CISH Uses Latest Technology for Plants

Summers have made their presence felt exceedingly, so much so that we instead wish that it were not the case and summers would have arrived in a subtler way. It is only natural the mind goes to the causes and effects relating to nature. With the World Environment Day observed last month and the World Nature Conservation Day this month, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that this summer has brought with it, much emphasis on nature alone.

Though there has been an institute that has been focusing on nature and natural resources for quite a long time, even before the summers acted a reminder- The ICAR- Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow. The institute has been one of first in Lucknow and a premier in horticultural researches.

The ICAR-Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow was set up as Central Mango Research Station initially with a focused thrust on mango as regional research station of IIHR in 1972. It was then upgraded as full-edged Institute in 1984 as Central Institute of Horticulture for Northern Plains and renamed as Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture (CISH) on June 14, 1995. It has since undergone transformation nomenclaturally, which reflects a shift in research mandate as well. Presently, the institute has set its eyes on researching various key areas to develop feasible and reliable technologies to enhance the production and productivity of mango, guava, aonla, bael and underutilized fruit crop and also to develop human resource. Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture has earned much acclamation in the national scenario and across the international realms for its impressive researches and technologies, particularly with reference to mango and guava.

In view of the ‘STUDENT READY’ approach of ICAR, Institute signed MOUs with Integral University, Lucknow, Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Science, Allahabad, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow, Bundelkhand University, Jhansi and Lucknow University, Lucknow for pursuing M. Sc. and Ph. D. degrees of their students at this institute. Institute is also recognized by IGNOU, New Delhi as one of the study center for offering a certificate course on organic farming. National Horticulture Mission has also identified the Institute as nodal centre for imparting training on rejuvenation of old and senile mango orchards.

‘FARMERS FIRST’ issues are being addressed through ‘Farmers advisory’ in order to address the contextual problems. A facility of ‘Phone-in-live program’ at the Rehmankhera campus has also been put in place through which the growers queries on subtropical fruits are addressed by the SMS of the institute on every Friday from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm through a dedicated phone line 0522-2841082.

The Nursery in the institute is a hi-tech facility with latest techniques on plant propogation. The facility has standardised equipments and techniques. These involve the optimisation of conventional methods and their coordination and synchronisation with modern setups such as net green house, solar drier, etc. for propogation throughout the year. The Nursery compound of the institute has scientific nursery programme with traceability introduced. Institute has produced and supplied 130000 grafted plants of mango, guava, aonla and bael to orchardists, nurserymen and state Govt. across the country during 2014-15.

Mission mode planned surveys for collection and retrieval of invaluable germplasm its subsequent conservation and eventual utilization for trait specific variety ahave led to development of two mango varieties Ambika and Arunika suitable for processing and global niche markets. Lalit, pink pulped guava variety evolved by the Institute has become popular in the Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Rajasthan states and has found favor in high density planting system. Geographical Information System tools have also made use for locating the new horti-ecological site for guava. Consequently, newer geographical sites suitable for cultivation of Lalit have been identified. Two bael varieties CISH-B-1 and CISH-B-2 selected from the seedling population have been released. Two promising accessions CISH J-37 (mean fruit weight 24.05 g) and CISH J-42 (seedless) of jamun have also been identified.

Recently two more promising varieties of guava (CISH-G-5 and CISH-GS-35) developed through selection from open pollinated seedling apple guava population and Allahabad Safeda have been identified by Institute Variety and Technology Identification Committee based on eld assessment for the release.

CISH has a collection of subtropical fruit crops and is credited to World’s largest collection of mango germplasm (755). Institute is also having guava (120) accessions which are being utilized for evolving varieties endowed with traits like regular bearing, malformation resistance and extended fruiting behavior in mango and soft seededness, pink pulped and processing in guava. Biotechnological tools are also being deployed for molecular characterization of germplasm of mango and guava. Apart from this Institute also have germplasm/accessions of papaya (17), bael (54), aonla (35), jamun (38), litchi (35), khirnee (17), mahua (25), tamarind (20), wood apple (17), custard apple (8), mulberry (10), hog plum (3), lasora (5), carambola (3) and karonda (30) in the eld gene bank.

Considerations have also been made about the global warming which has an effect on the reproductive behaviour (owering and fruiting) of mango plants. The data so arranged are being utilised by various sciences for the prediction of production/productivity associated with climatic abnormalities, integrated pest- disaster management system and pest diagnostic modules. Biotic factors linked to risk especially in view of climatic aberrations would be managed through tools of forecasting models to be evolved and perfected following the development of expert system.

Rejuvenation technologies have been standardized for improving productivity of old and unproductive orchards of mango, guava and aonla. High density planting in mango cv. Dashehari with 400 plants ha- 1(5.0 x 5.0 m) and guava cv. Allahabad Safeda and Lalit with 555 plants ha-1 (3.0×6.0 m) was optimized.

Soil application of paclobutrazol (3.2 ml metre-1 of canopy diameter) has been found effective to induce regular flowering and fruiting in mango.

Correlation based weather index model for forecasting of fruit y and hopper population was developed and validated. Thus forecasting was feasible 15 days in advance for population of critical weeks and peak population.

Male annihilation technique for management of fruit y a deleterious pests of mango and guava fruit responsible for quantitative and qualitative reduction of fruit mediated through methyl eugenol wooden block (10 traps ha-1) was perfected, validated, demonstrated in farmer’s eld in mango and guava orchards located in Lucknow and Kanpur and found highly efficient in trapping male mango fruit flies to reduce the population. A forewarning model for the prediction of powdery mildew in mango has also been developed. A simple technique for control of post harvest diseases is developed which involves covering fruits on trees with news paper bags one month prior to harvest, which eliminates all post harvest diseases in eco-friendly manner. Hot water treatment at 52±10C for 10 min amended with prochloraz (0.1%) has been found very effective in controlling post harvest diseases of mango at low temperature (12±10C) storage for 3 weeks.

Secondary agriculture has assumed greater significance following the emergence of free market economy on global scale, quality conscious domestic as well global clientele. Institute over the years has also developed different products of mango, guava, bael and aonla which have caught the attention of consumers.

Technologies/recipes for preparation of bael RTS drink, mango, aonla and guava ciders, mango, bael, mulberry and mahua wines, osmo-freeze dried mango slices, purification of amylase from mango processing wastes, mango & aonla bre enriched biscuits, mango stone shell aonla herbal tea (dip type) were standardized. Aonla Cider production technology has recently been transferred to Center for Technology and Entrepreneurship Development, Industrial Area, Jagdishpur at a cost of Rs. 3,00,000 (Three lakhs only).

Keeping in mind the current climatic patterns and their erratic alterations, the ICAR-Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow finds a great significance in predicting, preventing and controlling the hazardous scenarios through its researches and most importantly, its endeavour towards the productivity of plant life. Not only the climate but also an ever growing population that needs to be fed, require the advanced levels of scientific acumen that have been the institute’s badge of honour for ages. In current times, we need more educational institutions with the expertise of ICAR-Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture, Lucknow.

Shamim A. Aarzoo
Writer is the Editor In Chief of The Lucknow Observer & Founder of LUCKNOW Society

(Published in The Lucknow Observer, Volume 2 Issue 16, Dated 05 July 2015)

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