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New Seed Technology for Ginger Developed by Kerala Agriculture University

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

The Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has come up with a seed production technology that will deal with the scarcity of quality ginger seed rhizomes.

The high price & non-availability of seed materials have been impeding ginger production in Kerala and adjoining 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.

KAU Vice-Chancellor R Chandra Babu said, since propagation of ginger is exclusively through seed rhizomes, lack of availability of quality-assured and disease-free seed rhizomes remains a big problem in ginger farming.

Preliminary studies have shown that the in-vitro micro rhizome technology can ensure disease-free seed material & a quantum jump in seed production. Attempts to induce micro rhizomes in 3 KAU released varieties of ginger - Athira, Karthika & 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.

CPBMB head MR Shylaja told trials conducted by CPBMB have found that in- vitro induced micro rhizomes can be included in the seed chain of ginger and that micro rhizomes could be produced in vitro with simple tissue culture facility & high tech poly house cultivation can be adopted for seed production in ginger. As a 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 cut the cost of ginger seed materials and to produce quality rhizomes (clean ginger) without any pesticide residues.

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