ICAR-Central Institute for Arid Horticulture
Reserch Highlights

RESEARCH ACHIEVEMENTS

Crop Improvement:

  • Under National Field Repository of CIAH, Bikaner a total of 835 germplasms of different fruit crops and 1194 of vegetable crops have been collected and conserved. At Godhra, a total of 439 germplasm accessions of fruit crops and 136 of vegetable crops are being maintained.
  • Among 318 ber (Ziziphus mauritiana) genotypes, varieties Gola, Seb, Umran, Kaithali and Banarasi Karaka are performing well under hot arid climate.
  • Out of 154 genotypes of pomegranate (Punica granatum), Jalore Seedless (32 kg/tree), Ganesh (30 kg/tree), G-137 (29 kg/tree), P-23 (27 kg/tree) and P-26 (24 kg/tree) are better genotypes for yield and quality.
  • The varietal evaluation of aonla (Emblica officinalis) revealed that the NA-7 is a prolific bearer (51 kg/tree) followed by Chakaiya (34 kg/tree) and NA-6 (28 kg/tree).
  • Among nine bael (Aegle marmelos) genotypes, NB-5 and NB-9 have performed well under irrigated hot arid ecosystem. A five-year old budded plant of NB-5 yields about 40 fruits/ tree while NB-9 yields about 29 fruits/ tree.
  • The Institute has released 24 varieties of arid fruits and vegetable crops. The details are given in Table

Varieties released by CIAH

S.No.

Crop

Variety released

1.

Ber

i) Goma Kirti

ii) Thar Sevika

iii) Thar Bhubhraj

2.

Aonla

Goma Aishwarya

3.

Watermelon (Mateera)

i) AHW-19

ii) AHW-65

iii) Thar Manak

4.

Bottle gourd

Thar Samridhi

5.

Khejri

Thar Shobha

6.

Kachri

i) AHK-119

ii) AHK-200

7.

Snap melon

i) AHS-10

ii) AHS-82

8.

Kakri

(Kakdi)

i) AHC- 2

ii) AHC- 13

9.

Cluster bean

Goma Manjari

10.

Bael

Goma Yashi

11.

Jamun

Goma Priyanka

12.

Pomegranate

Goma Khatta

13.

Tamarind

Goma Prateek

14.

Cluster bean

Thar Bhadavi

15.

Sword bean

Thar Mahi

16.

Indian bean

i) Thar Kartiki

ii) Thar Maghi

Crop Production:

  • Propagation techniques have been standardized in aonla, bael, ber, chironji, jamun, ker, khejri, lasora, pomegranate and tamarind.
  • To establish orchard in sandy soils of arid region, the pit size of 60 cm3 filled with top soil, manure and pond silt in equal ratio is recommended for better establishment and growth of pomegranate plants.
  • The allelopathic effects of over-storey crop on under-storey crops have been studied. It has been demonstrated that the aqueous extract of ber leaves have adverse effect on growth of understorey crops such as mustard.
  • The agro-techniques developed or improved for maximizing higher returns per unit area in vegetables under environmentally stressed areas are related to site selection, field micro-climate management, seed treatment, method and time of sowing, maintenance of plant population, soil-water conservation, irrigation systems and scheduling, foliar feeding and crop protection measures.
  • Post harvest management, on farm value additions, organic and hi-tech farming and marketing have also been taken up for remunerative cultivation of arid vegetables.
  • Single lateral line (12-16 mm size) at 1.5-2.0 m distances with on-line drippers (4 liter/h) at 50 cm distance was found to be the most suitable for production of kachri, snap melon and watermelon (mateera).
  • For enhancing yield and productivity of resources in the arid agro-climate, an innovative production technology for cluster bean var. Thar Bhadavi under rainfed or with crop saving irrigations adopting Horticultural based crop production site management approach (HBCPSMA) has been recommended.

Plant protection:

  • Diversity in ber powdery mildew isolates from various locations of the country was identified.
  • Various isolates of Trichoderma and Pseudomonas fluorescens were isolated from soil and plant samplesfrom arid horticultural ecosystem and elite isolates, viz. CIAH-111,CIAH-196 and CIAH-311 of P. fluorescens and CIAH-151,CIAH-240 of Trichoderma were mass multiplied for formulation.
  • Promising isolate of Trichoderma (CIAH-240) and P. fluorescens (CIAH-196) with different treatment combinations along with 50 per cent less quantity of Dinocap were found effective in management of ber powdery mildew in ber.
  • Management of Cercospora leaf spot of pomegranate was achieved by 3 fortnightly sprays of Topsin-M (0.1%), Captaf (0.2%) or Dithane M-45 (0.2%). Fruit rot of aonla was found to be controlled by 2–3 sprays of Dithane M-45 (0.2%) or Kavach (0.2%).
  • Schedule involving two applications of either Fenvalerate (0.005%) or Dimethoate (0.05%) at 21 days interval commencing from second fortnight of September followed by two applications of NSKE (5.0%) at 10 days interval proved to be effective against fruit fly and fruit borer infestation in ber.
  • The Coat Protein gene primer was designed for leaf curl disease of chilli. This gene was cloned and sequenced. The length of this gene was 747bp. The sequence has been submitted to National Centre for Biotechnology Information.
  • Management schedules have been worked out for hairy caterpillar, leaf miner, fruit fly and fruit borer which are the important pests of ber in region. In addition to these, ber butterfly, leaf webber, stone weevil, grey weevil were also identified and their season wise damage intensity was worked out.

Crop diversification:

  • The studies on multistorey cropping system has shown that the crop combinations such as Aonla- Ber- Brinjal- Moth bean- Fenugreek, Aonla- Bael- Karonda- Moth bean- Gram, Aonla- Khejri- Suaeda- Moth bean- Mustard and Aonla- Drumstick- Senna- Moth bean- Cumin were found to be sustainable and remunerative under arid ecosystem.
  • High density in ber with four varieties and three spacing’s revealed that B. C. ratio was maximum at closer spacing of 5x5 m due to accommodation of higher number of plants/ha. It was 1:4.54.
  • Integrated nutrient and water management:
  • To minimize the use of chemical fertilizers, use of vermicompost and inorganic fertilizers (50:50) had given good response in terms of plant vigour, leaf nutrient content and fruit yield of pomegranate under hot arid region.
  • In pomegranate and ber alternate day irrigation through drip at 0.75 CPE with 75 per cent recommended dose of nitrogen had given promising response in terms of plant vigour, fruit yield and leaf nutrient content. By drip fertigation, there is saving of 25 per cent fertilizer and more than 25 per cent of irrigation water with maximum water use efficiency as compared to pipe irrigation.
  • In kinnow fruit crop, 50 percent N, 80% P and 30% K of recommended dose (N: 1250g, P: 500g and K: 750g per plant per year) should be given from February to July and remaining 50% N, 20% P and 70% K should be given during August to November month with solid soluble fertilizers through drip fertigation for obtaining higher yield and better quality fruits.
  • A double ring method was devised and applied for water management in aonla plants. This saved 50-60 per cent of water application in plants. Effect of different mulches (maize straw, paddy straw, rice husk, grasses, subbabool loppings and black polythene) showed that application of organic and synthetic mulches increased soil moisture status.

Basic sciences

    A. Biotechnology:

  • Micropropagation protocols have been developed in ker (Capparis decidua), lasoda (Cordia myxa), mulberry(Morus alba), citrus (Citrus limon) and vegetable type cactus pear (Opuntia ficus indica) and aloe vera. Photoautotrophic in vitro conservation technique for conservation of germplasm of cactus pear, aloe vera and mulberry has been developed.
  • PCR based diagnostic probe to detect begomovirus infection in chilli is developed to utilize the breeding programme and validate by PCR amplification, cloning and sequencing (HM004433).
  • Molecular characterization was done for the germplasm of khejri, lasoda, ber, date palm, pomegranate etc.
  • RAPD based marker, OPA 16 was identified to detect inter-specific hybrids between Citrullus lanatus and C. colocynthis.
  • SCAR markers specific to khejri variety Thar Shoba has been developed for certification and protection.
  • Ziziphus nummularia genotype from Jaisalmer (CIAHZ-J) was identified for higher drought tolerance and transcriptome profile of this genotype during drought revealed that 283 transcripts are up-regulated and 554 down-regulated.

    B. Physiological and biochemical investigations in arid horticultural crops:

  • On the basis of photosynthetic parameters the ber cultivars were classified into (a) showing mid-day depression in photosynthesis, and (b) which do not show mid-day depression.
  • Studies on drought tolerance shows that mateera plants are able to maintain growth, dry matter accumulation, photosynthetic activity, etc even under drought conditions.
  • The activity of various enzymes such as peroxidase, amylase and protease were assayed under control and water stress and it was demonstrated that tolerant species have mechanism to retain enzyme activity even under low water potential.
Post harvest technology:

For utilization of arid horticultural produce, the undernoted value added products were developed (Table)

Value added products prepared

Crop

Products

Ber

Candy, RTS

Pomegranate

RTS, Anardana

Aonla

Murabba, Chavanprash, Mouth freshner, Squash, Candy, etc.

Date palm

Chhuhara, Biscuits, date RTS, pickle, vegetable

Khejri

Biscuits, Sangri

Kachri

Powder

Bael

Powder, RTS

Transfer of technology:

  • In Panchmahal area, level of knowledge of aonla cultivation technology was found to be as high as 65 per cent. The farmers have high knowledge about varieties, spacing, flowering, harvesting, fertilizer application and propagation of this crop.
  • The preliminary survey in IGNP area of Bikaner district revealed that 32 per cent farmers grow mateera, snapmelon, kachri, 18 per cent farmers grow brinjal, bottle gourd and 14 per cent grow ber and aonla. In IGNP area of Bikaner district the major constraints in development of arid horticulture are- poverty, low income, high cost of inputs, poor communication and transport facilities, lack of seeds/planting material, lack of farmers training and erratic rainfall.
  • For transfer of arid horticultural technologies, on- campus and off- campus training programmes and group discussions are arranged for farmers and farm women. Presently few demonstrations have been laid out on the farmers field to demonstrate the technologies developed at the Institute. These are being regularly monitored by the Scientists of the Institute.
  • Field days and field visits are conducted to impart the knowledge to farming community about arid horticulture. Other extension activities like Radio and T.V. Talk, organizing exhibition during Kisan Mela, distribution of literature, etc. are being done by the Institute for the welfare of farming community.
  • The technologies developed by the Institute are already reaching the farmers field in the form of demonstration, participation in kisan mela, farmer’s fair and visit of farmers to the institute. Demand of the planting material is received every year by the institute and the institute is supplying seed and planting material to the farmers, NGOs and other development agencies. As a result of this the varieties and technologies developed by the Institute have gone in considerable area under arid and semi arid region of the country and is steadily taking hold in market share.


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