Dipak Santra

Dipak Santra


Area of Expertise: Plant Breeding and Genetics

B.S. Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya (India), 1989

M.S. Assam Agricultural University (India), 1992

Ph.D. University of Pune (India) and Washington State University (U.S.), 1999

Area of Focus

Crop Breeding and Genetics

Research Interests

I am the alternative crops breeder at the University of Nebraska. Cultivar and germplasm development of exiting alternative crops and developing new crops for semi-arid High Plains of the USA are the main goals of the program. Crops with major emphasis are proso millet, pea, fenugreek, winter canola, sunflower, and camelina. Crops with minor emphasis are ancient grains crops such as tef, amaranth, Einkorn wheat, durum wheat and spelt.

Proso millet cultivar development is primarily by conventional breeding. Target traits are high grain yield, grain quality for multiple purposes (bird feed and human food), lodging and shattering tolerance, and suitable for direct harvest. Winter canola breeding is in collaboration with Kansas State University to identify superior lines for western Nebraska. Winter hardiness, seed yield, and oil percentage are major criteria in selection. For pea and sunflower, I am testing commercially available cultivars and selecting the best performing cultivars for Nebraska. My pea breeding is at beginning stage. It involves field evaluation of pea germplasm to identify genotypes with specific traits needed for Nebraska (e.g. resistance to bacterial blight complex, lodging, and pod shattering). For fenugreek and camelina, and ancient grain crops, I identify adapted and high yielding genotypes based on field evaluation of germplasm from USDA-ARS and release as cultivar and/or use as parent in crossing.

Extension Interests

Extension goal is to support Nebraska dryland crop producers with multiple choices of alternative crops to diversify crop rotation. Extension program deliverables are field days, extension meeting and extension publications such as NebGuide, CropWatch, Newspaper, and online articles focusing on cultivars and production technology of alternative crops.

Other Interests

Interested in international agriculture and helping humankind in developing and developed countries. Can speak multiple languages of Indian sub-continent.

Professional Affiliations

  • Crop Science Society of America
  • Agronomy Society of America
  • American Association of Advancement of Science
  • Official reviewer Theoretical and Applied Genetics


  • Santra D. K., R. Heyduck, D. D. Baltensperger, R. A. Graybosch, L. A. Nelson, G. Frickel, and E. Nielsen 2015. Registration of ‘Plateau’ waxy (amylose-free) proso millet. J Plant Registrations. 9: 41-43.
  • Stamm M., G. Cramer, S. Dooley, J. Holman, D. Phillips, C. Rife, and D. K. Santra 2015. Registration of ‘Griffin’ Winter Canola. J. Plant Registrations 9: 144-148.
  • Stamm M., D. Auld, A. Barraza, J. Buck, P. Cabot, M. Clausen, C. Godey, W. Her, J. Holman, J. Johnson, R. Kochenower, J. Krall, M. K. O’Neill, C. Pearson, C. Rife, D. K. Santra, J. Sij, W. Spradlin, D. Starner, and W. Wiebold (2012). Registration of ‘Riley’ Winter Canola. J. Plant Registrations 6(1): 1-3.
Book Chapters
  • Dwivedi S, Upadhaya H, Senthilvel S, Hash C, Fukunaga K, Diao X, Santra D.K., Baltensperger D, and Prasad M (2012) Millets: genetic and genomic resources. In: Janick J (ed), Plant Breeding Reviews. Vol. 35 First Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., USA, pp 247-375.
  • Santra D.K. and R. Schoenlechner (2016). Sustainability, processing, and application of amaranth. In: Nadathur S., Wanasundara J. and L. Scanlin (ed), Sustainable Protein Sources, 1st Edition. Elsevier, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., USA, pp 257-264. Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Journal Articles
  • Gulati, P., Li, P. A., Holding, D., Santra, D. K., Zhang, Y., Rose, D. Heating reduces proso millet protein digestibility via formation of hydrophobic aggregates. Heating reduces proso millet protein digestibility via formation of hydrophobic aggregates. Journal of Ag. & Food Chem (in press)
  • Romero, H. A., Santra, D.K., Rose, D., Zhang, Y. The dough rheological properties and texture of gluten-free pasta based on proso millet flour. The dough rheological properties and texture of gluten-free pasta based on proso millet flour. Cereal Chemistry (in press).
  • Bhatta M., M., K. M. Eskridge, D. J. Rose, D. K. Santra, P. S. Baenziger, T. Regassa (2017). Seeding rate, genotype, and top-dressed nitrogen effects on yield and agronomic characteristics of winter wheat. Crop Sci. 57:1-13. (doi: 10.2135/cropsci2016.02.0103, posted 11/16/2016)
  • Pavlista A.D. and D. K. Santra (2016). Interaction of planting and harvest dates, and irrigation on fenugreek in the semi-arid High Plains of the USA. Industrial Crops and Products 94: 65-71.
  • Rajput S., and D. K. Santra (2016). Evaluation of genetic diversity of proso millet (Panicum miliaceum L.) germplasm available in the USA using SSR markers. Crop Sci. 56. 1-9.
  • Rajput, S., D. K. Santra, J. Schnable (2016). Mapping QTLs for morpho-agronomic traits in proso millet (Panicum miliaceum L.). Mol Breeding. 36: 37.
  • Paridhi G., S. A. Weier, D. K. Santra, J. Subbiah, and D. Rose (2015). Effects of feed moisture and extruder screw speed and temperature on physical characteristics and antioxidant activity of extruded proso millet (Panicum miliaceum) flour. Int. J. Food Sci. and Tech. doi:10.1111/ijfs.12974
  • Pavlista, A., Baltensperger, D., Santra, D., Hergert, G. W., Knox, S. (2014). Gibberellic acid promotes early growth of winter wheat and rye. American J. Plant Sci. 5:2984-2996.
  • Rajput S., T. Plyler-Harveson, and D.K. Santra (2014): Development and characterization of SSR markers in proso millet (Panicum milliaceum L.) based switch grass genomics. American J. Plant Sci. 5:175-186.
  • Rose, D.J. and D. K. Santra (2013). Proso millet (Panicum miliaceum) starch fermentation for fuel ethanol production. Industrial Crops and Products. 43:602-605.
  • Khound R., M. Santra, P. S. Baenziger and D. K. Santra (2013). Effect of Cold-mediated Pretreatment on Microspore Culture in Spring and Winter Wheat. American J. Plant Sci. 4:2259-2264.
  • Pavlista A. D., D. K. Santra and D. D. Baltensperger (2013): Bioassay of Winter Wheat for Gibberellic Acid Sensitivity. American J. Plant Sci. 4:2015-2022.
  • Pavlista A.D., G.W. Hergert, J. Schild, and D.K. Santra (2013). Gibberellic acid improvement of direct harvest of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cultivars Poncho and Matterhorn. HortTechnology. 23:282-287.
  • Pavlista A.P., D. K. Santra, J.A. Schild, and G.H. Hergert (2012). Gibberellic Acid Sensitivity among Common Bean Cultivars (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). HORTSCIENCE 47(5):637–642. 2012.
  • Carter A.H., D.K. Santra, K.K. Kidwell (2012). Assessment of the effects of the Gpc-B1 allele on senescence rate, grain protein concentration and micronutrient content in hard red spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) from the Pacific Northwest Region of the U.S.A. Plant Breeding (doi:10.1111/j.1439-0523.2011.01900.x)
  • Santra M., N. Ankrah, D. K. Santra and K. K. Kidwell (2012). An Improved Wheat Microspore Culture Technique for the Production of Doubled Haploid Plants. Crop Science. 52:1-7.
  • Harveson, R., D.K. Santra, A.D. Pavlista, M.L. Putnam, and M. Curtis (2011). A New Report of Camelina Downy Mildew in the High Plains of the United States. Plant Health Progress (doi:10.1094/PHP-2011-1014-01-BR).
  • Baenziger P.S., I. Salah, R. C. Little, D. K. Santra, T. Regassa, M. Y. Wang (2011) Structuring an Efficient Organic Wheat Breeding Program. Sustainability 3:1190-1205.
  • Pavlista, A.D., D.K. Santra, T. Isbell, D.D. Baltensperger, G. H. Hergert, J. Krall, A. Mesbach, J. Johnson, M. O'Neil, R. Aiken, and A. Berrada (2011). Adaptability of Irrigated Spring Canola Oil Production to the US High Plains. Industrial Crops and Products 33:165-169.
  • Santra D. K., M. Santra, R.E. Allan, K.G. Campbell, and K.K. Kidwell. 2009. Vrn-1 allele composition of spring wheat germplasm from the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. based on genetic segregation and DNA marker analyses. Plant Breeding 128:576-584.
  • Murphy L. R., D. K. Santra, K. K. Kidwell, G. P. Yan, X. M. Chen, and K. G. Campbell. 2009. Linkage maps of wheat stripe rust resistance genes Yr5 and Yr15 for use in marker assisted selection. Crop Science 49:1786-1790.
  • Santra D. K., M. Santra, X. Chen, K.G. Campbell, and K.K. Kidwell. 2008. Mapping QTL for high temperature, adult plant resistance to stripe rusts in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Theoretical and Applied Genetics 117:793-802.
  • Leonard, J., C. Watson, A. Carter, J. Hansen, R. Zemetra, D. K. Santra, K. Campbell, and O. Riera-Lizarazu. 2007. Identification of a candidate gene for the wheat endopeptidase Ep-D1 locus and two other STS markers linked to the eyespot resistance gene Pch1. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 116:261-270.
  • Santra D.K., C. Watt, L. Little, K.K. Kidwell and K.G. Campbell. 2006. Comparison of a modified assay method for the endopeptidase marker Ep-D1b with the STS marker XustSSR2001-7DL for strawbreaker foot rot resistance in wheat. Plant Breeding 125:13-18.
  • Santra M., D.K. Santra, V.S. Rao, S.P. Taware and S.A. Tamhankar. 2005. Inheritance of ß-carotene concentration in durum wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. durum). Euphytica 144:215-221.
  • Bhattacharyya M.K., N.N. Narayanan, H. Gao, D.K. Santra, S.S. Salimath, T. Kasuga, Y. Liu, B. Espinosa, L. Ellison, L. Marek, R. Shoemaker, M. Gijzen and R.I. Buzzell. 2005. Identification of a large cluster of coiled coil-nucleotide binding site–leucine rich repeat-type genes from the Rps1 region containing Phytophthora resistance genes in soybean. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 111:75–86.
  • Barve M.P., D.K. Santra, P.K. Ranjekar and V.S. Gupta 2004. Genetic diversity analysis of a worldwide collection of Ascochyta rabiei isolates using sequence tagged micro satellite markers. World J. of Microbiology and Biotechnology. 20:735-741.
  • Ammiraju J.S.S., B.B. Dholakia, G. Jawedkar, D.K. Santra, M.S. Roder, H. Singh, M.D. Lagu, H.S. Dhaliwal, V.S. Rao, P.K. Ranjekar and V.S. Gupta. 2004. Identification of chromosomal regions governing grain shape and size in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). J. Genetics & Breeding 58:91-100.
  • Santra D. K., D. Sandhu, T. Tai and M. K. Bhattacharyya. 2003. Construction and characterization of a soybean yeast artificial chromosome library and identification of clones for Rps6 region. Functional and Integrative Genomics. 3:153-159.
  • Hüttel B., D.K. Santra, F.J. Muehlbauer and G. Kahl. 2002. Resistance gene analogues of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L): Isolation, genetic mapping and association with Fusarium resistance gene cluster. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 105:479-490.
  • Ammiraju J.S.S., B.B. Dholakia, G. Jawdekar, D.K. Santra, V.S. Gupta, M.S. Röder, H. Singh, M.D. Lagu, H.S. Dhaliwal, V.S. Rao, and P.K. Ranjekar. 2002. Inheritance and identification of DNA markers associated with yellow berry tolerance in wheat (Triticum aestivum L). Euphytica 123:229-233.
  • Ammiraju J.S.S., B.B. Dholakia, D.K. Santra, H. Singh, M.D. Lagu, S.A. Tamhankar, H.S. Dhaliwal, V.S. Rao, V.S. Gupta and P.K. Ranjekar. 2001. Identification of inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers associated with seed size in wheat Theoretical and Applied Genetics 102:726-732.
  • Galande A., H. Singh, M.D. Lagu, D.K. Santra, V.S. Gupta, H.S. Dhaliwal and P.K. Ranjekar. 2001. PCR based DNA markers for bread making quality in hexaploid wheat. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 103:601-606.
  • Dholakia B.B, J.S.S. Ammiraju, D. K. Santra, H. Singh, M.V. Katti, M.D. Lagu, S.A. Tamhankar, V.S. Rao, V.S. Gupta, H.S. Dhaliwal and P.K. Ranjekar. 2001. Molecular marker analysis of protein content using PCR based markers in wheat. Biochemical Genetics 39:325-338.
  • Winter P., A.M. Benko-Iseppon, B. Hüttel, M.B. Ratnaparkhe, A. Tullu, G. Sonnante, T. Pfaff, M. Tekeoglu, D.K. Santra, V.J. Sant, P.N. Rajesh, G. Kahl, F.J. Muehlbauer. 2000. A linkage map of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) genome based on recombinant inbred lines from C. arietinum x C. reticulatum cross: Localization of resistance genes for fusarium wilt races 4 and 5. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 101:1155-1163.
  • Santra D.K., M. Tekeoglu, M.B. Ratnaparkhe, W.J. Kaiser and F.J. Muehlbauer. 2000. Identification and mapping QTL conferring resistance to ascochyta blight in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). Crop Science 40:1606-1612.
  • Santra D.K., G. Singh, W.J. Kaiser, V.S. Gupta, P.K. Ranjekar, and F.J. Muehlbauer. 2000. Molecular analysis of Ascochyta rabiei (Pass.) Labr., the pathogen of ascochyta blight in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). Theoretical and Applied Genetics 102:676-682.
  • Tekeoglu M., D.K. Santra, W.J.Kaiser, and F.J. Muehlbauer. 2000. Inheritance of ascochyta blight resistance in three recombinant inbred line populations of chickpea. Crop Science 40:1251-1256.
  • Santra D.K., R. Borah, P. Sen and P.C. Deka 2000. Accumulation of storage proteins in developing grains of high and medium protein rice varieties and their characterization. Oryza 37:198-201.
  • Ratnaparkhe M.B., D.K. Santra, A. Tullu and F.J. Muehlbauer. 1998. Inheritance of inter-simple sequence repeat polymorphism and their linkage with fusarium wilt resistance gene in chickpea. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 96:348-353.
Extension Articles
  • Grosopf J., C.C. Creech, G. H. Hergert, M. Luebbe, D. K. Santra, and M. Stephenson, G. Stone. (2017). Agriculture in Nebraska Panhandle. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Circular EC864.
  • Hergert G. and D. K. Santra. 2015. Fertilizing proso millet. University of Nebraska-Lincoln NebGuide G1945
  • Santra D.K. (2013): Proso millet varieties for western Nebraska. University of Nebraska-Lincoln NebGuide G2219
  • Santra D.K. and D. Rose (2013): Alternative uses of proso millet. University of Nebraska-Lincoln NebGuide G2218.
  • Pavlista A.D., and D. K. Santra (2013): Planting winter wheat in dry soil. University of Nebraska-Lincoln NebGuide G2211.
  • Little R.R.S., T. Regassa, T. M. Hansen, D.K. Santra, S. Wegulo, P. S. Baenziger (2013): Selecting Winter Wheat Cultivars for Organic Production. University of Nebraska-Lincoln NebGuide G2206
  • Yonts, C.D., D.J. Lyon, J.A. Smith, R.M. Harveson, G.W. Hergert, G.L. Hein, and D.K. Santra. (2010) Producing Irrigated Winter Wheat. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Circular EC731
  • Hergert G. and D. K. Santra. 2009. Fertilizing proso millet. University of Nebraska-Lincoln NebGuide G1945