Balakrishnan Prithiviraj

Assistant Vice-President (Global Relations), Associate Professor/Plant Stress Physiology Research Chair

Phone: 902.893.6643
Mailing Address: 
Department of Plant, Food, and Environmental Sciences
Agricultural Campus
PO Box 550
Truro, NS, B2N 5E3

Personal: I grew up in India where I completed Ph.D. in Mycology and Plant Pathology at the Banaras Hindu University ( BHU is located in one of the oldest cities in India, Varanasi (Banaras). The history of the city dates back, at least, 3000 years! I then carried out post doctoral training at McGill University and Colorado State University. I arrived at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in 2005.

Research: I lead two research programs; 1. Molecular plant-microbe interaction – investigating the genetic basis of plant root-microbe interaction and 2. Plant biostimulants – discovery and mode of action of seaweed and microbial based plant biostimulants. Our research group was one of the first to investigate the molecular mechanism(s) of action of seaweed-based plant biostimulants. I extensively collaborate with industry. Some of the technologies we developed are now licensed by Agri-biotech companies. I have published more than 130 peer reviewed publications and supervised 15 Post-doctoral Fellows, 23 Graduate Students and 23 Undergraduate Students and Research Associates.

International: I believe a strong international partnership is central to solving global agricultural problems and to improve food and nutritional security. In my current role as Assistant Dean International, I oversee and support Faculty of Agriculture international engagement including international development projects, partnership with Universities and institutes around the globe and as well promote international student mobility. I was fortune to participate in several funded international research projects in Brazil, India and France. Besides, I maintain a productive research partnership with colleagues in the UK, Ireland, Japan, Australia, China, Philippines and USA. I have also hosted a number of international students from Brazil, China, France, Iraq, Sri Lanka and India in my lab.


  • BIOA 2005 Principles of Plant Pathology
  • BIOA 0101 Plant Pathology
  • ENVA 3004 Principles of Pest Management

Research Interests

  • Marine Bioproducts to Improve Plant, Animal and Human Health
  • Plant Biostimulants – Discovery and Molecular Mode of Action
  • Molecular Plant Root-Microbe Interaction
  • Plant Disease Management

Selected Publications

(Total Publications 134 - Total Citations - 7185; H-Index - 43 – Source Google Scholar, August 2020)

1.       Patel JS, Vinodkumar S, Gunupuru LR, Rathor PK, Prithiviraj B. (2020). Combined application of Ascophyllum nodosumextract and chitosan synergistically activates host-defense of peas against powdery mildew. BMC Plant Biology 20:113

2.       Kulshreshtha G,  Hincke MT, Prithiviraj B , Critchley AT (2020). A Review of the Varied Uses of Macroalgae as Dietary Supplements in Selected Poultry with Special Reference to Laying Hen and Broiler Chickens. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 8:536

3.       Mahmud MS, Zaman QU, Esau TJ, Chang YK, Price GW, Prithiviraj B. (2020).  Real-Time Detection of Strawberry Powdery Mildew Disease Using a Mobile Machine Vision System. Agronomy2020,10, 1027.

4.       Kulshreshtha G,  Critchley, AT, Rathgeber B,  MacIsaac J,  Stratton G, Banskota A, Hafting J, Prithiviraj B. (2020). Antimicrobial Effects of Selected, Cultivated RedSeaweeds and Their Components in Combinationwith Tetracycline, against Poultry PathogenSalmonellaEnteritidis. J. Mar. Sci. Eng.2020,8, 511.

5.       Abbey JA, Percival D, Asiedu S, Prithiviraj B, Schilder A (2020)  Management of Botrytis blossom blight in wild blueberries by biological control agents under field conditions. Crop Protection

6.       Sandepogu M, Shukla PS, Asideu S, Yurgel S, Prithiviraj B (2019) Combination ofAscophyllum nodosumExtract andHumic Acid Improve Early Growth and ReducesPost-Harvest Loss of Lettuce and Spinach. Agriculture 9, 240.

7.       Bajpai S , Shukla PS,  Adil M, Asideu S, Pruski K, Prithiviraj B (2019) First report of bacterial leaf blight of strawberry caused by Pantoea ananatis in Nova Scotia, Canada. Plant Disease

8.       Bajpai S , Shukla PS, Asideu S, Pruski K, Prithiviraj B A biostimulant preparation of brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum suppresses powdery mildew of strawberry. Plant Pathology Journal 35(5): 406-416

9.       Gunupuru LR, Patel JS, Sumarah MW, Renaud JB, Mantin EG, Prithiviraj B (2019) A plant biostimulant made from the marine brown algae Ascophyllum nodosum and chitosan reduce Fusarium head blight and mycotoxin contamination in wheat. PLoS ONE 14(9): e0220562

10.   Shukla PS, Mantin EG, Adil M,Bajpai S, Critchley AT and Prithiviraj B(2019) Ascophyllum nodosum-BasedBiostimulants: SustainableApplications in Agriculturefor the Stimulation of Plant Growth,Stress Tolerance, and DiseaseManagement.Front. Plant Sci. 10:655.

11.   Babgohari MZ, Critchley AT,  Norrie J,  Prithiviraj B (2019). Increased freezing stress tolerance of Nicotiana tabacum L. cv. Bright Yellow-2 cell cultures with the medium addition of Ascophyllum nodosum (L.) Le Jolis extract. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology – Plant (In Press).

12.   Mahmud Md. S, Zaman QU, Esau TJ, Price GW,  Prithiviraj B (2019). Development of an artificial cloud lighting condition system using machine vision for strawberry powdery mildew disease detection. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 158: 219–225.

13.   Percival D, Guo L, Harris LM, Schilder A, Prithiviraj B, Olson AR. 2018. Integration of laboratory sensitivity analysis into Monilinia blight management technologies for wild blueberry production. Acta Horticulturae 1180: 249-256.

14.   Shukla PS, Shotton K, Norman E, Niely W, Crictchley A and B. Prithiviraj (2017) Seaweed extract improve drought tolerance of soybean by regulating stress-response genes. AoB Plants 10(1).

15.   Ilangumaran I, Stratton G, Ravichandran S, Shukla PS, Potin P, Asiedu S and B. Prithiviraj (2017) Microbial degradation of lobster shells to extract chitin derivatives for plant disease management. Frontiers  in Microbiology 8.

16.   Kulshreshtha G, Rathgeber B, MacIsaac J, Boulianne S, Brigitte L, Stratton G, Thomas NA, Critchley AT, Hafting J and Balakrishnan Prithiviraj (2017) Feed supplementation with red seaweeds, Chondrus crispus and Sarcodiotheca gaudichaudii, reduce Salmonella Enteritidis in laying hens. Frotiers in Microbiology 8.

17.   Liu J, Kandasamy S, Zhang J, Kirby CW, Karakach T, Hafting J, Critchely A and B. Prithviraj. (2015) Prebiotic effects of diet supplemented with the cultivated red seaweed Chondrus crispus or with fructo-oligo-saccharide on host immunity, colonic microbiota and gut microbial metabolites. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 15:1

18.   Liu L, Hafting J, Critchley AT, Banskota AH and Prithiviraj B (2013). Chemical components of the cultivated red seaweed Chondrus crispus enhance immune response of Caenorhabditis elegans against Pseudomonas aeruginosa through pmk-1, daf-2/daf-16, and skn-1 pathways. Applied Environmental Microbiology 79:7343-7350 (Cover Feature).

19.   Ravichandran S, Stone SL, Benkel B, Prithiviraj B (2013). Purple Acid Phosphatase5 is required for maintaining basal resistance against Pseudomonas syringae in Arabidopsis. BMC Plant Biology 13:107.

20.   Nair P, Kandasamy S, Zhang J, Ji X , Kirby CW, Benkel B, Hodges MD, Critchley AT, Hiltz D, and Prithiviraj B (2012) Transcriptional and metabolomic analysis of Ascophyllum nodosum extract mediated freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana. BMC Genomics 13:643.

21.   Jithesh MN, Wally OSD, Manfield I, Critchley AT, Hiltz D, and Prithiviraj B (2012) Analysis of seaweed extract induced transcriptome leads to identification of a negative regulator of salt tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana. HortScience 47:704-709.

22.   Fan D, Hodges D M, JunZeng J,  Kirby CW,  Ji X, Locke SJ, Critchley AT, and Prithiviraj, B. (2011). Commercial extract of the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum enhances phenolic antioxidant content of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) which protects Caenorhabditis elegans against oxidative and thermal stress. Food Chemistry 124:195-202.

23.   Rayorath P, Benkel B, Hodges DM, Allan-Wojtas P, MacKinnon SL, Critchley AT, and Prithiviraj B. 2009. Lipophilic components of the brown seaweed, Ascophyllum nodosum, enhance freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana. Planta 230:135-147. (Cover feature)

Contributions to practical applications of knowledge - Patents

1.       Prithiviraj B. et al. (2011) Bioactive compounds of Ascophyllum nodosum and their use for alleviating salt-induced stress in plants. US patent (Filed April 1, 2009).

2.       Prithiviraj B, Smith DL, et al. (2011). Use of lipo-chitooligosaccharides for increasing phototsynthesis in plants and corresponding methods an compositions. Canadian Patent CA 2382614.

3.       Smith DL, Prithiviraj B et al. (2009) Methods of increasing photosynthesis in plants comprising an exposure thereof to lipochitooligosaccharides and compositions therefor. United States Patent US 7,637,980 B2.

4.       Prithiviraj B, Smith DL, et al. (2007) Composition for accelerating seed germination and plant growth. United States Patent US 6,979,664, European Patent EP01098567A1; Australian Patent AU04892499A1

5.       Smith DL, Prithiviraj B, Zhou X, Souleimanov A (2001) Use of lipo-chitooligosaccharides for increasing photosynthesis in plants and corresponding methods and compositions. WO00126465A1, CA 2382614, EP1554932.


Research Gate – Balakrishnan Prithiviraj

Google Scholar – Balarkishnan Prithiviraj