Dil Thavarajah

Associate Professor of Pulse Quality and Nutrition
Clemson University School of Health Faculty Research Scholar
Agricultural and Environmental Science Department, Plant and Environmental Sciences Department

Office: 113 BRC
Phone: 864-656-2607
Fax: 864-656-4960

Email: dthavar@clemson.edu
Personal Website: https://www.clemson.edu/cafls/organic-breeding/orei/index.html

 Educational Background

Ph.D Plant Physiology
University of Saskatchewan, Canada 2006

MSc Soil Sciecne
University of Saskatchewan, Canada 2002

BSc Soil Science
University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka 1996

 Courses Taught

1. HORT 4560: Vegetable Crops (Spring - odd years)
2. PES 4760: Global Food Security (Fall - odd years)


Dr. Thavarajah is currently leading Clemson University's pulse biofortification research program to combat malnutrition and obesity. Dil started the first USA Pulse Quality and Nutrition Laboratory at North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, in 2010. Before these positions, Dr. Thavarajah worked at the Canadian lentil biofortification program at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Dil is internationally recognized as a leader in lentil biofortification, especially for iron and selenium. Dil advises graduate and undergraduate students and serves as an honorary visiting lecturer, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, and an advisor to the ICARDA Lentil Biofortification program.

 Research Interests

Dr. Thavarajah has a broader interest in understanding the genetic biofortification of lentil, field pea, and chickpea to improve human nutrition. Global nutritional security is one of the primary focuses of this program. The goal is to develop nutritionally enhanced lentil and field pea cultivars for both organic and conventional cropping systems around the world. The nutritional targets are prebiotic carbohydrates, protein quality, minerals (Fe, Zn, and Se), folates, and carotenoids. My program is closely working with ICARDA – Morocco, USDA-ARS – Washington State University, and Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC). Dr. Thavarajah leads Clemson University Pulse Crop Quality and Nutrition, Organic Field Pea Nutritional Breeding programs.

Major Grants
1. AFRI-NIFA-OREI: Breeding biofortified field pea for organic systems
2. AFRI-NIFA Foundation: Genomics of lentil prebiotic carbohydrates
3. USDA-ARS-PHI: Improving the nutritional value of chickpea
4. The Good Food Institute: Organic field pea protein ingredients
5. USAID: Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement

 Extension and Outreach

"Tiger Gardens": healthy home gardens to combat malnutrition and obesity in SC, USA.
"Lunch Box" - http://newsstand.clemson.edu/clemson-students-promote-healthy-eating-with-lunchbox-garden/
"Farm to table: Meet 5 Tigers who are working to eliminate hunger, malnutrition and obesity"


†Denotes graduate student co-author. ‡Denotes corresponding senior author

1. Dil Thavarajah‡, Tristan Lawrence, Sarah Powers, Boone John, Nathan Johnson, Joshua Kay, Anurudha Bandaranayake, Emerson Shipe, Pushparajah Thavarajah, 2020. Genetic variation in the prebiotic carbohydrate and mineral composition of kale (Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala) adapted to an organic cropping system. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, JFCA-D-20-00211 - Accepted.

2. Sarah Powers†, Emily Mirsky, Anuruddha Bandaranayake, Pushparajah Thavarajah, Emerson Shipe, William Bridges, Dil Thavarajah‡ 2020. Field pea (Pisum sativum L.) shows genetic variation in phosphorus use efficiency in different P environments. Scientific Report, 10:18940. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-75804-0.

3. Shiv Kumar‡, Hasnae Choukri, Kamal Hejjaoui, Adil El Baouchi, Noureddine El Haddad, Abdelaziz Smouni, Fouad Maalouf, Dil Thavarajah‡, 2020. Heat and drought stress impact on phenology, grain yield, and nutritional quality of lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.)" to be considered for publication in Frontiers in Nutrition, section Nutrition and Food Science Technology – 596307 - Accepted.

4. Tony Reda†, Pushaparajah Thavarajah, Robert Polomski, William Bridges, Emerson Shipe, Dil Thavarajah, 2020. Reaching the Highest Shelf: An Organic Approach to Increasing the Nutritional Quality and Shelf Life of Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala). Plants, People, Planet, PPP-R-2020-00226.

5. Nathan Johnson†. Casey Johnson, Pushparajah Thavarajah, Shiv Kumar, Dil Thavarajah‡ 2020. Lentil prebiotic carbohydrates play a vital role in human and plant health. Plants, People, Planet. 00:1-10.

6. George Vandemark‡, Thavarajah, S*., Siva, N., Thavarajah, Dil‡. 2020. Genotype and environment effects on prebiotic carbohydrate concentrations in kabuli chickpea cultivars and breeding lines grown in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Frontiers in Plant Sciences. 11:112.

7. Sarita Pandey, Manish Roorkiwal, Dil Thavarajah, Hemalatha R, Rajeev Varshney‡ 2020. Genetic mechanisms of micronutrient acquisition and storage in legumes towards global nutritional security. Plant Biotechnology Journal, PBI-01142-2019.

8. Siva†, N., Thavarajah, P., Thavarajah Dil‡, 2020. Prebiotic carbohydrate concentrations of common bean and chickpea change during cooking, cooling, and reheating. Journal of Food Science doi:10.1111/1750-3841.15066.

9. Dil Thavarajah‡, Sarah Powers, Casey R. Johnson, George Vandermark, Pushparajah Thavarajah 2020. Pulse crop biofortification towards human health – target traits prebiotic carbohydrates, protein, and micronutrients. In: Biofortification of staple crops. Ed: Shiv Kumar, H.K.Dikshit, G.P.Mishra and Akanksha Singh. Springer Nature.

10. Sarah Powers, Dil Thavarajah‡ 2020. Field Pea (Pisum sativum L.): Potential for Nutritional Breeding In: Advances in Environmental Research. Volume 77: Chapter 6. Justin A. Daniels (Editor), Nova Science Publishers, Inc., NY, USA.

11. Dil Thavarajah‡, Casey R. Johnson, Tristan J. Lawrence, Michael Lake, Pushparajah Thavarajah, 2020. Kale (Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala) - a Nutritional “Powerhouse” Leafy Vegetable In: Agricultural Research Updates, Volume 31: Chapter 3, Prathamesh Gorawala and Srushti Mandhatri (Editors). Nova Science Publishers, Inc., NY, USA.


Pulses are Nutrition Rich and Affordable for the Poor
Students grow Tiger Gardens in quest to fight obesity in South Carolina
Going Organic
Lentils and pulse crops
Global Food Security Solutions Debate