Jul. 3, 2019
The Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has come up with a seed production technology to address the scarcity of quality ginger seed rhizomes.
The high price and non-availability of seed materials have been hampering ginger production in Kerala and neighbouring States. The in-vitro micro rhizome technology initiated at Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Molecular Biology (CPBMB), College of Horticulture, Vellanikkara, offers a realistic solution to the vexed issue confronting ginger farmers.
Since propagation of ginger is exclusively through seed rhizomes, lack of availability of quality-assured and disease-free seed rhizomes remains a major problem in ginger cultivation, said KAU Vice-Chancellor R Chandra Babu.
Preliminary studies have shown that the in-vitro micro rhizome technology can ensure disease-free seed material and a quantum jump in seed production. Attempts to induce micro rhizomes in three KAU released varieties of ginger such as Athira, Karthika and Aswathy by producing multiple shoot cultures from rhizome sprouts have been successful, he explained.
The in-vitro micro rhizome technology was initiated at KAU’s CPBMB under a research project. The major gain of this technology is that rhizomes can be harvested in the same season while in conventional tissue culture plants, one more season is required for rhizome harvest.
According to CPBMB head MR Shylaja, trials conducted by CPBMB have found that in- vitro induced micro rhizomes could be included in the seed chain of ginger, micro rhizomes could be produced in vitro with simple tissue culture facility and high tech poly house cultivation can be adopted for seed production in ginger. While higher quantity of seed material does not give additional yield advantage in ginger, in-vitro micro rhizome technology guarantees year- round availability of planting material making off season production of ginger also possible.
It also facilitates long distance transport of micro rhizome in thermocol boxes, with hardening being undertaken at the receiving end. Added advantages of this technology are that it helps to reduce cost of ginger seed materials and to produce quality rhizomes (clean ginger) without any pesticide residues.
CoH Associate Dean C Narayanan Kutty said that efforts are being taken to explore suitable steps for scaling up the technology. Good Agricultural Practices in ginger cultivation is also being popularised.