – Canadian Society for Horticultural Science (CSHS) – (2011 – 2016).

Registrar - Newfoundland and Labrador Institute of Agrologists (NLIA) – (2010- present).

Conference Co-Chair - 12th International Vaccinium Symposium,  Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 2021.

Adjunct Professors and co-supervision of Ph.D. student - Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Amity University, Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, Gautam Budha Nagar, India.

Adjunct Professor and co-supervision of Ph.D. students - Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

Education and awards

Postdoc. Fed. Biol. Res. Centre, Germany 1985-1986

Postdoc. Nottingham University, U.K.

Ph.D. Indian Agric. Res. Institute, New Delhi 1982

M.Sc. Bangladesh Agric. University, Mymensingh 1974

B.Sc.Ag. (Hons.) Bangladesh Agric. University, Mymensingh 1973

Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC) Award 2014

International experience and/or work

Collaborative research with colleagues in many countries including Norway, United States, India, Korea and Bangladesh.

Key publications

  1. Sikdar, A., Igamberdiev, A.U. and Debnath, S.C. (2021). “Genomic methylation levels appear adverse effect on total phenolic content between in vitro and greenhouse grown lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea).”, Tri-Society Virtual Conference: Innovation in Plant Science and Agricultural Resilence, July 5-9, 2021.

    2021 - View publication details

  2. Sikdar, A., Igamberdiev, A.U. and Debnath, S.C. (2021). “DNA methylation in micropropagated lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea).”, 13th Annual Biology Graduate Student Symposium, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL, April 21 and 22, 2021; p. 29.

    2021 - View publication details

  3. Sharma, U., Igamberdiev, A.U. and Debnath, S.C. (2020). “In-vitro propagation techniques in lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.).”, Proceedings of 1st Canadian Society for Horticultural Science Online Graduate Student Conference, August 27, 2020, Online, Oral Presentation. P. 44. Abstract.

    2020 - View publication details

  4. Debnath, S.C., Arigundam, U. (2020). In vitro propagation strategies of medicinally important berry crop, lingonberry (vaccinium vitis-idaea l.). Agronomy, [online] 10(5), http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10050744

    2020 - View publication details

  5. Madduma Hewage, S., Prashar, S., Debnath, S.C., Karmin, O., Siow, Y.L. (2020). Inhibition of Inflammatory Cytokine Expression Prevents High-Fat Diet-Induced Kidney Injury: Role of Lingonberry Supplementation. Frontiers in Medicine, [online] 7 http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2020.00080

    2020 - View publication details

  6. Debnath, S.C., Goyali, J.C. (2020). In vitro propagation and variation of antioxidant properties in micropropagated vaccinium berry plants—A review. Molecules, [online] 25(4), http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules25040788

    2020 - View publication details

  7. Siow, Y.L., Isaak, C.K., Madduma Hewage, S., Prashar, S., Debnath, S., and O, K. (2019) Renal protection by lingonberry supplementation. FASEB Science Research Conference: The Acute Kidney Injury Conference: From Bench to Bedside (and Back Again). July 21-25, 2019 Pacific Grove, CA, USA.

    2019 - View publication details

  8. Debnath, S.C., An, D. (2019). Antioxidant properties and structured biodiversity in a diverse set of wild cranberry clones. Heliyon, [online] 5(4), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01493

    2019 - View publication details

  9. Ghosh, A., Igamberdiev, A.U., Debnath, S.C. (2018). Thidiazuron-induced somatic embryogenesis and changes of antioxidant properties in tissue cultures of half-high blueberry plants. Scientific Reports, [online] 8(1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-35233-6

    2018 - View publication details

  10. Siow, Y.L. and Debnath, S.C. (2018). "Lingonberry Juice May Help Kidneys Heal - Weekly Science Story, Sep 12, 2018; circulated by Dr. Brian Gray, Assistant Deputy Minister, STB and Dr. Gilles Saindon, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, STB, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada."

    2018 - View publication details

  11. Debnath, S.C. (2018). “Thidiazuron in micropropagation of small fruits.”, in Ahmad, N, and Faisal, M. (eds.) - Thidiazuron: From urea derivative to plant growth regulator, Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd., Singapore, pp. 139-158 (https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-8004-3_6).

    2018 - View publication details

  12. Goyali, J.C., Igamberdiev, A.U., Debnath, S.C. (2018). DNA methylation in lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) propagated by softwood cutting and tissue culture. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, [online] 98(5), 1035-1044. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjps-2017-0297

    2018 - View publication details

  13. Ghosh, A., Igamberdiev, A.U. and Debnath, S.C. (2018). Phenolic/flavonoid content and antioxidant activity during somatic embryogenesis of highbush and lowbush blueberry plants. In Vitro Cell. Develop. Biol. - Plant 54 (Suppl 1):S1; https://doi.org/10.1007/s11627-018-9927-9; 2018 Int. Assoc. Plant Biotechnol. Congr. Abst. Issue, O-109; S51; Abstract; http://iapb2018.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/IAPB2018-Book-of-Abstracts.pdf.

    2018 - View publication details

  14. Debnath, S.C. (2018). In vitro and molecular approaches combined with conventional methods to improve small fruit crops. In Vitro Cell. Develop. Biol. - Plant 54 (Suppl 1):S1; https://doi.org/10.1007/s11627-018-9927-9; 2018 Int. Assoc. Plant Biotechnol. Congr. Abst. Issue, O-20; S86; Abstract; http://iapb2018.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/IAPB2018-Book-of-Abstracts.pdf.

    2018 - View publication details

  15. Tailor, S., Bykova, N.V., Igamberdiev, A.U., Debnath, S.C. (2017). Structural pattern and genetic diversity in blueberry (Vaccinium) clones and cultivars using EST-PCR and microsatellite markers. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, [online] 64(8), 2071-2082. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10722-017-0497-1

    2017 - View publication details

  16. Siow Y.L., Isaak C.K., Prashar S., Stebbing J., Madduma Hewage S., Debnath S., and O K. (2017) Berries for your renal health. 2017 International Tropical Agriculture Conference. November 20-22, 2017 Brisbane, Australia, Abstract 179, Symposium Chair and Invited Talk.

    2017 - View publication details

  17. Ghosh, A., Igamberdiev, A.U., Debnath, S.C. (2017). Detection of DNA methylation pattern in thidiazuron-induced blueberry callus using methylation-sensitive amplification polymorphism. Biologia Plantarum, [online] 61(3), 511-519. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10535-016-0678-3

    2017 - View publication details

  18. Isaak, C.K., Wang, P., Prashar, S., Karmin, O., Brown, D.C.W., Debnath, S.C., Siow, Y.L. (2017). Supplementing diet with Manitoba lingonberry juice reduces kidney ischemia-reperfusion injury. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, [online] 97(9), 3065-3076. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.8200

    2017 - View publication details

  19. Debnath, S.C. (2017). Temporary immersion and stationary bioreactors for mass propagation of true-to-type highbush, half-high, and hybrid blueberries (Vaccinium spp.). Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, [online] 92(1), 72-80. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14620316.2016.1224606

    2017 - View publication details

  20. Debnath, S.C. (2016). "Genetic Diversity and Erosion in Berries.", in Ahuja, M.R. and Jain, S.M. (eds.) - Genetic Diversity and Erosion in Plants, Case histories, Volume 2, Springer, pp. 75-129.

    2016 - View publication details

Research facility

308 Brookfield Road, BLDG 25
St. John's, NL A1E 6J5


1. International Association for Plant Biotechnology.

2. International Society for Horticultural Science.                                                             

3. Canadian Society for Horticultural Science.                                                                               

4. American Society for Horticultural Science.

5. Newfoundland and Labrador Institute of Agrologists.