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Bajpai A.,ICAR Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture | Muthukumar M.,ICAR Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture | Singh A.,Indian Agricultural Research Institute | Nath V.,National Research Center for Litchi | Ravishankar H.,ICAR IIHR
Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences | Year: 2016

Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) is an introduced crop in India and has limited genetic variability characterized by differences in flushing pattern, leaf, panicle and fruit traits. Molecular markers were employed to expose the genetic diversity of 20 litchi cultivars from the Indian peninsula and facilitate documentation of the native germplasm diversity. Efficiency of individual primers was evaluated on the basis of average band informativeness and resolving power, where random oligonucleotide markers OPA-5 and OPA-3 scored best. Among tested microsatellite markers, ISSR 01 and 13 had high values for primer efficiency and these were found to supplement simple sequence repeats for generation of cultivar barcode and clustering analyses. Efficiency of microsatellites (Simple Sequence Repeats and Inter Simple Sequence Repeats) was established by high values for polymorphism (0.691), diversity index (0.264), effective multiplex ratio (48.8470) and marker index (12.896), thus reiterating its potential as for developing barcodes for cultivar identification and conservation. Phylogenetic analysis based on RAPD and microsatellites revealed clustering of the cultivars into four major groups, although within a very narrow range (0.63-0.90) of similarity, viz. Seedless (i.e. Bedana), Mandarji, Shahi and China groups. The clustering followed grouping based on fruit morphology, leaf and panicle attributes disagreeing with earlier views regarding incongruity of clustering pattern with morphological, ecological and climatic adaptations. Discrimination of cultivars like Dehrarose and Dehradun, being often labeled as synonyms, was also done. Interestingly high polymorphism and low gene diversity have been exposed by molecular markers, commenting on narrow genetic background of litchi cultivars from India.

The evaluation study on substrate dynamics under integrated plant nutrient management carried out for three years (2004-05 to 2006-07) at farmers field by National Research Centre for Litchi, Muzaffarpur, Bihar comprising of biofertilizers (Azospirillum, Azotobactor, Aspergillus, Trichoderma and Pseudomonas) conjointly with chemical fertilizers and organic manures on canopy spread, bearing behavior, yield and quality as well as soil chemical properties and cv. Shahi an important commercial and early variety of 14 years old in 2003 was used for the study. The three years cumulative results revealed that the treatment having Azotobactor (250 g tree-1) with half of the recommended dose of chemical fertilizer and 50 kg of FYM proved to be the most dynamic substrate to record maximum fruit yield (96.66 kg tree-1) categorizing maximum percentage of quality fruits under superior grade i.e. extra class (42.75%). This treatment also recorded better canopy spread, fruit weight and bearing (fruits/panicle) of heavier fruits though found at par with control i.e. the treatment having only chemical fertilizer which recorded fruit yield of 94.50 kg tree-1 categorizing less percentage of quality fruits under superior grade i.e. extra class (32.10%) suggesting a possibility for reducing N, P and K fertilizer dose to the tune of 50% and making quality litchi production economically more viable. Physicochemical characteristics as recorded in different treatments showed higher values in substrate having biofertilizer in particular. The effect of treatments on available N, P and K status of the soil was found profoundly influenced at the end of experimentation and was appreciably higher particularly in case of treatments having biofertilizers when compared to the initial status.

Singh A.,National Research Center for Litchi | Nath V.,National Research Center for Litchi
Indian Journal of Genetics and Plant Breeding | Year: 2012

Survey to select the desirable clones of litchi (Litchi chemensis Sonn.) was conducted in the litchi growing areas of Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam and Tripura during the fruiting season of 2007-08 to 2010-11. The fruit characteristics were studied in the selected clones, which have exhibited a wide range of variation. On the basis of variability in fruit characteristics, ninety-seven clones were identified and studied for various physico-chemical parameters. The important clones from value addition and processing point of view were those having (i) higher fruit weight (ASL-95 (29.92g/fruit), ASl-85 (21.75g/fruit) and ASL-97 (21.13g/fruit)), (ii) high TSS (ASL-65 (20.88oBrix) and ASL-92 (20.16oBrix)), (iii) small seeds (ASL-97 (0.52g/seed) and ASL-95 (1.18g/seed)) and (iv) high pulp percentage (ASL-97 (83.65%) and ASL-95 (79.78%) were identified. Four clones viz., ASL-97, ASL-95, ASL-96 and ASL-89 were having most of desirable attributes for fresh fruit consumption as well as for processing/value addition and have been finally selected and propagated vegetatively. Further, there is ample scope for selection of the desirable clones from the existing variability in the litchi orchards. The correlation studies for fruit weight with pulp weight, fruit weight with seed size, pulp weight with TSS, TSS with acidity and fruit colour with TSS and acidity, etc. can be established for screening of large populations of the identified litchi clones.

Kumar V.,National Research Center for Litchi | Anal A.K.D.,National Research Center for Litchi | Nath V.,National Research Center for Litchi
Journal of Applied Horticulture | Year: 2014

Studies were conducted to assess the prevalence and damage caused by four threatening pests viz., red weevil (Apoderus blandus), looper (Perixera illepidaria), leaf roller (Dudua aprobola), bagworm (Eumeta crameri) and one disease, 'leaf and twig blight' (caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides Penz., and Gloeosporium sp.) at National Research Centre for Litchi (NRCL) that were hitherto either unnoticed or of minor importance. Fixed plot surveys at the NRCL Experimental Farm and scouting surveys in farmers' litchi orchard in major litchi growing areas of Bihar state were conducted during 2011-2012. The studies revealed the damaging potential and period of occurrence of these pests and disease in the major litchi growing areas. A. blandus was prevalent round the year except during extreme cool and hot weather months whereas P. illepidaria was prevalent from September-November and E. crameri during November-February. Peak infestation of D. aprobola was during July-February. Infestation of A. blandus, D. aprobola, and E. crameri drastically affected the growth of tree whereas P. illepidaria damaged the September flush that bears panicle in the ensuing season. The 'leaf and twig blight' disease was prevelent from the beginning of August to the end of February. These pests and disease are now important not only in Bihar but also other litchi growing states of India. Considering their importance, there is a need for continuous surveillance particularly during the likely period of occurrence so that effective management strategies can be adopted. This paper reports occurrence of E. crameri on litchi for the first time from India.

Kumar R.,National Research Center for Litchi
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2014

Litchi has attained the status of an important commercial fruit crop of India. The factors leading to its successful cultivation, high productivity and fruit quality are generally environmental parameters like temperature, photoperiod/light intensity, soil moisture content and humidity in the atmosphere. The findings of research studies conducted at NRC for Litchi in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, India, during the last decade (2001-2010) prove that changing climate is influencing the trend of litchi production system as well as areas under litchi plantations. On comparing litchi production in a particular region with the ideal climatic conditions for commercial viability, it has been found that higher temperature, good sunshine and adequate soil moisture in the rhizosphere result in improved fruit size and quality. The aberrations in weather like prolonged cloudy weather and rains during the full bloom hamper normal cross pollination and fruit set in litchi. In addition, moist weather leads to severe attacks of mite and other insects as well as incidence of lichen growth on the trunk and branches causing bark splitting, leading to other fungus infestation in the litchi crop. Preharvest low intensity sunshine due to cloudy weather reduces the content of ascorbic acid and sugar in the fruit. The studies prove that influence of climatic aberrations can be nullified to a great extent by practicing region specific adaptation measures like soil moisture conservation, pruning and canopy management, mulching, growing intercrops, water and nutrient management and pest management resulting in enhanced productivity and quality.

Nath V.,National Research Center for Litchi | Thakre M.,National Research Center for Litchi | Pandey S.D.,National Research Center for Litchi | Kumar A.,National Research Center for Litchi | Kumar R.,National Research Center for Litchi
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2014

Crown structure and canopy size play an important role in productivity and quality production of fruit crops. In litchi, once trees begin to bear, fruit production is simply a function of the effective canopy surface area. The crown structure of a tree solely depends on branching pattern and crotch angles. The strongest crotches are those in which branches grow up from the trunk at angles ranging from 40-90°. Scaffold branches should be evenly spaced around the tree, with each branch at least 90° from the next one. Hence, a hypothesis is made to estimate the effect of canopy architecture on vegetative growth of tree canopy size and crown structure, light interception, flowering and fruiting behaviour, microclimate, generation of effective canopy area, etc. In order to test the hypothesis, three types of first order branches (FOB) viz., 2, 3, 4 and second order branches (SOB) viz., 2, 3, 4 and a control (total of ten treatments) will be used for the proposed study. The FOB will have a crotch angle of 90° on the main trunk at a height of 70 cm, whereas SOB will have a crotch angle of 60°. Both types of branches will be maintained at a length of up to 60 cm. The plant to plant distance is 6×6 m. Final height of plants at full grown stage will be 4.5 m with a canopy spread of 2.25 m on each side. The main framework (FOB and SOB) will cover 1 m distance from trunk from each side. The remaining 1.25 m will be available for growth of third order branches and fruiting terminals from each side. The managerial aspect of this density of plantation will be topping and hedging to avoid overcrowding. The purpose of proposing this canopy architecture scheme under this density of planting is to go for precision farming for litchi. The paper discusses optimum canopy architecture for high density litchi plantings and the hypothesis and layout of the proposed study.

Pollination is a vital step in a litchi production system, as both fruit yield and quality are dependent on the extent of cross pollination. The extent of crosspollination and enhanced fruit setting in litchi is significantly carried out by honey bees in the region. The present study made on pollination recommendations and practices in litchi during the two-year period of 2009-10 and 2010-11 at NRC for litchi, Muzaffarpur, Bihar, which envisaged placing honey bees in litchi orchards, gives an important and practical solution for assuring adequate pollination and fruit set. The foraging studies, more particularly in litchi flowering season, have given an indication that a minimum range of 5 to 10 honey bee colonies per ha of litchi cultivation should be provided. This study is based on the tentative number of visits of honey bees per panicle in litchi orchards having 144 litchi plants/ha at a spacing of 8.0 m. The extent of pollination and fruit set exclusively by honey bees has been recorded under controlled pollination experiments. The assessment of fruit yield and quality attributes have shown quite encouraging results confirming the significant role of honeybees in planned bee pollination. The response of cross- versus selfpollination through controlled pollination has been found distinct in litchi ('Shahi') fruit production. No fruit set in the case of controlled pollination under cages indicated sterile flowers in the same tree. The present study clearly spelled the need for an abundance of insect pollinators in a planned way for pollen transfer to complete the process of cross pollination and fruit set to achieve potential yield and quality. The European honey bee (Apis mellifera) has been found the most efficient pollinator of litchi as compared to others.

Kumara V.,National Research Center for Litchi | Kumar A.,National Research Center for Litchi | Nath V.,National Research Center for Litchi | Kumar R.,National Research Center for Litchi
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2014

In India, litchi is grown mainly in the eastern part of the country and Bihar Province contributes nearly 74% of the total production. Between July 2011 to June 2012, some new threats of pests and diseases were observed during scouting and fixed plot surveys of litchi orchards in Bihar that were hitherto either unnoticed or of minor importance. Studies were conducted to assess the occurrence and level of damage by these pests and diseases. Ten trees in an orchard were randomly selected and observations recorded in three branches having approximately 200 leaflets. Pests were reared in the laboratory for identification and study of their biology. The symptoms of damage were described. Three insect pests viz., red weevil (Apoderus blandus), semilooper (Anisodes illepidaria) and bagworm (Eumeta crameri) and one disease viz., leaf and twig blight (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and Gloeosporium sp.) were identified. While red weevil and semilooper damaged young leaves, bagworm preferred older leaves. Temperature fluctuations, particularly during peak summer and winter, negatively affected the activity of red weevil and semilooper while bagworm was affected by high temperature during summer. The results indicated that trees having highly damaged canopies (>50% foliage) by these pests represented as much as 40.0% while partially damaged (10-30% foliage) plants represented were up to 20.8%. The incidence of leaf and twig blight disease was from 28.1 to 66.3%. The percentage infected leaflets in a tree varied from 21.0 to 37.0, whereas disease severity index was 3.7 to 47.8%. The disease manifested itself from the beginning of August to the end of February. The occurrence of A. illepidaria and E. crameri is being reported on litchi for the first time from India. The emerging insect pests and diseases may become a limiting factor to litchi cultivation and will have a socio-economic impact for litchi growing areas.

Kumar V.,National Research Center for Litchi | Reddy P.V.R.,Indian Institute of Horticultural Research | Anal A.K.D.,National Research Center for Litchi | Nath V.,National Research Center for Litchi
Florida Entomologist | Year: 2014

An outbreak of a looper, identified as Perixera illepidaria (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) was observed on litchi trees in Bihar state of India during Sep to Nov both in 2011 and 2012. Loopers fed voraciously on young leaves leaving behind only the midribs. During Oct 2011, trees having highly damaged canopies (> 50% top foliage damage) ranged between 0.7 to 29.4%, while partially damaged (< 50% foliage damage) tree were 1.4 to 20.8% at the Experimental Farm of National Research Centre for Litchi, Bihar, India. During Oct 2012, the incidence of looper infested trees in farmers' field varied from 34.1 to 84.5%., and up to 39.4% trees were in the 81-100% damaged foliage category. The mean number of larvae per 10 leaflets varied from 0.6 to 14.7. The developmental period from larvae to adult ranged from 15 to 19 days. The geographical range of this species had been N.E. Himalaya, Hong Kong, Sundaland, Philippines, Sulawesi and Guam. This is the first report on the occurrence of P. illepidaria on litchi in India.

Kumar R.,National Research Center for Litchi
Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences | Year: 2014

A field experiment was carried out by National Research Centre on Litchi, Muzaffarpur, Bihar at farmers field for two years during 2008-09 and 2009-10 in an orchard having 18 years old litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) plantation of cv Shahi spaced at 10 m × 10 m have shown the significant need of pruning operation and proper nutrition in commercial bearing litchi trees, which must maintain control of both tree size and fruit productivity. The types of pruning, i.e. Selective pruning to frame semicircular canopy shape and pruning to centre open the canopy with nutrition including recommended dose of fertilizers (RDF) application have been found to give significant effect on plant height, canopy volume (m3), shoot length, shoots with bearing panicle, initial fruit set (no./panicle) and fruit yield as well as fruit weight at both treatment level and their interaction effect. Among the various treatments, selective pruning (65.65 kg/plant; 86.35 kg/plant) and nutrient application in recommended dose (60.48 kg/plant; 67.35 kg/plant) resulted in highest fruit production during both the years and their interaction effect was also found to be significant. In both the years, fruit yield increased with types of pruning system and nutrition. During the end of the experimentation, the initial and after soil test analysis for physicochemical properties showed the appreciable increase in the soil organic matter and the NPK availability status improving the soil physical properties.

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