Source: IISR Annual Report (1997, 1998, 1999).
Source: IISR Annual Report (1997, 1998, 1999).
breeding program is given in Figure 2.16. Rhizome bits were treated with chemical mutagens or irradiated with gamma rays. Ginger buds are sensitive to irradiation and the LD50 was reported to be below 2 Krad. The LD50 ( 50% lethal dose) for germination was reported to be between 1.5 and 2.0 Krad (Giridharan, 1984). Jayachandran (1989) treated the cv. Rio de Janeiro with gamma rays at 0.5 to 1.5 Krads and Ethylmethane sulfonate (EMS) at 2.0 to 10.0 mM and studied VM1-VM3 generations with a view to isolate useful mutants. This study revealed that the percentage of sprouting, survival, and the height of plants decreased as the mutagen dose increased. The LD50 in the study for sprouting and survival was between 0.5 and 1.0 Krad of gamma rays and below 8 mM of EMS.
Mutagen treatment affected tiller production; in 1.5 Krad gamma rays there was 45% reduction, whereas in 10 mM EMS there was 61% reduction in tiller production. The mutagen treatment did not affect pollen fertility or improve seed set. Rhizome yield was affected in a dose-dependent manner.
Jayachandran (1989) analyzed the VM2 generation and found a significant reduction in plant height as the dose increased. The mean tiller number indicated transgression to either side of the controls. Similarly, the mean rhizome yield in the VM2 generation indicated shifts in both the directions, with the lower doses of the mutagens giving positive shifts and the higher doses giving negative shifts. The variation in rhizome yield ranged from 1 to 1,320 g/plant. This same worker found that lower doses of gamma rays (0.5 and 0.75 Krad) and EMS (2 to 4 mM) are more effective in inducing wider variations. Screening against the soft rot pathogen, Pythium aphanidermatum, and bacterial wilt (caused by Ralstonia solanacearum) did not reveal any change in pathogenic susceptibility. Jayachandran (1989) observed that the effects of mutagen treatment in the subsequent generations vanished, indicating the operation of strong diplontic selection.
Nwachukwu et al. (1995) irradiated rhizomes of two Nigerian cultivars (Yatsun Biri and the yellow ginger Tafin Giwa) with 2.5 to 10 Gy gamma rays (Gy—Gray—is the unit of absorbed dose; 1 Gy = 100 rads). In these cultivars the GR50 (50% growth reduction) was found to be at 5 and 6 Gy in Tafin Giwa and Yatsun Biri, respectively, and LD50 was found to be 8.75 Gy for both cultivars.
Mohanty and Panda (1991) reported the isolation of a high-yielding mutant from the VM3 generation. They used EMS, sodium azide, colchicine, and gamma rays as mutagenic agents and five cultivars (cv. UP, Rio de Janeiro, Thingpui, PGS-10, and PGS-19) were treated and studied in VM1, VM2, and VM3 generations. Twenty promising individual clumps ("mutants") were selected for evaluation. One of them (V1K1 — 3) gave the highest yield of 22.08 t/ha, which was significantly higher than the top yielding variety, Suprabha. Six top yielders were further tested in comparative yield trials and multilo-cation trials—the results indicated the superiority of V1K1 —3 and have been subsequently released for cultivation under the name Suravi.
The genotype differences were consistent over the locations tested, and V1K1 —3 was out yielding the others in all locations. This line has a dry recovery of 23%. The rhizomes are plumpy with cylindrical fingers having dark glazed skin and dark yellow flesh with bulging oval tips and finger nodes that are covered with deep brown scales. This genotype has oil content of 2.1%, oleoresin content of 10.2%, and crude fiber content of 4.0%.
Tashiro et al. (1995) studied induced isozyme mutations to find out the possible use of isozyme analysis as markers for detecting mutants at an early stage or under an in vitro culture system. They used the cvs. Otafuku, Kintoki, and Shirome Wase and excised shoot tips were treated with 5 mM methyl nitrosourea (N-methyl-N-nitrosourea-MNU) for 5 to 20 minutes and cultured on MS medium supplemented with 0.05 mg NAA and 0.5 mg BA/l. Regenerated plants were analyzed for locating mutations in the following isozymes: glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH), glutamate-oxaloacetate transaminase (GOT), malate dehydrogenase (MDH), 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6-PGDH), phosphoglucomutase (PGM), and shikimate dehydrogenase (SKDH). Analysis of the untreated control gave uniform isozyme profiles for all the three cultivars. Five of 21 MNU-treated plants had isozyme profiles that differed from the basic pattern of GOT, 6-PGDH, PGM and SKDH. All these isozyme mutants expressed morphological variations such as multiple shoot formation, dwarfing, and abnormal leaves. The results indicated that treating shoot tips with MNU and then culturing them in appropriate media can recover mutants and that isozyme analysis is a good technique in detecting the mutation rate, and hence is useful in mutation breeding programs.
Induced polyploidy has been tried in ginger for introducing variability, for improving pollen and ovule fertility, and for improving growth and yield. Ratnambal et al. (1979) reported induction of polyploidy in the cv. Rio de Janeiro through colchicine treatment. The tetraploids showed stunted growth and had reduced length and breadth of leaves. However, in this case a stable polyploid line could not be established and all the plants reverted to diploidy in the succeeding generations.
Ramachandran et al. (1982) and Ramachandran and Nair (1992) reported successful production of stable tetraploid lines in cvs. Maran and Mananthody. The polyploids were more vigorous than the diploids and flowered during the second year of induction. The stable tetraploid lines (2n = 44) had larger, plumpy rhizomes and high yield (198.7 g/plant). However, the essential oil content was lower (2.3%) than the original diploid cultivar. There was considerable increase in pollen fertility in the tetraploids. These tetraploids are maintained in the germplasm collection at IISR, Calicut.
Adaniya and Shirai (2001) induced tetraploids under in vitro conditions by culturing shoot tips in MS solid medium containing BA, NAA, and 0.2% w/v colchicine for 4, 8, 12, and 14 days and transferred the shoot tips to medium without colchicine for further growth. More tetraploids were recovered from buds cultured for eight days. Induced tetraploid line of the cultivars (4x Kintoki, 4x Sanshu, and 4x Philippine cebu1) were later transferred to the field where they flowered. These tetraploids produced pollen with much higher fertility and germinability than the diploid plants (0.0 to 1% in the diploid plants as against 27.4 to 74.2% in the tetraploids).
The commercial ginger company in Queensland, Australia, Buderim Ginger Co., has developed and released for cultivation a tetraploid line from the local cultivar. This line, named Buderim Gold, is much higher yielding and has plump rhizomes that are ideally suitable for processing (Buderim Ginger Co., 2003). Nirmal Babu (1996) developed a promising line of cv. Maran from somaclonal variants. This line is high yielding with bolder rhizomes and taller plants (Figure 2.17). In addition to somaclonal variation, other biotechnological approaches have been initiated for evolving disease-resistant genotypes (for details, see Chapter 4).
The breeding strategies currently in use will not be useful to solve many of the serious problems besetting the ginger crop. In spite of extensive search, no genes resistant to Pythium rot, Fusarium wilt, or bacterial wilt could be located in the germplasm. The absence of sexual reproduction and seed set imposes a severe constraint on our efforts to develop resistant cultivars. Recourse to biotechnological approaches may be useful. However, no effort is going on in this field in a concerted manner anywhere in the world. Resorting to r-DNA technology by using resistance genes to the target pathogen from other crop plants can be a viable alternative for evolving resistant ginger plants. Until such genetically modified ginger cultivars are available, one has to rely on disease avoidance through efficient phytosanitation, through crop rotation, and by the use of biocontrol organisms. However, the ginger breeders and biotechnologists around the world should put their brains together to evolve a future action plan to solve the difficult problems and constraints to which this crop is currently being subjected.
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