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Editor M.

Tahir Saleem
Associate Editor M. Ehsan Akhtar
Managing Editor Ehsanullah Tahir
Editor at Large Mohammad Azam
Mark D. Stauffer Former President, PPIC, Canada
L.M. Maene Director General, IFA, Paris, France
Shafik Ashkar Secretary General, AFA, Cairo, Egypt
Haleem U. Hasnain Retired FAO Livestock Expert, Islamabad
Fauzia Rehman Vice President Fozans International Inc. USA
Jeffrey C. Silvertooth Professor, Soil, Water & Environ, Univ. of
Arizona
Sriyani E. Peiris Professor, Univ. of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
M. E. Tusneem Chairman, NAEA Council, Islamabad
Saeed Ahmad Former FAO Advisor on Horticulture, Islamabad
Kazi Suleman Memon Eminent HEC Professor, Sindh Agri. University
Ghulam Jilani CSO/DDG (Retd) NARC, Islamabad
M. Aamer Maqsood Inst. of Soil & Environ. Sc, UAF, Faisalabad
Karachi M. Abdullah Khan, Education Consultant, Karachi
Lahore Ms. Nighat Ashraf, UET, Lahore
M. Farooq & Khurram Shehzad,Islamabad
All correspondence
may be addressed to:
ADVISORY BOARD ADVISORY BOARD
CONSULTING EDITORS CONSULTING EDITORS
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The Editor
FARMING OUTLOOK
39, Street 39, I-8/2, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: + 92-51-4440901, 4865220, Cell: + 92-322-4300392
E-mail: editorfo@gmail.com
editorial
Farmers in their
Voiceless Woes
fertilizer
Potassium - an integral
part for quality crop
production
biotechnology
Microbial biotechnology
for sustainable production
of legumes
innovations
Beekeeping: Apiculture
survey results
Emerging plant protection
issues in citrus orchards of
Pakistan
pest management
Fruit flies in Pakistan:
economic importance and
their management
horticulture
High density fruit
orchards
Volume 11, Number 2
April- June, 2012
FARMING Outlook
In this issue
ISSN # 1680-5984
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Memo No. 340/2(54) - Press dated 24 January, 2001. Published by M. Tahir Saleem and Printed by Trade Link Printers, Islamabad
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2
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GRAPHICS & LAYOUT GRAPHICS & LAYOUT
The Farming Outlook addresses the whole spectrum of agriculture in order to facilitate
communication and update on the latest developments at home and abroad.
A quarterly educational magazine on policy and developments of progressive agriculture
EDITORIAL EDITORIAL
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Under the aegis of SAFE Foundation
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Opinion expressed in articles and other material published in FARMING OUTLOOK are the authors and do not necessarily represent
the views of the management of the magazine
One woe doth tread upon anothers heel
So fast they follow (Shakespeare Hamlet)
Farming remains a neglected sector! And to farmers tale of woes, nobody
cares!
Consider electricity and gas betraying him, and yet his complaints remain
on the back burner. He suffers through his short supply of water for paddy
cultivation because of shortages of electricity, and the diesel prices are only
beyond his capacity. But who will suffer in the long run the country and
its economy.
Look at urea shortages. Countrys installed capacity of urea is being
incapacitated due to lack of gas, and who suffers both the farmer and the
country. The local production cost being almost half of the imported urea
price, it squeezes both the national economy and the farmers income.
Fertilizer shortages and its spiraling prices discourage the farmer to apply
adequate quantities the result: loss in food productivity. Consider a unit
of fertilizer nutrient produces 7 to 10 times the grain! You can imagine the
loss in productivity due to decreased application of fertilizers.
To compound the situation, the fertilizer recipe is unbalanced less of
phosphate (P) what should be applied and almost no potash (K). The result
is poor quantity and quality of food to feed the bourgeoning population.
There is neither a system of proper advice to the farmer, nor the inputs
available timely.
On the research side, the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council is without
a professional Chairman, and its Research Centre without a manager! Do
you think this situation will pay dividends?
The latest of the woes afflicting the farmer is the emerging leave curl virus
which threatens cotton and its productivity: are we prepared for realistic
advisory?
Government chambers and policy slumbers peacefully while all the woes
cry hoarse. We can only try to awaken those in the ivory towers of power
to the urgency of addressing food security through redressing farmers
woes.
Farming Outlook upholds farmers cause:
Come weal, come woe, together we go!
Farmers in their
Voiceless Woes
E
d
i
t
o
r
i
a
l
M. Tahir Saleem
Potassium increases yield and quality
of agricultural produce, enhances the
ability of plants to withstand diseases,
insect attacks, cold and drought
stresses and other adverse conditions.
It helps in the development of a strong
and healthy root system and increases
the efficiency of the uptake and use of
N and other nutrients. In addition, K
has an important role in livestock
nutrition (Kafkafi et al., 2001;
Marschner, 1995; Mengel and Kirkby,
1987).
Role of potassium in the plant
The importance of K for plants stems
from its multiple roles:
- Potassium is involved in the
activation of more than 60
enzymatic systems in the plant
cell, in the synthesis of proteins,
vitamins, starch and cellulose
which are responsible for a normal
plant metabolism, plant growth
and strong vegetative tissues.
- Potassium helps in the
photosynthesis process, during
which the sugars and energy that
the plant needs for its
development are created.
- Potassium is also responsible for
the opening and closing of the
leaves stomata, which regulate the
water status in the plant.
- Potassium plays an essential part
in the formation of starch and in
the production and translocation
of sugars, thus being of special
value to carbohydrate-rich crops,
e.g. sugarcane, potato and sugar
beet. The increased production of
starch and sugar in legumes
benefits the symbiotic bacteria and
thus enhances the fixation of N
(Kafkafi et al., 2001; Marschner,
1995; Mengel and Kirkby, 1987).
Potassium The quality
nutrient
Potassium not only increases yields,
Potassium - An element for
quality crop production
f
e
r
t
i
l
i
z
e
r
2
Patricia Ima
Increasing crop production while improving quality remains an
important goal of farming, particularly in the developing world.
Among the major nutrients, potassium not only improves yields
but also contributes to various aspects of quality. Hence,
potassium fertilization results in a higher value product and,
therefore, in a greater return to the farmer. This review focuses on
the role of potassium in food production and its quality.
Potassium - An essential nutrient
Potassium (K), along with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), is one of the three
essential plant macronutrients, and is taken up by crops from soils in relatively
large amounts. Vegetative tissues contain on an average 2 to 10 per cent of K,
therefore K is required in large proportions by the growing plant.
but also enhances crop quality.
Potassium is the "quality nutrient":
it improves the nutritive value of
grains, tubers and fruits by
increasing the content of protein and
oil in the seeds, the starch content in
tubers and seeds and the vitamin C
and sugar content in the fruits. With
an adequate supply of K, cereals
produce plump grains and strong
straws. Potassium also improves the
flavor and color of the fruits and
increases tubers and fruits size. In
addition, it increases the resistance
during storage and transportation,
thus extending shelf life
(Usherwood, 1985).
Benefits of potassium
Crops response to K should be
measured not only in yield
increments, but in quality and stress
tolerance as well. Potassium
regulates plant metabolism and
promotes vigorous growth. This
ensures a healthy and sturdy crop,
which is more resistant to different
stresses, like drought, frost, pests and
diseases.
Crop quality
The quality of agricultural products
comprises many characteristics, such
as nutritional, organoleptic, hygienic
and functional properties. Often the
amount of K required for optimum
yield is also sufficient to secure good
quality. However, the need to enhance
fruit quality is sometimes more critical
than other aspects of yield production,
especially when quality secures the
best economic return. In such cases
more K is needed to ensure quality
than is needed for maximum yield.
Such is the case for fruits, cotton,
potato, tobacco, turfgrasses,
ornamentals and some food crops
(Kafkafi et al., 2001).
How potassium improves quality
The crucial importance of K in quality
formation stems from its role in
promoting synthesis of
photosynthates and their transport to
fruits, grains, tubers, and storage
organs and to enhance their
conversion into starch, protein,
vitamins, oil etc. (Mengel and Kirkby,
1987). With a shortage of K many
metabolic processes are affected, like
the rate of photosynthesis, the rate of
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
translocation and enzyme systems
(Marschner, 1995; Mengel, 1997). At
the same time, the rate of dark
respiration is increased. The result is a
reduction in plant growth and in crop
quality. Potassium influences on
quality can also be indirect as a result
of its positive interaction with other
nutrients (especially with N) and
production practices (Usherwood,
1985).
Drought and water stress
Potassium controls water uptake,
transport and utilization. It regulates
plant transpiration by controlling
stomatal opening, thus maintaining
turgor, and reducing water loss and
wilting. Plants adequately supplied
with K wilt less under water stress
because K has the major responsibility
for turgor changes in the guard cells of
stomata during stomatal movements.
The better the K supply of plants, the
more rapid is the stomata movement:
Potassium lowers the amount of water
lost through the leaves (transpiration)
through regulation of stomata opening
and closure (Beringer and Trolldenier,
1978; Marschner, 1995; Mengel and
Kirkby, 1987). The osmotic effect of K
also helps to extend the shelf life of
leafy vegetables in particular.
Potassium helps to better use of water
due to its multiple benefits to roots,
leaves and the whole plant.
Regarding the positive effects on
roots, K promotes a rapid seedling
development, providing good early
growth and quick cover of the soil,
thus, decreasing water evaporation
from soil. Potassium helps in deep
root growth: roots penetrate deeper
into the soil and make use of subsoil
moisture. Lastly, the more K inside the
root cells, the more strongly roots
attract water from the soil due to
greater osmotic gradient (Beringer and
Trolldenier, 1978; Marschner, 1995;
Mengel and Kirkby, 1987).
Regarding the positive effects for the
water regime at the whole plant level,
K has an osmotic effect in the plant
sap, thus maintaining cell turgor and
retaining more water in the plant.
Potassium also induces earlier
maturity, ensuring that the crop will
get through the critical pollination
period earlier, escaping drought
periods (Beringer and Trolldenier,
1978).
While in good years response to K
may be modest, in adverse years its
contribution will be substantial.
Potassium provides some insurance
protection against difficult conditions.
The positive effects of K application
on crop yields under drought
conditions are illustrated in Table 1,
which presents the results of a
groundnut experiment conducted in
Junagadh, Gujarat (India) by the
International Potash Institute (IPI) and
the Gujarat Agricultural University
(Golakiya et al., 1998).
Groundnut yields were lower in dry
years than in wet years but the yield
increases due to K application were
higher in dry years. Potassium cannot
protect against extreme droughts but
helps to maintain yield levels in years
of water stress. Good K management
can help farmers to reduce risks
related to drought.
Pests and diseases
It has been recognized for decades
that K enhances a plant's ability to
resist pest and diseases. This is not
isolated to a few crop species, but
comprises a wide range of both plants
and pathogens. The role of K in crop
resistance to diseases was extensively
examined in an IPI review of 2450
literature references (Perrenoud, 1990).
The results showed that adequate
amounts of K decreased the incidence
of fungal diseases by 70%, of bacterial
diseases by 69%, of insects and mites
damage by 63% and of viruses by 41%.
Potassium enhances plant growth,
ensuring a healthy crop, free from
stresses and much more resistant to
attack from pests and diseases.
Potassium promotes vigorous growth
to help plants outgrow or escape
damage, and also hasten early
maturity, thus reducing ineffective
time for disease organisms.
Adequate K nutrition provides thicker
cell walls, stronger stems and stalks,
and avoids sugar and unused N
accumulation in the leaves. Due to all
these effects, plants are more resistant
to entry and infection by fungi,
bacteria and viruses, and plants
become less palatable to insects
(Kafkafi et al., 2001).
Potassium applications may not only
result in higher yields as a response to
nutrition deficiencies, but also result
in lower levels of infestation from
yield-limiting diseases. Application of
K fertilizer is not a substitute for
fungicides, but an important
component in the integrated pest
management (IPM), allowing
reductions in the fungicide doses and
thus decreasing pesticide and
hazardous residues in food crops. This
is in tune with stricter pesticide
residue regulations and the increased
awareness of the consumers for
healthy and residue-free food.
Nitrogen and potassium relationship
Potassium and N are strongly
associated in plant processes and
should be considered in conjunction.
Firstly in terms of uptake, both
nutrients are needed in large amounts
at the same time. N is mainly taken up
as the nitrate anion NO3- and K as the
cation K+. The balanced uptake of
these nutrients in positive and
negative charged forms achieves
neutrality in the plant. Nitrogen
application and uptake stimulates
uptake of K and may be impeded if K
is limiting (Marschner et al., 1996).
Within the plant the complex
formation of protein from nitrate and
its distribution around the plant are
highly dependent upon adequate K
supply. If "normal optimum" rates of
N are applied in the absence of
sufficient K, full response to N will not
be obtained and residues of N may
remain and be leached at the end of
the season (Marschner, 1995).
Adequate K reserves are essential to
achieve the best possible response to
N and increase maximum N
efficiency. Where K reserves had been
depleted by not applying K in the
past, applying the larger amounts of N
is both uneconomic and would have
left a large residue of nitrate at risk to
loss by leaching. Large doses of
fertilizer N are economically justified
in the presence of K.
The ratio of N:K in plants plays an
important role in the host- pathogen
relationship. Plants supplied with
excessive N-deficient K have usually a
high content of low molecular
assimilates such as sucrose and amino
acids because of impaired phloem
transport and N metabolism
(Marschner, 1995; Marschner et al.,
1996). The soft and often injured tissue
gives easy access to invading
pathogens and exhibit less chewing
resistance. The content of repelling
secondary plant substances such as
phenolic compounds is rather low
(Perrenoud, 1990).
References
Beringer, H. and G. Trolldenier (1978).
Influence of K nutrition on the response to
environmental stresses. In: "Potassium
Research - Reviews and Trends". pp.
189-222. International Potash Institute,
Basel, Switzerland.
Golakiya, B., G.J. Hadvani, J.D. Gundalia
and B.P. Talaviya (1998). Experiences on
potassium nutrition of groundnut at
Gujarat. In: "Balanced Fertilization in
Punjab Agriculture" (M.S. Brar and S.K.
Bansal ed.). pp. 179-192. Punjab
Agricultural University, Potash
Research Institute of India and
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Kafkafi, U., G. Xu, P. Imas, H. Magen
and J. Tarchitzky (2001). Potassium and
Chloride in Crops and Soils: The Role of
Potassium Chloride Fertilizer in Crop
Nutrition. IPI Research Topic 22,
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Marschner, H. (1995). Mineral Nutrition
of Higher Plants. 2nd ed. Academic Press,
San Diego, NY.
Marschner, H., E.A. Kirkby, and I.
Cakmak (1996). Effect of mineral
nutritional status on shoot-root partitioning
of photoassimilates and cycling of mineral
nutrients. J. Exp. Botany 47: 1255-1263.
Mengel, K. (1997). Impact of potassium on
crop yield and quality with regard to
economical and ecological aspects. In: "Food
security in the WANA region, the
essential need for balanced fertilization"
(A.E. Johnston, ed.). pp. 157- 174.
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Mengel, K. and E.A. Kirkby (1987).
Principles of Plant Nutrition. 4th Edition.
International Potash Institute, Bern,
Switzerland. 685 p.
Perrenoud, S. (1990). Potassium and Plant
Health. 2nd edition. IPI-Research Topics
3. International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Usherwood, N.R. (1985). The role of
potassium in crop quality. In: "Potassium
in Agriculture" (R.D. Munson, ed.). pp.
489-514. ASA/CSSA/SSSA, Madison,
USA.FO
Courtesy: Dr. M. Ehsan Akhtar, PARC, Islamabad
3
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
Potassium increases yield and quality
of agricultural produce, enhances the
ability of plants to withstand diseases,
insect attacks, cold and drought
stresses and other adverse conditions.
It helps in the development of a strong
and healthy root system and increases
the efficiency of the uptake and use of
N and other nutrients. In addition, K
has an important role in livestock
nutrition (Kafkafi et al., 2001;
Marschner, 1995; Mengel and Kirkby,
1987).
Role of potassium in the plant
The importance of K for plants stems
from its multiple roles:
- Potassium is involved in the
activation of more than 60
enzymatic systems in the plant
cell, in the synthesis of proteins,
vitamins, starch and cellulose
which are responsible for a normal
plant metabolism, plant growth
and strong vegetative tissues.
- Potassium helps in the
photosynthesis process, during
which the sugars and energy that
the plant needs for its
development are created.
- Potassium is also responsible for
the opening and closing of the
leaves stomata, which regulate the
water status in the plant.
- Potassium plays an essential part
in the formation of starch and in
the production and translocation
of sugars, thus being of special
value to carbohydrate-rich crops,
e.g. sugarcane, potato and sugar
beet. The increased production of
starch and sugar in legumes
benefits the symbiotic bacteria and
thus enhances the fixation of N
(Kafkafi et al., 2001; Marschner,
1995; Mengel and Kirkby, 1987).
Potassium The quality
nutrient
Potassium not only increases yields,
Increasing crop production while improving quality remains an
important goal of farming, particularly in the developing world.
Among the major nutrients, potassium not only improves yields
but also contributes to various aspects of quality. Hence,
potassium fertilization results in a higher value product and,
therefore, in a greater return to the farmer. This review focuses on
the role of potassium in food production and its quality.
Potassium - An essential nutrient
Potassium (K), along with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), is one of the three
essential plant macronutrients, and is taken up by crops from soils in relatively
large amounts. Vegetative tissues contain on an average 2 to 10 per cent of K,
therefore K is required in large proportions by the growing plant.
but also enhances crop quality.
Potassium is the "quality nutrient":
it improves the nutritive value of
grains, tubers and fruits by
increasing the content of protein and
oil in the seeds, the starch content in
tubers and seeds and the vitamin C
and sugar content in the fruits. With
an adequate supply of K, cereals
produce plump grains and strong
straws. Potassium also improves the
flavor and color of the fruits and
increases tubers and fruits size. In
addition, it increases the resistance
during storage and transportation,
thus extending shelf life
(Usherwood, 1985).
Benefits of potassium
Crops response to K should be
measured not only in yield
increments, but in quality and stress
tolerance as well. Potassium
regulates plant metabolism and
promotes vigorous growth. This
ensures a healthy and sturdy crop,
which is more resistant to different
stresses, like drought, frost, pests and
diseases.
Crop quality
The quality of agricultural products
comprises many characteristics, such
as nutritional, organoleptic, hygienic
and functional properties. Often the
amount of K required for optimum
yield is also sufficient to secure good
quality. However, the need to enhance
fruit quality is sometimes more critical
than other aspects of yield production,
especially when quality secures the
best economic return. In such cases
more K is needed to ensure quality
than is needed for maximum yield.
Such is the case for fruits, cotton,
potato, tobacco, turfgrasses,
ornamentals and some food crops
(Kafkafi et al., 2001).
How potassium improves quality
The crucial importance of K in quality
formation stems from its role in
promoting synthesis of
photosynthates and their transport to
fruits, grains, tubers, and storage
organs and to enhance their
conversion into starch, protein,
vitamins, oil etc. (Mengel and Kirkby,
1987). With a shortage of K many
metabolic processes are affected, like
the rate of photosynthesis, the rate of
translocation and enzyme systems
(Marschner, 1995; Mengel, 1997). At
the same time, the rate of dark
respiration is increased. The result is a
reduction in plant growth and in crop
quality. Potassium influences on
quality can also be indirect as a result
of its positive interaction with other
nutrients (especially with N) and
production practices (Usherwood,
1985).
Drought and water stress
Potassium controls water uptake,
transport and utilization. It regulates
plant transpiration by controlling
stomatal opening, thus maintaining
turgor, and reducing water loss and
wilting. Plants adequately supplied
with K wilt less under water stress
because K has the major responsibility
for turgor changes in the guard cells of
stomata during stomatal movements.
The better the K supply of plants, the
more rapid is the stomata movement:
Potassium lowers the amount of water
lost through the leaves (transpiration)
through regulation of stomata opening
and closure (Beringer and Trolldenier,
1978; Marschner, 1995; Mengel and
Kirkby, 1987). The osmotic effect of K
also helps to extend the shelf life of
leafy vegetables in particular.
Potassium helps to better use of water
due to its multiple benefits to roots,
leaves and the whole plant.
Regarding the positive effects on
roots, K promotes a rapid seedling
development, providing good early
growth and quick cover of the soil,
thus, decreasing water evaporation
from soil. Potassium helps in deep
root growth: roots penetrate deeper
into the soil and make use of subsoil
moisture. Lastly, the more K inside the
root cells, the more strongly roots
attract water from the soil due to
greater osmotic gradient (Beringer and
Trolldenier, 1978; Marschner, 1995;
Mengel and Kirkby, 1987).
Regarding the positive effects for the
water regime at the whole plant level,
K has an osmotic effect in the plant
sap, thus maintaining cell turgor and
retaining more water in the plant.
Potassium also induces earlier
maturity, ensuring that the crop will
get through the critical pollination
period earlier, escaping drought
periods (Beringer and Trolldenier,
1978).
While in good years response to K
may be modest, in adverse years its
contribution will be substantial.
Potassium provides some insurance
protection against difficult conditions.
The positive effects of K application
on crop yields under drought
conditions are illustrated in Table 1,
which presents the results of a
groundnut experiment conducted in
Junagadh, Gujarat (India) by the
International Potash Institute (IPI) and
the Gujarat Agricultural University
(Golakiya et al., 1998).
Groundnut yields were lower in dry
years than in wet years but the yield
increases due to K application were
higher in dry years. Potassium cannot
protect against extreme droughts but
helps to maintain yield levels in years
of water stress. Good K management
can help farmers to reduce risks
related to drought.
Pests and diseases
It has been recognized for decades
that K enhances a plant's ability to
resist pest and diseases. This is not
isolated to a few crop species, but
comprises a wide range of both plants
and pathogens. The role of K in crop
resistance to diseases was extensively
examined in an IPI review of 2450
literature references (Perrenoud, 1990).
The results showed that adequate
amounts of K decreased the incidence
of fungal diseases by 70%, of bacterial
diseases by 69%, of insects and mites
damage by 63% and of viruses by 41%.
Potassium enhances plant growth,
ensuring a healthy crop, free from
stresses and much more resistant to
attack from pests and diseases.
Potassium promotes vigorous growth
to help plants outgrow or escape
damage, and also hasten early
maturity, thus reducing ineffective
time for disease organisms.
Adequate K nutrition provides thicker
cell walls, stronger stems and stalks,
and avoids sugar and unused N
accumulation in the leaves. Due to all
these effects, plants are more resistant
to entry and infection by fungi,
bacteria and viruses, and plants
become less palatable to insects
(Kafkafi et al., 2001).
Potassium applications may not only
result in higher yields as a response to
nutrition deficiencies, but also result
in lower levels of infestation from
yield-limiting diseases. Application of
K fertilizer is not a substitute for
fungicides, but an important
component in the integrated pest
management (IPM), allowing
reductions in the fungicide doses and
thus decreasing pesticide and
hazardous residues in food crops. This
is in tune with stricter pesticide
residue regulations and the increased
awareness of the consumers for
healthy and residue-free food.
Nitrogen and potassium relationship
Potassium and N are strongly
associated in plant processes and
should be considered in conjunction.
Firstly in terms of uptake, both
nutrients are needed in large amounts
at the same time. N is mainly taken up
as the nitrate anion NO3- and K as the
cation K+. The balanced uptake of
these nutrients in positive and
negative charged forms achieves
neutrality in the plant. Nitrogen
application and uptake stimulates
uptake of K and may be impeded if K
is limiting (Marschner et al., 1996).
Within the plant the complex
formation of protein from nitrate and
its distribution around the plant are
highly dependent upon adequate K
supply. If "normal optimum" rates of
N are applied in the absence of
sufficient K, full response to N will not
be obtained and residues of N may
remain and be leached at the end of
the season (Marschner, 1995).
Adequate K reserves are essential to
achieve the best possible response to
N and increase maximum N
efficiency. Where K reserves had been
depleted by not applying K in the
past, applying the larger amounts of N
is both uneconomic and would have
left a large residue of nitrate at risk to
loss by leaching. Large doses of
fertilizer N are economically justified
in the presence of K.
The ratio of N:K in plants plays an
important role in the host- pathogen
relationship. Plants supplied with
excessive N-deficient K have usually a
high content of low molecular
assimilates such as sucrose and amino
acids because of impaired phloem
transport and N metabolism
(Marschner, 1995; Marschner et al.,
1996). The soft and often injured tissue
gives easy access to invading
pathogens and exhibit less chewing
resistance. The content of repelling
secondary plant substances such as
phenolic compounds is rather low
(Perrenoud, 1990).
References
Beringer, H. and G. Trolldenier (1978).
Influence of K nutrition on the response to
environmental stresses. In: "Potassium
Research - Reviews and Trends". pp.
189-222. International Potash Institute,
Basel, Switzerland.
Golakiya, B., G.J. Hadvani, J.D. Gundalia
and B.P. Talaviya (1998). Experiences on
potassium nutrition of groundnut at
Gujarat. In: "Balanced Fertilization in
Punjab Agriculture" (M.S. Brar and S.K.
Bansal ed.). pp. 179-192. Punjab
Agricultural University, Potash
Research Institute of India and
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Kafkafi, U., G. Xu, P. Imas, H. Magen
and J. Tarchitzky (2001). Potassium and
Chloride in Crops and Soils: The Role of
Potassium Chloride Fertilizer in Crop
Nutrition. IPI Research Topic 22,
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Marschner, H. (1995). Mineral Nutrition
of Higher Plants. 2nd ed. Academic Press,
San Diego, NY.
Marschner, H., E.A. Kirkby, and I.
Cakmak (1996). Effect of mineral
nutritional status on shoot-root partitioning
of photoassimilates and cycling of mineral
nutrients. J. Exp. Botany 47: 1255-1263.
Mengel, K. (1997). Impact of potassium on
crop yield and quality with regard to
economical and ecological aspects. In: "Food
security in the WANA region, the
essential need for balanced fertilization"
(A.E. Johnston, ed.). pp. 157- 174.
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Mengel, K. and E.A. Kirkby (1987).
Principles of Plant Nutrition. 4th Edition.
International Potash Institute, Bern,
Switzerland. 685 p.
Perrenoud, S. (1990). Potassium and Plant
Health. 2nd edition. IPI-Research Topics
3. International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Usherwood, N.R. (1985). The role of
potassium in crop quality. In: "Potassium
in Agriculture" (R.D. Munson, ed.). pp.
489-514. ASA/CSSA/SSSA, Madison,
USA.FO
Effect of potassium (K) and phosphorous (P) on the size
and grain filling of maize cobs
Application of K (left) and P (center) increased the cobs
grain filling and size. PAU-IPI project KVK Bahosal,
Punjab, India, 9-2007. Source: Dr. M.S. Brar and IPI
Coordinational India.
Effect of potassium (K) on onion size
Potassium (K) effect on size of onion. IPI demonstration experiments
Raipur Distric, Chattisgarh, India, 2006. Source: IPI Coordination East
India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Potassium increases yield and quality
of agricultural produce, enhances the
ability of plants to withstand diseases,
insect attacks, cold and drought
stresses and other adverse conditions.
It helps in the development of a strong
and healthy root system and increases
the efficiency of the uptake and use of
N and other nutrients. In addition, K
has an important role in livestock
nutrition (Kafkafi et al., 2001;
Marschner, 1995; Mengel and Kirkby,
1987).
Role of potassium in the plant
The importance of K for plants stems
from its multiple roles:
- Potassium is involved in the
activation of more than 60
enzymatic systems in the plant
cell, in the synthesis of proteins,
vitamins, starch and cellulose
which are responsible for a normal
plant metabolism, plant growth
and strong vegetative tissues.
- Potassium helps in the
photosynthesis process, during
which the sugars and energy that
the plant needs for its
development are created.
- Potassium is also responsible for
the opening and closing of the
leaves stomata, which regulate the
water status in the plant.
- Potassium plays an essential part
in the formation of starch and in
the production and translocation
of sugars, thus being of special
value to carbohydrate-rich crops,
e.g. sugarcane, potato and sugar
beet. The increased production of
starch and sugar in legumes
benefits the symbiotic bacteria and
thus enhances the fixation of N
(Kafkafi et al., 2001; Marschner,
1995; Mengel and Kirkby, 1987).
Potassium The quality
nutrient
Potassium not only increases yields,
Increasing crop production while improving quality remains an
important goal of farming, particularly in the developing world.
Among the major nutrients, potassium not only improves yields
but also contributes to various aspects of quality. Hence,
potassium fertilization results in a higher value product and,
therefore, in a greater return to the farmer. This review focuses on
the role of potassium in food production and its quality.
Potassium - An essential nutrient
Potassium (K), along with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), is one of the three
essential plant macronutrients, and is taken up by crops from soils in relatively
large amounts. Vegetative tissues contain on an average 2 to 10 per cent of K,
therefore K is required in large proportions by the growing plant.
but also enhances crop quality.
Potassium is the "quality nutrient":
it improves the nutritive value of
grains, tubers and fruits by
increasing the content of protein and
oil in the seeds, the starch content in
tubers and seeds and the vitamin C
and sugar content in the fruits. With
an adequate supply of K, cereals
produce plump grains and strong
straws. Potassium also improves the
flavor and color of the fruits and
increases tubers and fruits size. In
addition, it increases the resistance
during storage and transportation,
thus extending shelf life
(Usherwood, 1985).
Benefits of potassium
Crops response to K should be
measured not only in yield
increments, but in quality and stress
tolerance as well. Potassium
regulates plant metabolism and
promotes vigorous growth. This
ensures a healthy and sturdy crop,
which is more resistant to different
stresses, like drought, frost, pests and
diseases.
Crop quality
The quality of agricultural products
comprises many characteristics, such
as nutritional, organoleptic, hygienic
and functional properties. Often the
amount of K required for optimum
yield is also sufficient to secure good
quality. However, the need to enhance
fruit quality is sometimes more critical
than other aspects of yield production,
especially when quality secures the
best economic return. In such cases
more K is needed to ensure quality
than is needed for maximum yield.
Such is the case for fruits, cotton,
potato, tobacco, turfgrasses,
ornamentals and some food crops
(Kafkafi et al., 2001).
How potassium improves quality
The crucial importance of K in quality
formation stems from its role in
promoting synthesis of
photosynthates and their transport to
fruits, grains, tubers, and storage
organs and to enhance their
conversion into starch, protein,
vitamins, oil etc. (Mengel and Kirkby,
1987). With a shortage of K many
metabolic processes are affected, like
the rate of photosynthesis, the rate of
4
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
translocation and enzyme systems
(Marschner, 1995; Mengel, 1997). At
the same time, the rate of dark
respiration is increased. The result is a
reduction in plant growth and in crop
quality. Potassium influences on
quality can also be indirect as a result
of its positive interaction with other
nutrients (especially with N) and
production practices (Usherwood,
1985).
Drought and water stress
Potassium controls water uptake,
transport and utilization. It regulates
plant transpiration by controlling
stomatal opening, thus maintaining
turgor, and reducing water loss and
wilting. Plants adequately supplied
with K wilt less under water stress
because K has the major responsibility
for turgor changes in the guard cells of
stomata during stomatal movements.
The better the K supply of plants, the
more rapid is the stomata movement:
Potassium lowers the amount of water
lost through the leaves (transpiration)
through regulation of stomata opening
and closure (Beringer and Trolldenier,
1978; Marschner, 1995; Mengel and
Kirkby, 1987). The osmotic effect of K
also helps to extend the shelf life of
leafy vegetables in particular.
Potassium helps to better use of water
due to its multiple benefits to roots,
leaves and the whole plant.
Regarding the positive effects on
roots, K promotes a rapid seedling
development, providing good early
growth and quick cover of the soil,
thus, decreasing water evaporation
from soil. Potassium helps in deep
root growth: roots penetrate deeper
into the soil and make use of subsoil
moisture. Lastly, the more K inside the
root cells, the more strongly roots
attract water from the soil due to
greater osmotic gradient (Beringer and
Trolldenier, 1978; Marschner, 1995;
Mengel and Kirkby, 1987).
Regarding the positive effects for the
water regime at the whole plant level,
K has an osmotic effect in the plant
sap, thus maintaining cell turgor and
retaining more water in the plant.
Potassium also induces earlier
maturity, ensuring that the crop will
get through the critical pollination
period earlier, escaping drought
periods (Beringer and Trolldenier,
1978).
While in good years response to K
may be modest, in adverse years its
contribution will be substantial.
Potassium provides some insurance
protection against difficult conditions.
The positive effects of K application
on crop yields under drought
conditions are illustrated in Table 1,
which presents the results of a
groundnut experiment conducted in
Junagadh, Gujarat (India) by the
International Potash Institute (IPI) and
the Gujarat Agricultural University
(Golakiya et al., 1998).
Groundnut yields were lower in dry
years than in wet years but the yield
increases due to K application were
higher in dry years. Potassium cannot
protect against extreme droughts but
helps to maintain yield levels in years
of water stress. Good K management
can help farmers to reduce risks
related to drought.
Pests and diseases
It has been recognized for decades
that K enhances a plant's ability to
resist pest and diseases. This is not
isolated to a few crop species, but
comprises a wide range of both plants
and pathogens. The role of K in crop
resistance to diseases was extensively
examined in an IPI review of 2450
literature references (Perrenoud, 1990).
The results showed that adequate
amounts of K decreased the incidence
of fungal diseases by 70%, of bacterial
diseases by 69%, of insects and mites
damage by 63% and of viruses by 41%.
Potassium enhances plant growth,
ensuring a healthy crop, free from
stresses and much more resistant to
attack from pests and diseases.
Potassium promotes vigorous growth
to help plants outgrow or escape
damage, and also hasten early
maturity, thus reducing ineffective
time for disease organisms.
Adequate K nutrition provides thicker
cell walls, stronger stems and stalks,
and avoids sugar and unused N
accumulation in the leaves. Due to all
these effects, plants are more resistant
to entry and infection by fungi,
bacteria and viruses, and plants
become less palatable to insects
(Kafkafi et al., 2001).
Potassium applications may not only
result in higher yields as a response to
nutrition deficiencies, but also result
in lower levels of infestation from
yield-limiting diseases. Application of
K fertilizer is not a substitute for
fungicides, but an important
component in the integrated pest
management (IPM), allowing
reductions in the fungicide doses and
thus decreasing pesticide and
hazardous residues in food crops. This
is in tune with stricter pesticide
residue regulations and the increased
awareness of the consumers for
healthy and residue-free food.
Nitrogen and potassium relationship
Potassium and N are strongly
associated in plant processes and
should be considered in conjunction.
Firstly in terms of uptake, both
nutrients are needed in large amounts
at the same time. N is mainly taken up
as the nitrate anion NO3- and K as the
cation K+. The balanced uptake of
these nutrients in positive and
negative charged forms achieves
neutrality in the plant. Nitrogen
application and uptake stimulates
uptake of K and may be impeded if K
is limiting (Marschner et al., 1996).
Within the plant the complex
formation of protein from nitrate and
its distribution around the plant are
highly dependent upon adequate K
supply. If "normal optimum" rates of
N are applied in the absence of
sufficient K, full response to N will not
be obtained and residues of N may
remain and be leached at the end of
the season (Marschner, 1995).
Adequate K reserves are essential to
achieve the best possible response to
N and increase maximum N
efficiency. Where K reserves had been
depleted by not applying K in the
past, applying the larger amounts of N
is both uneconomic and would have
left a large residue of nitrate at risk to
loss by leaching. Large doses of
fertilizer N are economically justified
in the presence of K.
The ratio of N:K in plants plays an
important role in the host- pathogen
relationship. Plants supplied with
excessive N-deficient K have usually a
high content of low molecular
assimilates such as sucrose and amino
acids because of impaired phloem
transport and N metabolism
(Marschner, 1995; Marschner et al.,
1996). The soft and often injured tissue
gives easy access to invading
pathogens and exhibit less chewing
resistance. The content of repelling
secondary plant substances such as
phenolic compounds is rather low
(Perrenoud, 1990).
References
Beringer, H. and G. Trolldenier (1978).
Influence of K nutrition on the response to
environmental stresses. In: "Potassium
Research - Reviews and Trends". pp.
189-222. International Potash Institute,
Basel, Switzerland.
Golakiya, B., G.J. Hadvani, J.D. Gundalia
and B.P. Talaviya (1998). Experiences on
potassium nutrition of groundnut at
Gujarat. In: "Balanced Fertilization in
Punjab Agriculture" (M.S. Brar and S.K.
Bansal ed.). pp. 179-192. Punjab
Agricultural University, Potash
Research Institute of India and
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Kafkafi, U., G. Xu, P. Imas, H. Magen
and J. Tarchitzky (2001). Potassium and
Chloride in Crops and Soils: The Role of
Potassium Chloride Fertilizer in Crop
Nutrition. IPI Research Topic 22,
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Marschner, H. (1995). Mineral Nutrition
of Higher Plants. 2nd ed. Academic Press,
San Diego, NY.
Marschner, H., E.A. Kirkby, and I.
Cakmak (1996). Effect of mineral
nutritional status on shoot-root partitioning
of photoassimilates and cycling of mineral
nutrients. J. Exp. Botany 47: 1255-1263.
Mengel, K. (1997). Impact of potassium on
crop yield and quality with regard to
economical and ecological aspects. In: "Food
security in the WANA region, the
essential need for balanced fertilization"
(A.E. Johnston, ed.). pp. 157- 174.
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Mengel, K. and E.A. Kirkby (1987).
Principles of Plant Nutrition. 4th Edition.
International Potash Institute, Bern,
Switzerland. 685 p.
Perrenoud, S. (1990). Potassium and Plant
Health. 2nd edition. IPI-Research Topics
3. International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Usherwood, N.R. (1985). The role of
potassium in crop quality. In: "Potassium
in Agriculture" (R.D. Munson, ed.). pp.
489-514. ASA/CSSA/SSSA, Madison,
USA.FO
Effect of potassium (K) on papaya fruit size
Potassium (K) effect on size of papaya fruit. IPI-TNAU porject in
Vdipatti, Theni Dist., Tamil Nadu, India, 2004. Source: IPI Coordination
India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Effect of potassium (K) on eggplant size
Size of eggplants (and yeild) increased with application of potassium
(K). The picture was taken at the demonstration experiment in farmers
field Bachhera village, Raipur District, Chhattisgarh, India. Season
204-05. Treatments are: T1:N150P100 (yield 263q/ha); T2:N150P100K50
(yield 327 q/ha) and T3:N150P100K75 (yield 493 q/ha). Source: IPI
Coordination East India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Potassium increases yield and quality
of agricultural produce, enhances the
ability of plants to withstand diseases,
insect attacks, cold and drought
stresses and other adverse conditions.
It helps in the development of a strong
and healthy root system and increases
the efficiency of the uptake and use of
N and other nutrients. In addition, K
has an important role in livestock
nutrition (Kafkafi et al., 2001;
Marschner, 1995; Mengel and Kirkby,
1987).
Role of potassium in the plant
The importance of K for plants stems
from its multiple roles:
- Potassium is involved in the
activation of more than 60
enzymatic systems in the plant
cell, in the synthesis of proteins,
vitamins, starch and cellulose
which are responsible for a normal
plant metabolism, plant growth
and strong vegetative tissues.
- Potassium helps in the
photosynthesis process, during
which the sugars and energy that
the plant needs for its
development are created.
- Potassium is also responsible for
the opening and closing of the
leaves stomata, which regulate the
water status in the plant.
- Potassium plays an essential part
in the formation of starch and in
the production and translocation
of sugars, thus being of special
value to carbohydrate-rich crops,
e.g. sugarcane, potato and sugar
beet. The increased production of
starch and sugar in legumes
benefits the symbiotic bacteria and
thus enhances the fixation of N
(Kafkafi et al., 2001; Marschner,
1995; Mengel and Kirkby, 1987).
Potassium The quality
nutrient
Potassium not only increases yields,
Increasing crop production while improving quality remains an
important goal of farming, particularly in the developing world.
Among the major nutrients, potassium not only improves yields
but also contributes to various aspects of quality. Hence,
potassium fertilization results in a higher value product and,
therefore, in a greater return to the farmer. This review focuses on
the role of potassium in food production and its quality.
Potassium - An essential nutrient
Potassium (K), along with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), is one of the three
essential plant macronutrients, and is taken up by crops from soils in relatively
large amounts. Vegetative tissues contain on an average 2 to 10 per cent of K,
therefore K is required in large proportions by the growing plant.
but also enhances crop quality.
Potassium is the "quality nutrient":
it improves the nutritive value of
grains, tubers and fruits by
increasing the content of protein and
oil in the seeds, the starch content in
tubers and seeds and the vitamin C
and sugar content in the fruits. With
an adequate supply of K, cereals
produce plump grains and strong
straws. Potassium also improves the
flavor and color of the fruits and
increases tubers and fruits size. In
addition, it increases the resistance
during storage and transportation,
thus extending shelf life
(Usherwood, 1985).
Benefits of potassium
Crops response to K should be
measured not only in yield
increments, but in quality and stress
tolerance as well. Potassium
regulates plant metabolism and
promotes vigorous growth. This
ensures a healthy and sturdy crop,
which is more resistant to different
stresses, like drought, frost, pests and
diseases.
Crop quality
The quality of agricultural products
comprises many characteristics, such
as nutritional, organoleptic, hygienic
and functional properties. Often the
amount of K required for optimum
yield is also sufficient to secure good
quality. However, the need to enhance
fruit quality is sometimes more critical
than other aspects of yield production,
especially when quality secures the
best economic return. In such cases
more K is needed to ensure quality
than is needed for maximum yield.
Such is the case for fruits, cotton,
potato, tobacco, turfgrasses,
ornamentals and some food crops
(Kafkafi et al., 2001).
How potassium improves quality
The crucial importance of K in quality
formation stems from its role in
promoting synthesis of
photosynthates and their transport to
fruits, grains, tubers, and storage
organs and to enhance their
conversion into starch, protein,
vitamins, oil etc. (Mengel and Kirkby,
1987). With a shortage of K many
metabolic processes are affected, like
the rate of photosynthesis, the rate of
translocation and enzyme systems
(Marschner, 1995; Mengel, 1997). At
the same time, the rate of dark
respiration is increased. The result is a
reduction in plant growth and in crop
quality. Potassium influences on
quality can also be indirect as a result
of its positive interaction with other
nutrients (especially with N) and
production practices (Usherwood,
1985).
Drought and water stress
Potassium controls water uptake,
transport and utilization. It regulates
plant transpiration by controlling
stomatal opening, thus maintaining
turgor, and reducing water loss and
wilting. Plants adequately supplied
with K wilt less under water stress
because K has the major responsibility
for turgor changes in the guard cells of
stomata during stomatal movements.
The better the K supply of plants, the
more rapid is the stomata movement:
Potassium lowers the amount of water
lost through the leaves (transpiration)
through regulation of stomata opening
and closure (Beringer and Trolldenier,
1978; Marschner, 1995; Mengel and
Kirkby, 1987). The osmotic effect of K
also helps to extend the shelf life of
leafy vegetables in particular.
Potassium helps to better use of water
due to its multiple benefits to roots,
leaves and the whole plant.
Regarding the positive effects on
roots, K promotes a rapid seedling
development, providing good early
growth and quick cover of the soil,
thus, decreasing water evaporation
from soil. Potassium helps in deep
root growth: roots penetrate deeper
into the soil and make use of subsoil
moisture. Lastly, the more K inside the
root cells, the more strongly roots
attract water from the soil due to
greater osmotic gradient (Beringer and
Trolldenier, 1978; Marschner, 1995;
Mengel and Kirkby, 1987).
Regarding the positive effects for the
water regime at the whole plant level,
K has an osmotic effect in the plant
sap, thus maintaining cell turgor and
retaining more water in the plant.
Potassium also induces earlier
maturity, ensuring that the crop will
get through the critical pollination
period earlier, escaping drought
periods (Beringer and Trolldenier,
1978).
While in good years response to K
may be modest, in adverse years its
contribution will be substantial.
Potassium provides some insurance
protection against difficult conditions.
The positive effects of K application
on crop yields under drought
conditions are illustrated in Table 1,
which presents the results of a
groundnut experiment conducted in
Junagadh, Gujarat (India) by the
International Potash Institute (IPI) and
the Gujarat Agricultural University
(Golakiya et al., 1998).
5
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
Groundnut yields were lower in dry
years than in wet years but the yield
increases due to K application were
higher in dry years. Potassium cannot
protect against extreme droughts but
helps to maintain yield levels in years
of water stress. Good K management
can help farmers to reduce risks
related to drought.
Pests and diseases
It has been recognized for decades
that K enhances a plant's ability to
resist pest and diseases. This is not
isolated to a few crop species, but
comprises a wide range of both plants
and pathogens. The role of K in crop
resistance to diseases was extensively
examined in an IPI review of 2450
literature references (Perrenoud, 1990).
The results showed that adequate
amounts of K decreased the incidence
of fungal diseases by 70%, of bacterial
diseases by 69%, of insects and mites
damage by 63% and of viruses by 41%.
Potassium enhances plant growth,
ensuring a healthy crop, free from
stresses and much more resistant to
attack from pests and diseases.
Potassium promotes vigorous growth
to help plants outgrow or escape
damage, and also hasten early
maturity, thus reducing ineffective
time for disease organisms.
Adequate K nutrition provides thicker
cell walls, stronger stems and stalks,
and avoids sugar and unused N
accumulation in the leaves. Due to all
these effects, plants are more resistant
to entry and infection by fungi,
bacteria and viruses, and plants
become less palatable to insects
(Kafkafi et al., 2001).
Potassium applications may not only
result in higher yields as a response to
nutrition deficiencies, but also result
in lower levels of infestation from
yield-limiting diseases. Application of
K fertilizer is not a substitute for
fungicides, but an important
component in the integrated pest
management (IPM), allowing
reductions in the fungicide doses and
thus decreasing pesticide and
hazardous residues in food crops. This
is in tune with stricter pesticide
residue regulations and the increased
awareness of the consumers for
healthy and residue-free food.
Nitrogen and potassium relationship
Potassium and N are strongly
associated in plant processes and
should be considered in conjunction.
Firstly in terms of uptake, both
nutrients are needed in large amounts
at the same time. N is mainly taken up
as the nitrate anion NO3- and K as the
cation K+. The balanced uptake of
these nutrients in positive and
negative charged forms achieves
neutrality in the plant. Nitrogen
application and uptake stimulates
uptake of K and may be impeded if K
is limiting (Marschner et al., 1996).
Within the plant the complex
formation of protein from nitrate and
its distribution around the plant are
highly dependent upon adequate K
supply. If "normal optimum" rates of
N are applied in the absence of
sufficient K, full response to N will not
be obtained and residues of N may
remain and be leached at the end of
the season (Marschner, 1995).
Adequate K reserves are essential to
achieve the best possible response to
N and increase maximum N
efficiency. Where K reserves had been
depleted by not applying K in the
past, applying the larger amounts of N
is both uneconomic and would have
left a large residue of nitrate at risk to
loss by leaching. Large doses of
fertilizer N are economically justified
in the presence of K.
The ratio of N:K in plants plays an
important role in the host- pathogen
relationship. Plants supplied with
excessive N-deficient K have usually a
high content of low molecular
assimilates such as sucrose and amino
acids because of impaired phloem
transport and N metabolism
(Marschner, 1995; Marschner et al.,
1996). The soft and often injured tissue
gives easy access to invading
pathogens and exhibit less chewing
resistance. The content of repelling
secondary plant substances such as
phenolic compounds is rather low
(Perrenoud, 1990).
References
Beringer, H. and G. Trolldenier (1978).
Influence of K nutrition on the response to
environmental stresses. In: "Potassium
Research - Reviews and Trends". pp.
189-222. International Potash Institute,
Basel, Switzerland.
Golakiya, B., G.J. Hadvani, J.D. Gundalia
and B.P. Talaviya (1998). Experiences on
potassium nutrition of groundnut at
Gujarat. In: "Balanced Fertilization in
Punjab Agriculture" (M.S. Brar and S.K.
Bansal ed.). pp. 179-192. Punjab
Agricultural University, Potash
Research Institute of India and
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Kafkafi, U., G. Xu, P. Imas, H. Magen
and J. Tarchitzky (2001). Potassium and
Chloride in Crops and Soils: The Role of
Potassium Chloride Fertilizer in Crop
Nutrition. IPI Research Topic 22,
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Marschner, H. (1995). Mineral Nutrition
of Higher Plants. 2nd ed. Academic Press,
San Diego, NY.
Marschner, H., E.A. Kirkby, and I.
Cakmak (1996). Effect of mineral
nutritional status on shoot-root partitioning
of photoassimilates and cycling of mineral
nutrients. J. Exp. Botany 47: 1255-1263.
Mengel, K. (1997). Impact of potassium on
crop yield and quality with regard to
economical and ecological aspects. In: "Food
security in the WANA region, the
essential need for balanced fertilization"
(A.E. Johnston, ed.). pp. 157- 174.
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Mengel, K. and E.A. Kirkby (1987).
Principles of Plant Nutrition. 4th Edition.
International Potash Institute, Bern,
Switzerland. 685 p.
Perrenoud, S. (1990). Potassium and Plant
Health. 2nd edition. IPI-Research Topics
3. International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Usherwood, N.R. (1985). The role of
potassium in crop quality. In: "Potassium
in Agriculture" (R.D. Munson, ed.). pp.
489-514. ASA/CSSA/SSSA, Madison,
USA.FO
Table 1. Effect of K application and cyclic dry spells
on groundnut yields (Golakiya et al., 1998).

Dry spell Yield (kg/ha) Yield increase
0 kg K2O/ha 100 kg K2O/ha %
Control 1,957 2,150 9.8
Single 1,486 1,613 8.5
Double 835 1,039 24.0
Triple 485 613 26.0
Potassium increases yield and quality
of agricultural produce, enhances the
ability of plants to withstand diseases,
insect attacks, cold and drought
stresses and other adverse conditions.
It helps in the development of a strong
and healthy root system and increases
the efficiency of the uptake and use of
N and other nutrients. In addition, K
has an important role in livestock
nutrition (Kafkafi et al., 2001;
Marschner, 1995; Mengel and Kirkby,
1987).
Role of potassium in the plant
The importance of K for plants stems
from its multiple roles:
- Potassium is involved in the
activation of more than 60
enzymatic systems in the plant
cell, in the synthesis of proteins,
vitamins, starch and cellulose
which are responsible for a normal
plant metabolism, plant growth
and strong vegetative tissues.
- Potassium helps in the
photosynthesis process, during
which the sugars and energy that
the plant needs for its
development are created.
- Potassium is also responsible for
the opening and closing of the
leaves stomata, which regulate the
water status in the plant.
- Potassium plays an essential part
in the formation of starch and in
the production and translocation
of sugars, thus being of special
value to carbohydrate-rich crops,
e.g. sugarcane, potato and sugar
beet. The increased production of
starch and sugar in legumes
benefits the symbiotic bacteria and
thus enhances the fixation of N
(Kafkafi et al., 2001; Marschner,
1995; Mengel and Kirkby, 1987).
Potassium The quality
nutrient
Potassium not only increases yields,
Increasing crop production while improving quality remains an
important goal of farming, particularly in the developing world.
Among the major nutrients, potassium not only improves yields
but also contributes to various aspects of quality. Hence,
potassium fertilization results in a higher value product and,
therefore, in a greater return to the farmer. This review focuses on
the role of potassium in food production and its quality.
Potassium - An essential nutrient
Potassium (K), along with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), is one of the three
essential plant macronutrients, and is taken up by crops from soils in relatively
large amounts. Vegetative tissues contain on an average 2 to 10 per cent of K,
therefore K is required in large proportions by the growing plant.
but also enhances crop quality.
Potassium is the "quality nutrient":
it improves the nutritive value of
grains, tubers and fruits by
increasing the content of protein and
oil in the seeds, the starch content in
tubers and seeds and the vitamin C
and sugar content in the fruits. With
an adequate supply of K, cereals
produce plump grains and strong
straws. Potassium also improves the
flavor and color of the fruits and
increases tubers and fruits size. In
addition, it increases the resistance
during storage and transportation,
thus extending shelf life
(Usherwood, 1985).
Benefits of potassium
Crops response to K should be
measured not only in yield
increments, but in quality and stress
tolerance as well. Potassium
regulates plant metabolism and
promotes vigorous growth. This
ensures a healthy and sturdy crop,
which is more resistant to different
stresses, like drought, frost, pests and
diseases.
Crop quality
The quality of agricultural products
comprises many characteristics, such
as nutritional, organoleptic, hygienic
and functional properties. Often the
amount of K required for optimum
yield is also sufficient to secure good
quality. However, the need to enhance
fruit quality is sometimes more critical
than other aspects of yield production,
especially when quality secures the
best economic return. In such cases
more K is needed to ensure quality
than is needed for maximum yield.
Such is the case for fruits, cotton,
potato, tobacco, turfgrasses,
ornamentals and some food crops
(Kafkafi et al., 2001).
How potassium improves quality
The crucial importance of K in quality
formation stems from its role in
promoting synthesis of
photosynthates and their transport to
fruits, grains, tubers, and storage
organs and to enhance their
conversion into starch, protein,
vitamins, oil etc. (Mengel and Kirkby,
1987). With a shortage of K many
metabolic processes are affected, like
the rate of photosynthesis, the rate of
translocation and enzyme systems
(Marschner, 1995; Mengel, 1997). At
the same time, the rate of dark
respiration is increased. The result is a
reduction in plant growth and in crop
quality. Potassium influences on
quality can also be indirect as a result
of its positive interaction with other
nutrients (especially with N) and
production practices (Usherwood,
1985).
Drought and water stress
Potassium controls water uptake,
transport and utilization. It regulates
plant transpiration by controlling
stomatal opening, thus maintaining
turgor, and reducing water loss and
wilting. Plants adequately supplied
with K wilt less under water stress
because K has the major responsibility
for turgor changes in the guard cells of
stomata during stomatal movements.
The better the K supply of plants, the
more rapid is the stomata movement:
Potassium lowers the amount of water
lost through the leaves (transpiration)
through regulation of stomata opening
and closure (Beringer and Trolldenier,
1978; Marschner, 1995; Mengel and
Kirkby, 1987). The osmotic effect of K
also helps to extend the shelf life of
leafy vegetables in particular.
Potassium helps to better use of water
due to its multiple benefits to roots,
leaves and the whole plant.
Regarding the positive effects on
roots, K promotes a rapid seedling
development, providing good early
growth and quick cover of the soil,
thus, decreasing water evaporation
from soil. Potassium helps in deep
root growth: roots penetrate deeper
into the soil and make use of subsoil
moisture. Lastly, the more K inside the
root cells, the more strongly roots
attract water from the soil due to
greater osmotic gradient (Beringer and
Trolldenier, 1978; Marschner, 1995;
Mengel and Kirkby, 1987).
Regarding the positive effects for the
water regime at the whole plant level,
K has an osmotic effect in the plant
sap, thus maintaining cell turgor and
retaining more water in the plant.
Potassium also induces earlier
maturity, ensuring that the crop will
get through the critical pollination
period earlier, escaping drought
periods (Beringer and Trolldenier,
1978).
While in good years response to K
may be modest, in adverse years its
contribution will be substantial.
Potassium provides some insurance
protection against difficult conditions.
The positive effects of K application
on crop yields under drought
conditions are illustrated in Table 1,
which presents the results of a
groundnut experiment conducted in
Junagadh, Gujarat (India) by the
International Potash Institute (IPI) and
the Gujarat Agricultural University
(Golakiya et al., 1998).
Groundnut yields were lower in dry
years than in wet years but the yield
increases due to K application were
higher in dry years. Potassium cannot
protect against extreme droughts but
helps to maintain yield levels in years
of water stress. Good K management
can help farmers to reduce risks
related to drought.
Pests and diseases
It has been recognized for decades
that K enhances a plant's ability to
resist pest and diseases. This is not
isolated to a few crop species, but
comprises a wide range of both plants
and pathogens. The role of K in crop
resistance to diseases was extensively
examined in an IPI review of 2450
literature references (Perrenoud, 1990).
The results showed that adequate
amounts of K decreased the incidence
of fungal diseases by 70%, of bacterial
diseases by 69%, of insects and mites
damage by 63% and of viruses by 41%.
Potassium enhances plant growth,
ensuring a healthy crop, free from
stresses and much more resistant to
attack from pests and diseases.
Potassium promotes vigorous growth
to help plants outgrow or escape
damage, and also hasten early
maturity, thus reducing ineffective
time for disease organisms.
Adequate K nutrition provides thicker
cell walls, stronger stems and stalks,
and avoids sugar and unused N
accumulation in the leaves. Due to all
these effects, plants are more resistant
to entry and infection by fungi,
bacteria and viruses, and plants
become less palatable to insects
(Kafkafi et al., 2001).
Potassium applications may not only
result in higher yields as a response to
nutrition deficiencies, but also result
in lower levels of infestation from
yield-limiting diseases. Application of
K fertilizer is not a substitute for
fungicides, but an important
component in the integrated pest
management (IPM), allowing
reductions in the fungicide doses and
thus decreasing pesticide and
hazardous residues in food crops. This
is in tune with stricter pesticide
residue regulations and the increased
awareness of the consumers for
healthy and residue-free food.
Nitrogen and potassium relationship
Potassium and N are strongly
associated in plant processes and
should be considered in conjunction.
Firstly in terms of uptake, both
nutrients are needed in large amounts
at the same time. N is mainly taken up
as the nitrate anion NO3- and K as the
cation K+. The balanced uptake of
these nutrients in positive and
negative charged forms achieves
neutrality in the plant. Nitrogen
application and uptake stimulates
uptake of K and may be impeded if K
is limiting (Marschner et al., 1996).
Within the plant the complex
formation of protein from nitrate and
its distribution around the plant are
highly dependent upon adequate K
supply. If "normal optimum" rates of
N are applied in the absence of
sufficient K, full response to N will not
be obtained and residues of N may
remain and be leached at the end of
6
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
the season (Marschner, 1995).
Adequate K reserves are essential to
achieve the best possible response to
N and increase maximum N
efficiency. Where K reserves had been
depleted by not applying K in the
past, applying the larger amounts of N
is both uneconomic and would have
left a large residue of nitrate at risk to
loss by leaching. Large doses of
fertilizer N are economically justified
in the presence of K.
The ratio of N:K in plants plays an
important role in the host- pathogen
relationship. Plants supplied with
excessive N-deficient K have usually a
high content of low molecular
assimilates such as sucrose and amino
acids because of impaired phloem
transport and N metabolism
(Marschner, 1995; Marschner et al.,
1996). The soft and often injured tissue
gives easy access to invading
pathogens and exhibit less chewing
resistance. The content of repelling
secondary plant substances such as
phenolic compounds is rather low
(Perrenoud, 1990).
References
Beringer, H. and G. Trolldenier (1978).
Influence of K nutrition on the response to
environmental stresses. In: "Potassium
Research - Reviews and Trends". pp.
189-222. International Potash Institute,
Basel, Switzerland.
Golakiya, B., G.J. Hadvani, J.D. Gundalia
and B.P. Talaviya (1998). Experiences on
potassium nutrition of groundnut at
Gujarat. In: "Balanced Fertilization in
Punjab Agriculture" (M.S. Brar and S.K.
Bansal ed.). pp. 179-192. Punjab
Agricultural University, Potash
Research Institute of India and
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Kafkafi, U., G. Xu, P. Imas, H. Magen
and J. Tarchitzky (2001). Potassium and
Chloride in Crops and Soils: The Role of
Potassium Chloride Fertilizer in Crop
Nutrition. IPI Research Topic 22,
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Marschner, H. (1995). Mineral Nutrition
of Higher Plants. 2nd ed. Academic Press,
San Diego, NY.
Marschner, H., E.A. Kirkby, and I.
Cakmak (1996). Effect of mineral
nutritional status on shoot-root partitioning
of photoassimilates and cycling of mineral
nutrients. J. Exp. Botany 47: 1255-1263.
Mengel, K. (1997). Impact of potassium on
crop yield and quality with regard to
economical and ecological aspects. In: "Food
security in the WANA region, the
essential need for balanced fertilization"
(A.E. Johnston, ed.). pp. 157- 174.
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Mengel, K. and E.A. Kirkby (1987).
Principles of Plant Nutrition. 4th Edition.
International Potash Institute, Bern,
Switzerland. 685 p.
Perrenoud, S. (1990). Potassium and Plant
Health. 2nd edition. IPI-Research Topics
3. International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Usherwood, N.R. (1985). The role of
potassium in crop quality. In: "Potassium
in Agriculture" (R.D. Munson, ed.). pp.
489-514. ASA/CSSA/SSSA, Madison,
USA.FO
Potassium increases yield and quality
of agricultural produce, enhances the
ability of plants to withstand diseases,
insect attacks, cold and drought
stresses and other adverse conditions.
It helps in the development of a strong
and healthy root system and increases
the efficiency of the uptake and use of
N and other nutrients. In addition, K
has an important role in livestock
nutrition (Kafkafi et al., 2001;
Marschner, 1995; Mengel and Kirkby,
1987).
Role of potassium in the plant
The importance of K for plants stems
from its multiple roles:
- Potassium is involved in the
activation of more than 60
enzymatic systems in the plant
cell, in the synthesis of proteins,
vitamins, starch and cellulose
which are responsible for a normal
plant metabolism, plant growth
and strong vegetative tissues.
- Potassium helps in the
photosynthesis process, during
which the sugars and energy that
the plant needs for its
development are created.
- Potassium is also responsible for
the opening and closing of the
leaves stomata, which regulate the
water status in the plant.
- Potassium plays an essential part
in the formation of starch and in
the production and translocation
of sugars, thus being of special
value to carbohydrate-rich crops,
e.g. sugarcane, potato and sugar
beet. The increased production of
starch and sugar in legumes
benefits the symbiotic bacteria and
thus enhances the fixation of N
(Kafkafi et al., 2001; Marschner,
1995; Mengel and Kirkby, 1987).
Potassium The quality
nutrient
Potassium not only increases yields,
Increasing crop production while improving quality remains an
important goal of farming, particularly in the developing world.
Among the major nutrients, potassium not only improves yields
but also contributes to various aspects of quality. Hence,
potassium fertilization results in a higher value product and,
therefore, in a greater return to the farmer. This review focuses on
the role of potassium in food production and its quality.
Potassium - An essential nutrient
Potassium (K), along with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), is one of the three
essential plant macronutrients, and is taken up by crops from soils in relatively
large amounts. Vegetative tissues contain on an average 2 to 10 per cent of K,
therefore K is required in large proportions by the growing plant.
but also enhances crop quality.
Potassium is the "quality nutrient":
it improves the nutritive value of
grains, tubers and fruits by
increasing the content of protein and
oil in the seeds, the starch content in
tubers and seeds and the vitamin C
and sugar content in the fruits. With
an adequate supply of K, cereals
produce plump grains and strong
straws. Potassium also improves the
flavor and color of the fruits and
increases tubers and fruits size. In
addition, it increases the resistance
during storage and transportation,
thus extending shelf life
(Usherwood, 1985).
Benefits of potassium
Crops response to K should be
measured not only in yield
increments, but in quality and stress
tolerance as well. Potassium
regulates plant metabolism and
promotes vigorous growth. This
ensures a healthy and sturdy crop,
which is more resistant to different
stresses, like drought, frost, pests and
diseases.
Crop quality
The quality of agricultural products
comprises many characteristics, such
as nutritional, organoleptic, hygienic
and functional properties. Often the
amount of K required for optimum
yield is also sufficient to secure good
quality. However, the need to enhance
fruit quality is sometimes more critical
than other aspects of yield production,
especially when quality secures the
best economic return. In such cases
more K is needed to ensure quality
than is needed for maximum yield.
Such is the case for fruits, cotton,
potato, tobacco, turfgrasses,
ornamentals and some food crops
(Kafkafi et al., 2001).
How potassium improves quality
The crucial importance of K in quality
formation stems from its role in
promoting synthesis of
photosynthates and their transport to
fruits, grains, tubers, and storage
organs and to enhance their
conversion into starch, protein,
vitamins, oil etc. (Mengel and Kirkby,
1987). With a shortage of K many
metabolic processes are affected, like
the rate of photosynthesis, the rate of
translocation and enzyme systems
(Marschner, 1995; Mengel, 1997). At
the same time, the rate of dark
respiration is increased. The result is a
reduction in plant growth and in crop
quality. Potassium influences on
quality can also be indirect as a result
of its positive interaction with other
nutrients (especially with N) and
production practices (Usherwood,
1985).
Drought and water stress
Potassium controls water uptake,
transport and utilization. It regulates
plant transpiration by controlling
stomatal opening, thus maintaining
turgor, and reducing water loss and
wilting. Plants adequately supplied
with K wilt less under water stress
because K has the major responsibility
for turgor changes in the guard cells of
stomata during stomatal movements.
The better the K supply of plants, the
more rapid is the stomata movement:
Potassium lowers the amount of water
lost through the leaves (transpiration)
through regulation of stomata opening
and closure (Beringer and Trolldenier,
1978; Marschner, 1995; Mengel and
Kirkby, 1987). The osmotic effect of K
also helps to extend the shelf life of
leafy vegetables in particular.
Potassium helps to better use of water
due to its multiple benefits to roots,
leaves and the whole plant.
Regarding the positive effects on
roots, K promotes a rapid seedling
development, providing good early
growth and quick cover of the soil,
thus, decreasing water evaporation
from soil. Potassium helps in deep
root growth: roots penetrate deeper
into the soil and make use of subsoil
moisture. Lastly, the more K inside the
root cells, the more strongly roots
attract water from the soil due to
greater osmotic gradient (Beringer and
Trolldenier, 1978; Marschner, 1995;
Mengel and Kirkby, 1987).
Regarding the positive effects for the
water regime at the whole plant level,
K has an osmotic effect in the plant
sap, thus maintaining cell turgor and
retaining more water in the plant.
Potassium also induces earlier
maturity, ensuring that the crop will
get through the critical pollination
period earlier, escaping drought
periods (Beringer and Trolldenier,
1978).
While in good years response to K
may be modest, in adverse years its
contribution will be substantial.
Potassium provides some insurance
protection against difficult conditions.
The positive effects of K application
on crop yields under drought
conditions are illustrated in Table 1,
which presents the results of a
groundnut experiment conducted in
Junagadh, Gujarat (India) by the
International Potash Institute (IPI) and
the Gujarat Agricultural University
(Golakiya et al., 1998).
Groundnut yields were lower in dry
years than in wet years but the yield
increases due to K application were
higher in dry years. Potassium cannot
protect against extreme droughts but
helps to maintain yield levels in years
of water stress. Good K management
can help farmers to reduce risks
related to drought.
Pests and diseases
It has been recognized for decades
that K enhances a plant's ability to
resist pest and diseases. This is not
isolated to a few crop species, but
comprises a wide range of both plants
and pathogens. The role of K in crop
resistance to diseases was extensively
examined in an IPI review of 2450
literature references (Perrenoud, 1990).
The results showed that adequate
amounts of K decreased the incidence
of fungal diseases by 70%, of bacterial
diseases by 69%, of insects and mites
damage by 63% and of viruses by 41%.
Potassium enhances plant growth,
ensuring a healthy crop, free from
stresses and much more resistant to
attack from pests and diseases.
Potassium promotes vigorous growth
to help plants outgrow or escape
damage, and also hasten early
maturity, thus reducing ineffective
time for disease organisms.
Adequate K nutrition provides thicker
cell walls, stronger stems and stalks,
and avoids sugar and unused N
accumulation in the leaves. Due to all
these effects, plants are more resistant
to entry and infection by fungi,
bacteria and viruses, and plants
become less palatable to insects
(Kafkafi et al., 2001).
Potassium applications may not only
result in higher yields as a response to
nutrition deficiencies, but also result
in lower levels of infestation from
yield-limiting diseases. Application of
K fertilizer is not a substitute for
fungicides, but an important
component in the integrated pest
management (IPM), allowing
reductions in the fungicide doses and
thus decreasing pesticide and
hazardous residues in food crops. This
is in tune with stricter pesticide
residue regulations and the increased
awareness of the consumers for
healthy and residue-free food.
Nitrogen and potassium relationship
Potassium and N are strongly
associated in plant processes and
should be considered in conjunction.
Firstly in terms of uptake, both
nutrients are needed in large amounts
at the same time. N is mainly taken up
as the nitrate anion NO3- and K as the
cation K+. The balanced uptake of
these nutrients in positive and
negative charged forms achieves
neutrality in the plant. Nitrogen
application and uptake stimulates
uptake of K and may be impeded if K
is limiting (Marschner et al., 1996).
Within the plant the complex
formation of protein from nitrate and
its distribution around the plant are
highly dependent upon adequate K
supply. If "normal optimum" rates of
N are applied in the absence of
sufficient K, full response to N will not
be obtained and residues of N may
remain and be leached at the end of
the season (Marschner, 1995).
Adequate K reserves are essential to
achieve the best possible response to
N and increase maximum N
efficiency. Where K reserves had been
depleted by not applying K in the
past, applying the larger amounts of N
is both uneconomic and would have
left a large residue of nitrate at risk to
loss by leaching. Large doses of
fertilizer N are economically justified
in the presence of K.
The ratio of N:K in plants plays an
important role in the host- pathogen
relationship. Plants supplied with
excessive N-deficient K have usually a
high content of low molecular
assimilates such as sucrose and amino
acids because of impaired phloem
transport and N metabolism
(Marschner, 1995; Marschner et al.,
1996). The soft and often injured tissue
gives easy access to invading
pathogens and exhibit less chewing
resistance. The content of repelling
secondary plant substances such as
phenolic compounds is rather low
(Perrenoud, 1990).
References
Beringer, H. and G. Trolldenier (1978).
Influence of K nutrition on the response to
environmental stresses. In: "Potassium
Research - Reviews and Trends". pp.
189-222. International Potash Institute,
Basel, Switzerland.
Golakiya, B., G.J. Hadvani, J.D. Gundalia
and B.P. Talaviya (1998). Experiences on
potassium nutrition of groundnut at
Gujarat. In: "Balanced Fertilization in
Punjab Agriculture" (M.S. Brar and S.K.
Bansal ed.). pp. 179-192. Punjab
Agricultural University, Potash
Research Institute of India and
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Kafkafi, U., G. Xu, P. Imas, H. Magen
and J. Tarchitzky (2001). Potassium and
Chloride in Crops and Soils: The Role of
Potassium Chloride Fertilizer in Crop
Nutrition. IPI Research Topic 22,
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Marschner, H. (1995). Mineral Nutrition
of Higher Plants. 2nd ed. Academic Press,
San Diego, NY.
Marschner, H., E.A. Kirkby, and I.
Cakmak (1996). Effect of mineral
nutritional status on shoot-root partitioning
of photoassimilates and cycling of mineral
nutrients. J. Exp. Botany 47: 1255-1263.
Mengel, K. (1997). Impact of potassium on
crop yield and quality with regard to
economical and ecological aspects. In: "Food
security in the WANA region, the
essential need for balanced fertilization"
(A.E. Johnston, ed.). pp. 157- 174.
International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Mengel, K. and E.A. Kirkby (1987).
Principles of Plant Nutrition. 4th Edition.
International Potash Institute, Bern,
Switzerland. 685 p.
Perrenoud, S. (1990). Potassium and Plant
Health. 2nd edition. IPI-Research Topics
3. International Potash Institute, Basel,
Switzerland.
Usherwood, N.R. (1985). The role of
potassium in crop quality. In: "Potassium
in Agriculture" (R.D. Munson, ed.). pp.
489-514. ASA/CSSA/SSSA, Madison,
USA.FO
7
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
Dr Patricia Imas is with International Potash Institute (IPI), Baumgrtlistrasse 17, P.O. Box 260,
CH-8810 Horgen, Switzerland.
There are several factors which
contribute to low productivity of
legumes including exhaustion of soil
nutrients, shortage of water as well as
poor quality ground water, buildup of
pathogenic fungal diseases,
temperature stress during
reproductive stage, a bad soil
structure, excessive moisture,
ineffectiveness of Rhizobium species
and severe drought stress at initial
stages of growth (Singh et al., 1998).
All these biotic and abiotic factors
result in increased ethylene level
within plant.
Ethylene: An inhibitor of plant
growth
Ethylene (CH2=CH2) is a gaseous plant
hormone required for normal
functioning of plant. It regulates many
physiological processes of plant
ranging from seed germination to
senescence. Ethylene could also be
involved in various stages of
symbiosis, including early response to
bacterial Nod factor, nodules
development, senescence and
abscission. However, its accelerated
level adversely affects plant growth
and development resulting in drastic
yield reduction. Moreover, the
exogenously applied ethylene
restrains infection thread elongation,
reduces number of nodules and
consequently, diminishes nitrogen
fixation in legumes. It has been well
established fact that ethylene
concentrations is increased in many
plants under biotic and abiotic stresses
resulting in inhibition of root/ shoot
ratio and nodules formation. Ethylene
is produced in plants through its
precursor
1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
(ACC). During the process of
nodulation, root infection with
microbial symbiont imposes biotic
stress and result in increased level of
ACC in infected roots. The
consequence of this increased ACC
leads to enhanced level of ethylene by
the activity of ACC-oxidase.
Plant growth promoting
rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase
In soil, there are certain plant growth
promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR)
which have unique enzyme,
1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
deaminase (ACC-deaminase) that
hydrolyses the ACC into ammonia
and -ketobutyrate and thus reduces
the endogenous level of ethylene.
Hence, plants grown in association
with such bacteria have better root
and shoot growth, and are more
resistant to growth inhibition by a
variety of ethylene inducing stresses
(Glick, 2007; Shehzad, 2009).
Bio-association with rhizobia
and PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase
Nitrogen fixing bacteria of genus
Rhizobium form nodules in the roots
of leguminous plants such as lentil,
mung bean and chickpea etc. are
called rhizobia. These rhizobia are
thought to be responsible for most of
the biologically fixed nitrogen in
symbiotic association with legumes. A
beneficial relationship exists between
plant and rhizobia because plant
rhizobia provide nitrogen and bacteria
need energy for their growth.
ACC-deaminase producing capability
of rhizobia is less compared to that of
rhizobacteria (Duan et al., 2009).
Therefore, bio-association with
rhizobia and PGPR containing
Microbial biotechnology for
sustainable production
of legumes
b
i
o
t
e
c
h
n
o
l
o
g
y
8
Zahir Ahmad Zahir, Saqib Saleem Akhtar
and Muhammad Baqir Hussain
Crops belonging to family Leguminosae are generally referred to as
legumes. Pulses are also known as poor mans protein. Due to
substantial increase in human population, the demand for pulses
has increased many folds. But global warming, changing climatic
conditions and pathogen attacks are contributing to yield
reduction of the crop. Under both biotic and abiotic stresses, the
ethylene level enhances in plants which is considered to be one of
the important factors in yield reduction.
In soil, nature has gifted tiny populations (microbes) which have
certain enzymes (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase)
capable of reducing stress ethylene and thus enhancing crop yield
by relieving plants stress.
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
ACC-deaminase may be more
beneficial in suppressing
accelerated C2H4 synthesis
during biotic and abiotic stress
which may facilitate nodulation
and yield of legumes. In
addition to ACC-deaminase
activity other growth
promoting characters i.e.
production of phytohormones
and antibiotics etc. may also be
involved for enhancing the
legume productivity (Fig. 1).
Experimental proofs
In Soil Microbiology and
Biochemistry Laboratory at the
Institute of Soil and Environmental
Sciences, series of experiments were
conducted under axenic and natural
conditions on different legumes (lentil,
chickpea and mung bean) which
revealed that this biotechnology
(bio-association with rhizobia and
PGPR containing ACC-deaminase)
could be novel, useful and win-win
strategy for enhancing legumes
production. Rhizobacterial inoculation
usually increases root length and
ultimately plant growth while
rhizobial inoculation in legumes
increases nodulation and ultimately
yield of legumes. A significant
increase in root/shoot growth and
nodulation was recorded in each
legume (lentil, chickpea and mung
bean).
As legumes are important crops being
grown in arid and semi-arid regions of
Pakistan, so by use of rhizobia and
rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase as co-inoculant, we
can increase yield of legumes by
relieving biotic and abiotic plant
stresses.
Pot and field experiments
The work of different group of
scientists (Zahir et al., 2011; Qureshi et
al., 2009; Zafar-ul-Hye et al., 2007) has
shown that bio-association of PGPR
and Rhizobium gave outstanding
performance in improving the
productivity of legumes under pot
and field conditions.
Experiments conducted at research
area of the Institute of Soil and
Environmental Sciences, University of
Agriculture Faisalabad have shown
promising results of bio-association of
PGPR containing ACC-deaminase and
Rhizobium spp. for improving yield of
lentil, chickpea and mung bean (Fig.
2,3,4,5 and 6). Similarly,
bio-associative impact on mung bean
was recorded in suburbs of Faisalabad
and Haroonabad (District
Bahwalnagar) under saline conditions. The results are quite proficient and
justify the positive improvement due
to co-inoculation of rhizobia and
ACC-deaminase containing PGPR.
Classical triple response
The credibility of the selected strains
of lentil, chickpea and mung bean was
also verified by conducting classical
triple response bioassay under axenic
condition. This effect consists of three
distinct morphological changes in the
shape of the seedlings, including the
inhibition of stem elongation, radial
swelling of the stem and a change in
the direction of growth. It is a reliable
marker in assessing the competency of
microbial strains in diluting/ reducing
the intensity of classical triple
response of etiolated legumes
seedlings. Results showed that
bio-associative inoculation with
rhizobia and PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase of legumes seedlings
eliminated the classical triple
response just like the chemical
inhibitor Co2+, which inhibited the
activity of ACC-oxidase and
prevented the conversion of ACC into
ethylene (Fig. 7).
Development of a biofertilizer
After a series of experiments during
the last six years under ALP-PARC
and HEC funded research projects,
Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry
Laboratory, Institute of Soil and
Environmental Sciences, University of
Agriculture, Faisalabad have isolated
number of strains, which eliminate/
reduce the inhibitory effect of high
ethylene concentrations and plant
develops a better root system.
Moreover, these microbial strains can
also help in alleviating plants stresses.
Based on the results of field trials, a
multi-strain biofertilizer has been
prepared and is ready for extensive
evaluation on farmers fields. It is
prepared by the combination of two to
three PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase strains for each
legume along with its specific
rhizobium strain. Hence, by using this
biofertilizer we may not only enhance
food security but also improve food
quality on sustained basis.
References
Duan, J., Kirsten, M., Mller, C., Charles,
T., Vesely, S. and Glick, B.R. (2009).
1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
(ACC) deaminase genes in rhizobia from
southern Saskatchewan. Microbial
Ecology 57: 423-436.
Glick, B.R., Cheng, Z., Czarny, J.C. and
Duan, J. (2007). Promotion of plant
growth by ACC-deaminase containing
soil bacteria. European Journal of Plant
Pathology 119: 329-339.
Goldstein, A.H. (1986). Bacterial
solubilization of mineral phosphates:
Historical perspective and future
prospects. American Journal of
Alternative Agriculture 1: 51-57.
Qureshi, M.A., Ahmad, M.J., Naveed,
M., Iqbal, A., Akhtar, N. and Niazi.
K.H. (2009). Co-inoculation with
Mesorhizobium ciceri and Azotobacter
chroococcum for improving growth,
nodulation and yield of chickpea (Cicer
arietinum L.). Soil Environment 28:
124-129.
Shehzad, S.M. (2009). Potential of rhizobia
and free living rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase for improving
nodulation and yield of chickpea (Cicer
arietinum L.). PhD thesis, University of
Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Singh, K.B., Ocampo, B. and Robertson,
L.D. (1998). Diversity for abiotic and
biotic stress resistance in the wild annual
Cicer species. Genetic Resources and
Crop Evolution 45: 9-17.
Zafar-ul-Hye, M., Zahir, Z.A., Shahzad,
S.M., Naveed, M., Arshad, M. and
Khalid., M. (2007). Preleminary
Screening of rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase for promoting growth of
lentil seedlings under axenic condition.
Pakistan Journal of Botany 39:
1725-1738.
Zahir, Z.A., Zafar-ul-Hye, M., Sajid, S.
and Naveed., M. (2011). Comparative
effectiveness of Pseudomonas and Serratia
sp. containing ACC-deaminase for
co-inoculation with Rhizobium
leguminosarum to improve growth,
nodulation, and yield of lentil. Biology
and Fertility of Soils 47: 457-465.FO
9
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
There are several factors which
contribute to low productivity of
legumes including exhaustion of soil
nutrients, shortage of water as well as
poor quality ground water, buildup of
pathogenic fungal diseases,
temperature stress during
reproductive stage, a bad soil
structure, excessive moisture,
ineffectiveness of Rhizobium species
and severe drought stress at initial
stages of growth (Singh et al., 1998).
All these biotic and abiotic factors
result in increased ethylene level
within plant.
Ethylene: An inhibitor of plant
growth
Ethylene (CH2=CH2) is a gaseous plant
hormone required for normal
functioning of plant. It regulates many
physiological processes of plant
ranging from seed germination to
senescence. Ethylene could also be
involved in various stages of
symbiosis, including early response to
bacterial Nod factor, nodules
development, senescence and
abscission. However, its accelerated
level adversely affects plant growth
and development resulting in drastic
yield reduction. Moreover, the
exogenously applied ethylene
restrains infection thread elongation,
reduces number of nodules and
consequently, diminishes nitrogen
fixation in legumes. It has been well
established fact that ethylene
concentrations is increased in many
plants under biotic and abiotic stresses
resulting in inhibition of root/ shoot
ratio and nodules formation. Ethylene
is produced in plants through its
precursor
1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
(ACC). During the process of
nodulation, root infection with
microbial symbiont imposes biotic
stress and result in increased level of
ACC in infected roots. The
consequence of this increased ACC
leads to enhanced level of ethylene by
the activity of ACC-oxidase.
Plant growth promoting
rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase
In soil, there are certain plant growth
promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR)
which have unique enzyme,
1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
deaminase (ACC-deaminase) that
hydrolyses the ACC into ammonia
and -ketobutyrate and thus reduces
the endogenous level of ethylene.
Hence, plants grown in association
with such bacteria have better root
and shoot growth, and are more
resistant to growth inhibition by a
variety of ethylene inducing stresses
(Glick, 2007; Shehzad, 2009).
Bio-association with rhizobia
and PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase
Nitrogen fixing bacteria of genus
Rhizobium form nodules in the roots
of leguminous plants such as lentil,
mung bean and chickpea etc. are
called rhizobia. These rhizobia are
thought to be responsible for most of
the biologically fixed nitrogen in
symbiotic association with legumes. A
beneficial relationship exists between
plant and rhizobia because plant
rhizobia provide nitrogen and bacteria
need energy for their growth.
ACC-deaminase producing capability
of rhizobia is less compared to that of
rhizobacteria (Duan et al., 2009).
Therefore, bio-association with
rhizobia and PGPR containing
Crops belonging to family Leguminosae are generally referred to as
legumes. Pulses are also known as poor mans protein. Due to
substantial increase in human population, the demand for pulses
has increased many folds. But global warming, changing climatic
conditions and pathogen attacks are contributing to yield
reduction of the crop. Under both biotic and abiotic stresses, the
ethylene level enhances in plants which is considered to be one of
the important factors in yield reduction.
In soil, nature has gifted tiny populations (microbes) which have
certain enzymes (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase)
capable of reducing stress ethylene and thus enhancing crop yield
by relieving plants stress.
ACC-deaminase may be more
beneficial in suppressing
accelerated C2H4 synthesis
during biotic and abiotic stress
which may facilitate nodulation
and yield of legumes. In
addition to ACC-deaminase
activity other growth
promoting characters i.e.
production of phytohormones
and antibiotics etc. may also be
involved for enhancing the
legume productivity (Fig. 1).
Experimental proofs
In Soil Microbiology and
Biochemistry Laboratory at the
Institute of Soil and Environmental
Sciences, series of experiments were
conducted under axenic and natural
conditions on different legumes (lentil,
chickpea and mung bean) which
revealed that this biotechnology
(bio-association with rhizobia and
PGPR containing ACC-deaminase)
could be novel, useful and win-win
strategy for enhancing legumes
production. Rhizobacterial inoculation
usually increases root length and
ultimately plant growth while
rhizobial inoculation in legumes
increases nodulation and ultimately
yield of legumes. A significant
increase in root/shoot growth and
nodulation was recorded in each
legume (lentil, chickpea and mung
bean).
As legumes are important crops being
grown in arid and semi-arid regions of
Pakistan, so by use of rhizobia and
rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase as co-inoculant, we
can increase yield of legumes by
relieving biotic and abiotic plant
stresses.
Pot and field experiments
The work of different group of
scientists (Zahir et al., 2011; Qureshi et
al., 2009; Zafar-ul-Hye et al., 2007) has
shown that bio-association of PGPR
and Rhizobium gave outstanding
performance in improving the
productivity of legumes under pot
and field conditions.
Experiments conducted at research
area of the Institute of Soil and
Environmental Sciences, University of
Agriculture Faisalabad have shown
promising results of bio-association of
PGPR containing ACC-deaminase and
Rhizobium spp. for improving yield of
lentil, chickpea and mung bean (Fig.
2,3,4,5 and 6). Similarly,
bio-associative impact on mung bean
was recorded in suburbs of Faisalabad
and Haroonabad (District
Bahwalnagar) under saline conditions. The results are quite proficient and
justify the positive improvement due
to co-inoculation of rhizobia and
ACC-deaminase containing PGPR.
Classical triple response
The credibility of the selected strains
of lentil, chickpea and mung bean was
also verified by conducting classical
triple response bioassay under axenic
condition. This effect consists of three
distinct morphological changes in the
shape of the seedlings, including the
inhibition of stem elongation, radial
swelling of the stem and a change in
the direction of growth. It is a reliable
marker in assessing the competency of
microbial strains in diluting/ reducing
the intensity of classical triple
response of etiolated legumes
seedlings. Results showed that
bio-associative inoculation with
rhizobia and PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase of legumes seedlings
eliminated the classical triple
response just like the chemical
inhibitor Co2+, which inhibited the
activity of ACC-oxidase and
prevented the conversion of ACC into
ethylene (Fig. 7).
Development of a biofertilizer
After a series of experiments during
the last six years under ALP-PARC
and HEC funded research projects,
Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry
Laboratory, Institute of Soil and
Environmental Sciences, University of
Agriculture, Faisalabad have isolated
number of strains, which eliminate/
reduce the inhibitory effect of high
ethylene concentrations and plant
develops a better root system.
Moreover, these microbial strains can
also help in alleviating plants stresses.
Based on the results of field trials, a
multi-strain biofertilizer has been
prepared and is ready for extensive
evaluation on farmers fields. It is
prepared by the combination of two to
three PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase strains for each
legume along with its specific
rhizobium strain. Hence, by using this
biofertilizer we may not only enhance
food security but also improve food
quality on sustained basis.
References
Duan, J., Kirsten, M., Mller, C., Charles,
T., Vesely, S. and Glick, B.R. (2009).
1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
(ACC) deaminase genes in rhizobia from
southern Saskatchewan. Microbial
Ecology 57: 423-436.
Glick, B.R., Cheng, Z., Czarny, J.C. and
Duan, J. (2007). Promotion of plant
growth by ACC-deaminase containing
soil bacteria. European Journal of Plant
Pathology 119: 329-339.
Goldstein, A.H. (1986). Bacterial
solubilization of mineral phosphates:
Historical perspective and future
prospects. American Journal of
Alternative Agriculture 1: 51-57.
Qureshi, M.A., Ahmad, M.J., Naveed,
M., Iqbal, A., Akhtar, N. and Niazi.
K.H. (2009). Co-inoculation with
Mesorhizobium ciceri and Azotobacter
chroococcum for improving growth,
nodulation and yield of chickpea (Cicer
arietinum L.). Soil Environment 28:
124-129.
Shehzad, S.M. (2009). Potential of rhizobia
and free living rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase for improving
nodulation and yield of chickpea (Cicer
arietinum L.). PhD thesis, University of
Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Singh, K.B., Ocampo, B. and Robertson,
L.D. (1998). Diversity for abiotic and
biotic stress resistance in the wild annual
Cicer species. Genetic Resources and
Crop Evolution 45: 9-17.
Zafar-ul-Hye, M., Zahir, Z.A., Shahzad,
S.M., Naveed, M., Arshad, M. and
Khalid., M. (2007). Preleminary
Screening of rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase for promoting growth of
lentil seedlings under axenic condition.
Pakistan Journal of Botany 39:
1725-1738.
Zahir, Z.A., Zafar-ul-Hye, M., Sajid, S.
and Naveed., M. (2011). Comparative
effectiveness of Pseudomonas and Serratia
sp. containing ACC-deaminase for
co-inoculation with Rhizobium
leguminosarum to improve growth,
nodulation, and yield of lentil. Biology
and Fertility of Soils 47: 457-465.FO
There are several factors which
contribute to low productivity of
legumes including exhaustion of soil
nutrients, shortage of water as well as
poor quality ground water, buildup of
pathogenic fungal diseases,
temperature stress during
reproductive stage, a bad soil
structure, excessive moisture,
ineffectiveness of Rhizobium species
and severe drought stress at initial
stages of growth (Singh et al., 1998).
All these biotic and abiotic factors
result in increased ethylene level
within plant.
Ethylene: An inhibitor of plant
growth
Ethylene (CH2=CH2) is a gaseous plant
hormone required for normal
functioning of plant. It regulates many
physiological processes of plant
ranging from seed germination to
senescence. Ethylene could also be
involved in various stages of
symbiosis, including early response to
bacterial Nod factor, nodules
development, senescence and
abscission. However, its accelerated
level adversely affects plant growth
and development resulting in drastic
yield reduction. Moreover, the
exogenously applied ethylene
restrains infection thread elongation,
reduces number of nodules and
consequently, diminishes nitrogen
fixation in legumes. It has been well
established fact that ethylene
concentrations is increased in many
plants under biotic and abiotic stresses
resulting in inhibition of root/ shoot
ratio and nodules formation. Ethylene
is produced in plants through its
precursor
1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
(ACC). During the process of
nodulation, root infection with
microbial symbiont imposes biotic
stress and result in increased level of
ACC in infected roots. The
consequence of this increased ACC
leads to enhanced level of ethylene by
the activity of ACC-oxidase.
Plant growth promoting
rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase
In soil, there are certain plant growth
promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR)
which have unique enzyme,
1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
deaminase (ACC-deaminase) that
hydrolyses the ACC into ammonia
and -ketobutyrate and thus reduces
the endogenous level of ethylene.
Hence, plants grown in association
with such bacteria have better root
and shoot growth, and are more
resistant to growth inhibition by a
variety of ethylene inducing stresses
(Glick, 2007; Shehzad, 2009).
Bio-association with rhizobia
and PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase
Nitrogen fixing bacteria of genus
Rhizobium form nodules in the roots
of leguminous plants such as lentil,
mung bean and chickpea etc. are
called rhizobia. These rhizobia are
thought to be responsible for most of
the biologically fixed nitrogen in
symbiotic association with legumes. A
beneficial relationship exists between
plant and rhizobia because plant
rhizobia provide nitrogen and bacteria
need energy for their growth.
ACC-deaminase producing capability
of rhizobia is less compared to that of
rhizobacteria (Duan et al., 2009).
Therefore, bio-association with
rhizobia and PGPR containing
Crops belonging to family Leguminosae are generally referred to as
legumes. Pulses are also known as poor mans protein. Due to
substantial increase in human population, the demand for pulses
has increased many folds. But global warming, changing climatic
conditions and pathogen attacks are contributing to yield
reduction of the crop. Under both biotic and abiotic stresses, the
ethylene level enhances in plants which is considered to be one of
the important factors in yield reduction.
In soil, nature has gifted tiny populations (microbes) which have
certain enzymes (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase)
capable of reducing stress ethylene and thus enhancing crop yield
by relieving plants stress.
ACC-deaminase may be more
beneficial in suppressing
accelerated C2H4 synthesis
during biotic and abiotic stress
which may facilitate nodulation
and yield of legumes. In
addition to ACC-deaminase
activity other growth
promoting characters i.e.
production of phytohormones
and antibiotics etc. may also be
involved for enhancing the
legume productivity (Fig. 1).
Experimental proofs
In Soil Microbiology and
Biochemistry Laboratory at the
Institute of Soil and Environmental
Sciences, series of experiments were
conducted under axenic and natural
conditions on different legumes (lentil,
chickpea and mung bean) which
revealed that this biotechnology
(bio-association with rhizobia and
PGPR containing ACC-deaminase)
could be novel, useful and win-win
strategy for enhancing legumes
production. Rhizobacterial inoculation
usually increases root length and
ultimately plant growth while
rhizobial inoculation in legumes
increases nodulation and ultimately
yield of legumes. A significant
increase in root/shoot growth and
nodulation was recorded in each
legume (lentil, chickpea and mung
bean).
As legumes are important crops being
grown in arid and semi-arid regions of
Pakistan, so by use of rhizobia and
rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase as co-inoculant, we
can increase yield of legumes by
relieving biotic and abiotic plant
stresses.
Pot and field experiments
The work of different group of
scientists (Zahir et al., 2011; Qureshi et
al., 2009; Zafar-ul-Hye et al., 2007) has
shown that bio-association of PGPR
and Rhizobium gave outstanding
performance in improving the
productivity of legumes under pot
and field conditions.
Experiments conducted at research
area of the Institute of Soil and
Environmental Sciences, University of
Agriculture Faisalabad have shown
promising results of bio-association of
PGPR containing ACC-deaminase and
Rhizobium spp. for improving yield of
lentil, chickpea and mung bean (Fig.
2,3,4,5 and 6). Similarly,
bio-associative impact on mung bean
was recorded in suburbs of Faisalabad
and Haroonabad (District
Bahwalnagar) under saline conditions.
10
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
Figure 1: Mechanism of bio-association with rhizobia and PGPR in
enhancing legume productivity
Figure 2: Effect of
bio-association with
rhizobacteria and
rhizobia on plant growth
and nodulation of lentil
in field trials
The results are quite proficient and
justify the positive improvement due
to co-inoculation of rhizobia and
ACC-deaminase containing PGPR.
Classical triple response
The credibility of the selected strains
of lentil, chickpea and mung bean was
also verified by conducting classical
triple response bioassay under axenic
condition. This effect consists of three
distinct morphological changes in the
shape of the seedlings, including the
inhibition of stem elongation, radial
swelling of the stem and a change in
the direction of growth. It is a reliable
marker in assessing the competency of
microbial strains in diluting/ reducing
the intensity of classical triple
response of etiolated legumes
seedlings. Results showed that
bio-associative inoculation with
rhizobia and PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase of legumes seedlings
eliminated the classical triple
response just like the chemical
inhibitor Co2+, which inhibited the
activity of ACC-oxidase and
prevented the conversion of ACC into
ethylene (Fig. 7).
Development of a biofertilizer
After a series of experiments during
the last six years under ALP-PARC
and HEC funded research projects,
Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry
Laboratory, Institute of Soil and
Environmental Sciences, University of
Agriculture, Faisalabad have isolated
number of strains, which eliminate/
reduce the inhibitory effect of high
ethylene concentrations and plant
develops a better root system.
Moreover, these microbial strains can
also help in alleviating plants stresses.
Based on the results of field trials, a
multi-strain biofertilizer has been
prepared and is ready for extensive
evaluation on farmers fields. It is
prepared by the combination of two to
three PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase strains for each
legume along with its specific
rhizobium strain. Hence, by using this
biofertilizer we may not only enhance
food security but also improve food
quality on sustained basis.
References
Duan, J., Kirsten, M., Mller, C., Charles,
T., Vesely, S. and Glick, B.R. (2009).
1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
(ACC) deaminase genes in rhizobia from
southern Saskatchewan. Microbial
Ecology 57: 423-436.
Glick, B.R., Cheng, Z., Czarny, J.C. and
Duan, J. (2007). Promotion of plant
growth by ACC-deaminase containing
soil bacteria. European Journal of Plant
Pathology 119: 329-339.
Goldstein, A.H. (1986). Bacterial
solubilization of mineral phosphates:
Historical perspective and future
prospects. American Journal of
Alternative Agriculture 1: 51-57.
Qureshi, M.A., Ahmad, M.J., Naveed,
M., Iqbal, A., Akhtar, N. and Niazi.
K.H. (2009). Co-inoculation with
Mesorhizobium ciceri and Azotobacter
chroococcum for improving growth,
nodulation and yield of chickpea (Cicer
arietinum L.). Soil Environment 28:
124-129.
Shehzad, S.M. (2009). Potential of rhizobia
and free living rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase for improving
nodulation and yield of chickpea (Cicer
arietinum L.). PhD thesis, University of
Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Singh, K.B., Ocampo, B. and Robertson,
L.D. (1998). Diversity for abiotic and
biotic stress resistance in the wild annual
Cicer species. Genetic Resources and
Crop Evolution 45: 9-17.
Zafar-ul-Hye, M., Zahir, Z.A., Shahzad,
S.M., Naveed, M., Arshad, M. and
Khalid., M. (2007). Preleminary
Screening of rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase for promoting growth of
lentil seedlings under axenic condition.
Pakistan Journal of Botany 39:
1725-1738.
Zahir, Z.A., Zafar-ul-Hye, M., Sajid, S.
and Naveed., M. (2011). Comparative
effectiveness of Pseudomonas and Serratia
sp. containing ACC-deaminase for
co-inoculation with Rhizobium
leguminosarum to improve growth,
nodulation, and yield of lentil. Biology
and Fertility of Soils 47: 457-465.FO
There are several factors which
contribute to low productivity of
legumes including exhaustion of soil
nutrients, shortage of water as well as
poor quality ground water, buildup of
pathogenic fungal diseases,
temperature stress during
reproductive stage, a bad soil
structure, excessive moisture,
ineffectiveness of Rhizobium species
and severe drought stress at initial
stages of growth (Singh et al., 1998).
All these biotic and abiotic factors
result in increased ethylene level
within plant.
Ethylene: An inhibitor of plant
growth
Ethylene (CH2=CH2) is a gaseous plant
hormone required for normal
functioning of plant. It regulates many
physiological processes of plant
ranging from seed germination to
senescence. Ethylene could also be
involved in various stages of
symbiosis, including early response to
bacterial Nod factor, nodules
development, senescence and
abscission. However, its accelerated
level adversely affects plant growth
and development resulting in drastic
yield reduction. Moreover, the
exogenously applied ethylene
restrains infection thread elongation,
reduces number of nodules and
consequently, diminishes nitrogen
fixation in legumes. It has been well
established fact that ethylene
concentrations is increased in many
plants under biotic and abiotic stresses
resulting in inhibition of root/ shoot
ratio and nodules formation. Ethylene
is produced in plants through its
precursor
1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
(ACC). During the process of
nodulation, root infection with
microbial symbiont imposes biotic
stress and result in increased level of
ACC in infected roots. The
consequence of this increased ACC
leads to enhanced level of ethylene by
the activity of ACC-oxidase.
Plant growth promoting
rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase
In soil, there are certain plant growth
promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR)
which have unique enzyme,
1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
deaminase (ACC-deaminase) that
hydrolyses the ACC into ammonia
and -ketobutyrate and thus reduces
the endogenous level of ethylene.
Hence, plants grown in association
with such bacteria have better root
and shoot growth, and are more
resistant to growth inhibition by a
variety of ethylene inducing stresses
(Glick, 2007; Shehzad, 2009).
Bio-association with rhizobia
and PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase
Nitrogen fixing bacteria of genus
Rhizobium form nodules in the roots
of leguminous plants such as lentil,
mung bean and chickpea etc. are
called rhizobia. These rhizobia are
thought to be responsible for most of
the biologically fixed nitrogen in
symbiotic association with legumes. A
beneficial relationship exists between
plant and rhizobia because plant
rhizobia provide nitrogen and bacteria
need energy for their growth.
ACC-deaminase producing capability
of rhizobia is less compared to that of
rhizobacteria (Duan et al., 2009).
Therefore, bio-association with
rhizobia and PGPR containing
Crops belonging to family Leguminosae are generally referred to as
legumes. Pulses are also known as poor mans protein. Due to
substantial increase in human population, the demand for pulses
has increased many folds. But global warming, changing climatic
conditions and pathogen attacks are contributing to yield
reduction of the crop. Under both biotic and abiotic stresses, the
ethylene level enhances in plants which is considered to be one of
the important factors in yield reduction.
In soil, nature has gifted tiny populations (microbes) which have
certain enzymes (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase)
capable of reducing stress ethylene and thus enhancing crop yield
by relieving plants stress.
ACC-deaminase may be more
beneficial in suppressing
accelerated C2H4 synthesis
during biotic and abiotic stress
which may facilitate nodulation
and yield of legumes. In
addition to ACC-deaminase
activity other growth
promoting characters i.e.
production of phytohormones
and antibiotics etc. may also be
involved for enhancing the
legume productivity (Fig. 1).
Experimental proofs
In Soil Microbiology and
Biochemistry Laboratory at the
Institute of Soil and Environmental
Sciences, series of experiments were
conducted under axenic and natural
conditions on different legumes (lentil,
chickpea and mung bean) which
revealed that this biotechnology
(bio-association with rhizobia and
PGPR containing ACC-deaminase)
could be novel, useful and win-win
strategy for enhancing legumes
production. Rhizobacterial inoculation
usually increases root length and
ultimately plant growth while
rhizobial inoculation in legumes
increases nodulation and ultimately
yield of legumes. A significant
increase in root/shoot growth and
nodulation was recorded in each
legume (lentil, chickpea and mung
bean).
As legumes are important crops being
grown in arid and semi-arid regions of
Pakistan, so by use of rhizobia and
rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase as co-inoculant, we
can increase yield of legumes by
relieving biotic and abiotic plant
stresses.
Pot and field experiments
The work of different group of
scientists (Zahir et al., 2011; Qureshi et
al., 2009; Zafar-ul-Hye et al., 2007) has
shown that bio-association of PGPR
and Rhizobium gave outstanding
performance in improving the
productivity of legumes under pot
and field conditions.
Experiments conducted at research
area of the Institute of Soil and
Environmental Sciences, University of
Agriculture Faisalabad have shown
promising results of bio-association of
PGPR containing ACC-deaminase and
Rhizobium spp. for improving yield of
lentil, chickpea and mung bean (Fig.
2,3,4,5 and 6). Similarly,
bio-associative impact on mung bean
was recorded in suburbs of Faisalabad
and Haroonabad (District
Bahwalnagar) under saline conditions. The results are quite proficient and
justify the positive improvement due
to co-inoculation of rhizobia and
ACC-deaminase containing PGPR.
Classical triple response
The credibility of the selected strains
of lentil, chickpea and mung bean was
also verified by conducting classical
triple response bioassay under axenic
condition. This effect consists of three
distinct morphological changes in the
shape of the seedlings, including the
inhibition of stem elongation, radial
swelling of the stem and a change in
the direction of growth. It is a reliable
marker in assessing the competency of
microbial strains in diluting/ reducing
the intensity of classical triple
response of etiolated legumes
seedlings. Results showed that
bio-associative inoculation with
rhizobia and PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase of legumes seedlings
eliminated the classical triple
response just like the chemical
inhibitor Co2+, which inhibited the
activity of ACC-oxidase and
prevented the conversion of ACC into
ethylene (Fig. 7).
11
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
Figure 3: Effect of
bio-association
with rhizobacteria
and rhizobia on
plant growth and
nodulation of
chickpea in field
trials
Figure 4: Impact of single strain and
bio-associative inoculation of rhizobia
and PGPR containing ACC-deaminase on
grain yield of lentil (Average of two field
trials)
Figure 5: Impact of single strain and
bio-associative inoculation of rhizobia
and PGPR containing ACC-deaminase on
grain yield of chickpea (Average of two
field trials)
Figure 6: Impact of single strain and
bio-associative inoculation of rhizobia
and PGPR containing ACC-deaminase on
grain yield of mung bean (Average of
two field trials)
Figure 7: Change in classical triple
response of legume seedlings due to
bio-associative inoculation with rhizobia
and PGPR containing ACC-deaminase
Development of a biofertilizer
After a series of experiments during
the last six years under ALP-PARC
and HEC funded research projects,
Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry
Laboratory, Institute of Soil and
Environmental Sciences, University of
Agriculture, Faisalabad have isolated
number of strains, which eliminate/
reduce the inhibitory effect of high
ethylene concentrations and plant
develops a better root system.
Moreover, these microbial strains can
also help in alleviating plants stresses.
Based on the results of field trials, a
multi-strain biofertilizer has been
prepared and is ready for extensive
evaluation on farmers fields. It is
prepared by the combination of two to
three PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase strains for each
legume along with its specific
rhizobium strain. Hence, by using this
biofertilizer we may not only enhance
food security but also improve food
quality on sustained basis.
References
Duan, J., Kirsten, M., Mller, C., Charles,
T., Vesely, S. and Glick, B.R. (2009).
1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
(ACC) deaminase genes in rhizobia from
southern Saskatchewan. Microbial
Ecology 57: 423-436.
Glick, B.R., Cheng, Z., Czarny, J.C. and
Duan, J. (2007). Promotion of plant
growth by ACC-deaminase containing
soil bacteria. European Journal of Plant
Pathology 119: 329-339.
Goldstein, A.H. (1986). Bacterial
solubilization of mineral phosphates:
Historical perspective and future
prospects. American Journal of
Alternative Agriculture 1: 51-57.
Qureshi, M.A., Ahmad, M.J., Naveed,
M., Iqbal, A., Akhtar, N. and Niazi.
K.H. (2009). Co-inoculation with
Mesorhizobium ciceri and Azotobacter
chroococcum for improving growth,
nodulation and yield of chickpea (Cicer
arietinum L.). Soil Environment 28:
124-129.
Shehzad, S.M. (2009). Potential of rhizobia
and free living rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase for improving
nodulation and yield of chickpea (Cicer
arietinum L.). PhD thesis, University of
Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Singh, K.B., Ocampo, B. and Robertson,
L.D. (1998). Diversity for abiotic and
biotic stress resistance in the wild annual
Cicer species. Genetic Resources and
Crop Evolution 45: 9-17.
Zafar-ul-Hye, M., Zahir, Z.A., Shahzad,
S.M., Naveed, M., Arshad, M. and
Khalid., M. (2007). Preleminary
Screening of rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase for promoting growth of
lentil seedlings under axenic condition.
Pakistan Journal of Botany 39:
1725-1738.
Zahir, Z.A., Zafar-ul-Hye, M., Sajid, S.
and Naveed., M. (2011). Comparative
effectiveness of Pseudomonas and Serratia
sp. containing ACC-deaminase for
co-inoculation with Rhizobium
leguminosarum to improve growth,
nodulation, and yield of lentil. Biology
and Fertility of Soils 47: 457-465.FO
There are several factors which
contribute to low productivity of
legumes including exhaustion of soil
nutrients, shortage of water as well as
poor quality ground water, buildup of
pathogenic fungal diseases,
temperature stress during
reproductive stage, a bad soil
structure, excessive moisture,
ineffectiveness of Rhizobium species
and severe drought stress at initial
stages of growth (Singh et al., 1998).
All these biotic and abiotic factors
result in increased ethylene level
within plant.
Ethylene: An inhibitor of plant
growth
Ethylene (CH2=CH2) is a gaseous plant
hormone required for normal
functioning of plant. It regulates many
physiological processes of plant
ranging from seed germination to
senescence. Ethylene could also be
involved in various stages of
symbiosis, including early response to
bacterial Nod factor, nodules
development, senescence and
abscission. However, its accelerated
level adversely affects plant growth
and development resulting in drastic
yield reduction. Moreover, the
exogenously applied ethylene
restrains infection thread elongation,
reduces number of nodules and
consequently, diminishes nitrogen
fixation in legumes. It has been well
established fact that ethylene
concentrations is increased in many
plants under biotic and abiotic stresses
resulting in inhibition of root/ shoot
ratio and nodules formation. Ethylene
is produced in plants through its
precursor
1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
(ACC). During the process of
nodulation, root infection with
microbial symbiont imposes biotic
stress and result in increased level of
ACC in infected roots. The
consequence of this increased ACC
leads to enhanced level of ethylene by
the activity of ACC-oxidase.
Plant growth promoting
rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase
In soil, there are certain plant growth
promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR)
which have unique enzyme,
1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
deaminase (ACC-deaminase) that
hydrolyses the ACC into ammonia
and -ketobutyrate and thus reduces
the endogenous level of ethylene.
Hence, plants grown in association
with such bacteria have better root
and shoot growth, and are more
resistant to growth inhibition by a
variety of ethylene inducing stresses
(Glick, 2007; Shehzad, 2009).
Bio-association with rhizobia
and PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase
Nitrogen fixing bacteria of genus
Rhizobium form nodules in the roots
of leguminous plants such as lentil,
mung bean and chickpea etc. are
called rhizobia. These rhizobia are
thought to be responsible for most of
the biologically fixed nitrogen in
symbiotic association with legumes. A
beneficial relationship exists between
plant and rhizobia because plant
rhizobia provide nitrogen and bacteria
need energy for their growth.
ACC-deaminase producing capability
of rhizobia is less compared to that of
rhizobacteria (Duan et al., 2009).
Therefore, bio-association with
rhizobia and PGPR containing
Crops belonging to family Leguminosae are generally referred to as
legumes. Pulses are also known as poor mans protein. Due to
substantial increase in human population, the demand for pulses
has increased many folds. But global warming, changing climatic
conditions and pathogen attacks are contributing to yield
reduction of the crop. Under both biotic and abiotic stresses, the
ethylene level enhances in plants which is considered to be one of
the important factors in yield reduction.
In soil, nature has gifted tiny populations (microbes) which have
certain enzymes (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase)
capable of reducing stress ethylene and thus enhancing crop yield
by relieving plants stress.
ACC-deaminase may be more
beneficial in suppressing
accelerated C2H4 synthesis
during biotic and abiotic stress
which may facilitate nodulation
and yield of legumes. In
addition to ACC-deaminase
activity other growth
promoting characters i.e.
production of phytohormones
and antibiotics etc. may also be
involved for enhancing the
legume productivity (Fig. 1).
Experimental proofs
In Soil Microbiology and
Biochemistry Laboratory at the
Institute of Soil and Environmental
Sciences, series of experiments were
conducted under axenic and natural
conditions on different legumes (lentil,
chickpea and mung bean) which
revealed that this biotechnology
(bio-association with rhizobia and
PGPR containing ACC-deaminase)
could be novel, useful and win-win
strategy for enhancing legumes
production. Rhizobacterial inoculation
usually increases root length and
ultimately plant growth while
rhizobial inoculation in legumes
increases nodulation and ultimately
yield of legumes. A significant
increase in root/shoot growth and
nodulation was recorded in each
legume (lentil, chickpea and mung
bean).
As legumes are important crops being
grown in arid and semi-arid regions of
Pakistan, so by use of rhizobia and
rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase as co-inoculant, we
can increase yield of legumes by
relieving biotic and abiotic plant
stresses.
Pot and field experiments
The work of different group of
scientists (Zahir et al., 2011; Qureshi et
al., 2009; Zafar-ul-Hye et al., 2007) has
shown that bio-association of PGPR
and Rhizobium gave outstanding
performance in improving the
productivity of legumes under pot
and field conditions.
Experiments conducted at research
area of the Institute of Soil and
Environmental Sciences, University of
Agriculture Faisalabad have shown
promising results of bio-association of
PGPR containing ACC-deaminase and
Rhizobium spp. for improving yield of
lentil, chickpea and mung bean (Fig.
2,3,4,5 and 6). Similarly,
bio-associative impact on mung bean
was recorded in suburbs of Faisalabad
and Haroonabad (District
Bahwalnagar) under saline conditions. The results are quite proficient and
justify the positive improvement due
to co-inoculation of rhizobia and
ACC-deaminase containing PGPR.
Classical triple response
The credibility of the selected strains
of lentil, chickpea and mung bean was
also verified by conducting classical
triple response bioassay under axenic
condition. This effect consists of three
distinct morphological changes in the
shape of the seedlings, including the
inhibition of stem elongation, radial
swelling of the stem and a change in
the direction of growth. It is a reliable
marker in assessing the competency of
microbial strains in diluting/ reducing
the intensity of classical triple
response of etiolated legumes
seedlings. Results showed that
bio-associative inoculation with
rhizobia and PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase of legumes seedlings
eliminated the classical triple
response just like the chemical
inhibitor Co2+, which inhibited the
activity of ACC-oxidase and
prevented the conversion of ACC into
ethylene (Fig. 7).
Development of a biofertilizer
After a series of experiments during
the last six years under ALP-PARC
and HEC funded research projects,
Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry
Laboratory, Institute of Soil and
Environmental Sciences, University of
Agriculture, Faisalabad have isolated
number of strains, which eliminate/
reduce the inhibitory effect of high
ethylene concentrations and plant
develops a better root system.
Moreover, these microbial strains can
also help in alleviating plants stresses.
Based on the results of field trials, a
multi-strain biofertilizer has been
prepared and is ready for extensive
evaluation on farmers fields. It is
prepared by the combination of two to
three PGPR containing
ACC-deaminase strains for each
legume along with its specific
rhizobium strain. Hence, by using this
biofertilizer we may not only enhance
food security but also improve food
quality on sustained basis.
References
Duan, J., Kirsten, M., Mller, C., Charles,
T., Vesely, S. and Glick, B.R. (2009).
1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate
(ACC) deaminase genes in rhizobia from
southern Saskatchewan. Microbial
Ecology 57: 423-436.
Glick, B.R., Cheng, Z., Czarny, J.C. and
Duan, J. (2007). Promotion of plant
growth by ACC-deaminase containing
soil bacteria. European Journal of Plant
Pathology 119: 329-339.
Goldstein, A.H. (1986). Bacterial
solubilization of mineral phosphates:
Historical perspective and future
prospects. American Journal of
Alternative Agriculture 1: 51-57.
Qureshi, M.A., Ahmad, M.J., Naveed,
M., Iqbal, A., Akhtar, N. and Niazi.
K.H. (2009). Co-inoculation with
Mesorhizobium ciceri and Azotobacter
chroococcum for improving growth,
nodulation and yield of chickpea (Cicer
arietinum L.). Soil Environment 28:
124-129.
Shehzad, S.M. (2009). Potential of rhizobia
and free living rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase for improving
nodulation and yield of chickpea (Cicer
arietinum L.). PhD thesis, University of
Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Singh, K.B., Ocampo, B. and Robertson,
L.D. (1998). Diversity for abiotic and
biotic stress resistance in the wild annual
Cicer species. Genetic Resources and
Crop Evolution 45: 9-17.
Zafar-ul-Hye, M., Zahir, Z.A., Shahzad,
S.M., Naveed, M., Arshad, M. and
Khalid., M. (2007). Preleminary
Screening of rhizobacteria containing
ACC-deaminase for promoting growth of
lentil seedlings under axenic condition.
Pakistan Journal of Botany 39:
1725-1738.
Zahir, Z.A., Zafar-ul-Hye, M., Sajid, S.
and Naveed., M. (2011). Comparative
effectiveness of Pseudomonas and Serratia
sp. containing ACC-deaminase for
co-inoculation with Rhizobium
leguminosarum to improve growth,
nodulation, and yield of lentil. Biology
and Fertility of Soils 47: 457-465.FO
12
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
Professor Dr. Zahir Ahmad Zahir, Dr. Saqib Saleem Akhtar and Dr. Muhammad Baqir Hussain
are from the Institute of Soil & Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad,
Pakistan
pollens for their own needs as
well as for storing in colony which
are used in rearing of brood
Advantages of bee-pollination
A well planned use of pollination by
honey bees increases quality as well as
yield of crops and fruit production.
Insufficient pollination not only affects
yield but also quality of crops and
fruits. Following are some of the
advanedtages of bee pollination:
Effective pollination is necessary
in sterile varieties of almond and
apple for proper fruit set. For
commercial fruit set in apple 5-7
colonies of honey bee per hector
are essential.
Plum varieties depend much more
in honey bees for normal fruit
setting.
In citrus and mango 33-45 per cent
increase in yield have been
observed because of honey bee
pollination.
It has been observed that about
50-70 per cent yield of onion seed
increases by using
honey bees as
pollinators.
5-6 colonies of honey
bees per hector are
recommended for okra
which results increase
in yield up to 50 per
cent.
Honey bee pollination
results in increase in
yield up to 27 per cent
of sunflower.
20-50 per cent increase
in yield of brassica
crops can be obtained
by honey bee pollination.
Royal Jelly
Royal jelly is a creamy milky white
homogeneous substance which is
secreted by young honey bee workers.
Adult honey bee queen and young
brood feed directly on it. In cast
determination of queen and workers it
has major influence. Protein, lipids,
water, minerals and sugars are major
constituents of royal jelly. Properly
managed hive for a period of 5-6
months produces 500 grams of royal
jelly. It has limited shelf life.
Pollens
Pollen is another valuable product of
honey bees. Pollens are used as food
(protein sours) for brood and bees.
Vitamins, lipids, minerals and protein
are major constituents of pollens.
Body of honey bee worker becomes
dusted with pollen grain when it visits
flowers. Worker bee brushes its body
and accumulates pollen grains in the
form of pollen ball which are attached
to last pair of legs. Pollen traps are
1. Apis dorsata (Rock bee)
2. Apis florae (Little bee)
3. Apis cerana (Indian bee)
4. Apis mellifera (Eurpean bee)
Apis mellifera and Apis cerana are only
domesticated species while Apis florae
and Apis dorsata are wild type and
cannot be domesticated in hives.
Honey bees belong to Order
Hemenoptera and are highly social
insects. Division of labor exists in
honey bees which mean that a special
task in colony is performed by special
individuals. The cast system of honey
bee consist of Queen (fertile female
specialized for egg production),
Worker (female do all the work of the
colony) and Drone (male bee).
Honey bee products
Honey bees play very important role
in cross pollination of crops in
addition to this honey bees provide
valuable products to mankind like
honey, royal jelly, pollen, vex, bee
venom and propolis
Honey
Honey is produced by honey bees by
feeding on nectar from flowers of crop
plants and fruit trees. Enzymes are
present in stomach of bee workers
which are helpful in conversion of
nectar into honey. Honey bees store
honey in sealed combs and honey
contains about 80 per cent sugars
while the rest (16 to 26 per cent) is
water content. Organic acid, proteins,
copper, iron, potassium, phosphorous,
manganese is also present in honey.
Honey is thick liquid and its viscosity
reduces by heat.
Honey has medicinal value,
particularly for the cardiac patients
who get relief by using honey because
it strengthens heart muscles. Further,
its regular use increases red blood
cells by about 25 to 30 per cent. It has
been found good in treatment of
digestive tract. Honey is used to treat
hemorrhage, constipation, permanent
weight loss and cancer.
Honey bees as pollinator
Besides honey, honeybees play a very
important role in the pollination of
crops and food trees. About fifty
percent plant species which are
propagated by seeds are dependant on
insects for effective pollination.
Pollination is transfer of pollen grains
from anther to stigma of same flower.
Similarly this transfer of pollen grain
also occurs between two different
flowers which is termed as cross
pollination. About 85 per cent crop
plants are cross pollinated and depend
myainly on bees to transfer pollen
from different flowers of same specie.
Flowers have different modification
for attraction of insects like coloration,
nectar guide pattern and fragrance etc.
The elements which make honey bees
an ideal agent of pollination are
Instead of providing pollination
services to single genus or specie
they have ability to pollinate
number of agricultural crops.
Honey bees have different
modifications on their body to
carry pollens.
They have ability to work
constantly for long time on crop
on which they start foraging
Honey bees collect nectar and
Beekeeping: Apiculture
i
n
n
o
v
a
t
i
o
n
s
13
Muhammad Naeem
Rearing of bees in hives for the production of honey is called
apiculture, and the place where bees are kept is termed as Apiary.
Honey bees are considered among one of the oldest form of animal
life which originated in the region of Afghanistan.
Honey bees are assumed to be highly adaptable insect and adjust itself in
variety of geographic regions and climates. There are around 25,000 bee species
have been identified, of which 8-10 species are considered as honey bees,
however the true honey bee classify into four species viz;
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
used to collect pollens from
honey bee. 2 to 3 kg pollen
can be collected per colony in
a season. Further, it depends
upon strength of colony.
Pollens have wide-range uses
such as in food supplements.
Pollens are helpful in
treatment of male sterility,
cancer, high blood presser,
ulcer, anemia and nervous
disorders. Pollen should be
quickly dried out up to 5 per
cent moisture level to avoid
growth of bacteria, mould and
insect larvae.
Wax
Wax is important product of honey
bee and is used in construction of
comb. Honey bee workers, 14-18 days
old, secrete wax under the influence of
wax gland. About 10 kg honey is
consumed by bees for production of 1
kg wax. It is used in cosmetics,
candles, poultry food and for rearing
of wax moth larvae.
Fun facts about honey bees
Honey bee visits 60-100 flowers
during one collection trip.
It is the only insect which produce
food eaten by man.
Flying speed of honey bee is 24
km per hour.
One honey bee worker produces
1/12th teaspoon honey in life
time.
To collect enough pollen and
nectar to make one kg of honey,
hive of bees fly 112,000 kilometers.
Honey bee queen can lay up to
2500 eggs per day.
About 10 kg honey is consumed
by honey bee workers to produce
1 kg of wax.
Dancing is way of communication
among bee workers.
Each honey bee colony has unique
smell on the basis of which they
identify each other.
The final word
The industry of bee keeping is one of
the most important sources of income
for farmers. Depending on the
environmental factors, this industry
can flourish in our Northern areas as
well as in arid regions of Pakistan.
Around 75 pounds of honey can be
harvested from a typical colony, and
on an average 15 pounds pollen
collected in a year. In addition,
beekeepers can also give pollination
services to the farmers both for crops
and orchard trees. The products of bee
keeping are sources of income for the
local market.FO
Courtesy: Dr. M. Ehsan Akhtar, PARC, Islamabad Bee Frame
pollens for their own needs as
well as for storing in colony which
are used in rearing of brood
Advantages of bee-pollination
A well planned use of pollination by
honey bees increases quality as well as
yield of crops and fruit production.
Insufficient pollination not only affects
yield but also quality of crops and
fruits. Following are some of the
advanedtages of bee pollination:
Effective pollination is necessary
in sterile varieties of almond and
apple for proper fruit set. For
commercial fruit set in apple 5-7
colonies of honey bee per hector
are essential.
Plum varieties depend much more
in honey bees for normal fruit
setting.
In citrus and mango 33-45 per cent
increase in yield have been
observed because of honey bee
pollination.
It has been observed that about
50-70 per cent yield of onion seed
increases by using
honey bees as
pollinators.
5-6 colonies of honey
bees per hector are
recommended for okra
which results increase
in yield up to 50 per
cent.
Honey bee pollination
results in increase in
yield up to 27 per cent
of sunflower.
20-50 per cent increase
in yield of brassica
crops can be obtained
by honey bee pollination.
Royal Jelly
Royal jelly is a creamy milky white
homogeneous substance which is
secreted by young honey bee workers.
Adult honey bee queen and young
brood feed directly on it. In cast
determination of queen and workers it
has major influence. Protein, lipids,
water, minerals and sugars are major
constituents of royal jelly. Properly
managed hive for a period of 5-6
months produces 500 grams of royal
jelly. It has limited shelf life.
Pollens
Pollen is another valuable product of
honey bees. Pollens are used as food
(protein sours) for brood and bees.
Vitamins, lipids, minerals and protein
are major constituents of pollens.
Body of honey bee worker becomes
dusted with pollen grain when it visits
flowers. Worker bee brushes its body
and accumulates pollen grains in the
form of pollen ball which are attached
to last pair of legs. Pollen traps are
14
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
1. Apis dorsata (Rock bee)
2. Apis florae (Little bee)
3. Apis cerana (Indian bee)
4. Apis mellifera (Eurpean bee)
Apis mellifera and Apis cerana are only
domesticated species while Apis florae
and Apis dorsata are wild type and
cannot be domesticated in hives.
Honey bees belong to Order
Hemenoptera and are highly social
insects. Division of labor exists in
honey bees which mean that a special
task in colony is performed by special
individuals. The cast system of honey
bee consist of Queen (fertile female
specialized for egg production),
Worker (female do all the work of the
colony) and Drone (male bee).
Honey bee products
Honey bees play very important role
in cross pollination of crops in
addition to this honey bees provide
valuable products to mankind like
honey, royal jelly, pollen, vex, bee
venom and propolis
Honey
Honey is produced by honey bees by
feeding on nectar from flowers of crop
plants and fruit trees. Enzymes are
present in stomach of bee workers
which are helpful in conversion of
nectar into honey. Honey bees store
honey in sealed combs and honey
contains about 80 per cent sugars
while the rest (16 to 26 per cent) is
water content. Organic acid, proteins,
copper, iron, potassium, phosphorous,
manganese is also present in honey.
Honey is thick liquid and its viscosity
reduces by heat.
Honey has medicinal value,
particularly for the cardiac patients
who get relief by using honey because
it strengthens heart muscles. Further,
its regular use increases red blood
cells by about 25 to 30 per cent. It has
been found good in treatment of
digestive tract. Honey is used to treat
hemorrhage, constipation, permanent
weight loss and cancer.
Honey bees as pollinator
Besides honey, honeybees play a very
important role in the pollination of
crops and food trees. About fifty
percent plant species which are
propagated by seeds are dependant on
insects for effective pollination.
Pollination is transfer of pollen grains
from anther to stigma of same flower.
Similarly this transfer of pollen grain
also occurs between two different
flowers which is termed as cross
pollination. About 85 per cent crop
plants are cross pollinated and depend
myainly on bees to transfer pollen
from different flowers of same specie.
Flowers have different modification
for attraction of insects like coloration,
nectar guide pattern and fragrance etc.
The elements which make honey bees
an ideal agent of pollination are
Instead of providing pollination
services to single genus or specie
they have ability to pollinate
number of agricultural crops.
Honey bees have different
modifications on their body to
carry pollens.
They have ability to work
constantly for long time on crop
on which they start foraging
Honey bees collect nectar and
Rearing of bees in hives for the production of honey is called
apiculture, and the place where bees are kept is termed as Apiary.
Honey bees are considered among one of the oldest form of animal
life which originated in the region of Afghanistan.
Honey bees are assumed to be highly adaptable insect and adjust itself in
variety of geographic regions and climates. There are around 25,000 bee species
have been identified, of which 8-10 species are considered as honey bees,
however the true honey bee classify into four species viz;
used to collect pollens from
honey bee. 2 to 3 kg pollen
can be collected per colony in
a season. Further, it depends
upon strength of colony.
Pollens have wide-range uses
such as in food supplements.
Pollens are helpful in
treatment of male sterility,
cancer, high blood presser,
ulcer, anemia and nervous
disorders. Pollen should be
quickly dried out up to 5 per
cent moisture level to avoid
growth of bacteria, mould and
insect larvae.
Wax
Wax is important product of honey
bee and is used in construction of
comb. Honey bee workers, 14-18 days
old, secrete wax under the influence of
wax gland. About 10 kg honey is
consumed by bees for production of 1
kg wax. It is used in cosmetics,
candles, poultry food and for rearing
of wax moth larvae.
Fun facts about honey bees
Honey bee visits 60-100 flowers
during one collection trip.
It is the only insect which produce
food eaten by man.
Flying speed of honey bee is 24
km per hour.
One honey bee worker produces
1/12th teaspoon honey in life
time.
To collect enough pollen and
nectar to make one kg of honey,
hive of bees fly 112,000 kilometers.
Honey bee queen can lay up to
2500 eggs per day.
About 10 kg honey is consumed
by honey bee workers to produce
1 kg of wax.
Dancing is way of communication
among bee workers.
Each honey bee colony has unique
smell on the basis of which they
identify each other.
The final word
The industry of bee keeping is one of
the most important sources of income
for farmers. Depending on the
environmental factors, this industry
can flourish in our Northern areas as
well as in arid regions of Pakistan.
Around 75 pounds of honey can be
harvested from a typical colony, and
on an average 15 pounds pollen
collected in a year. In addition,
beekeepers can also give pollination
services to the farmers both for crops
and orchard trees. The products of bee
keeping are sources of income for the
local market.FO
pollens for their own needs as
well as for storing in colony which
are used in rearing of brood
Advantages of bee-pollination
A well planned use of pollination by
honey bees increases quality as well as
yield of crops and fruit production.
Insufficient pollination not only affects
yield but also quality of crops and
fruits. Following are some of the
advanedtages of bee pollination:
Effective pollination is necessary
in sterile varieties of almond and
apple for proper fruit set. For
commercial fruit set in apple 5-7
colonies of honey bee per hector
are essential.
Plum varieties depend much more
in honey bees for normal fruit
setting.
In citrus and mango 33-45 per cent
increase in yield have been
observed because of honey bee
pollination.
It has been observed that about
50-70 per cent yield of onion seed
increases by using
honey bees as
pollinators.
5-6 colonies of honey
bees per hector are
recommended for okra
which results increase
in yield up to 50 per
cent.
Honey bee pollination
results in increase in
yield up to 27 per cent
of sunflower.
20-50 per cent increase
in yield of brassica
crops can be obtained
by honey bee pollination.
Royal Jelly
Royal jelly is a creamy milky white
homogeneous substance which is
secreted by young honey bee workers.
Adult honey bee queen and young
brood feed directly on it. In cast
determination of queen and workers it
has major influence. Protein, lipids,
water, minerals and sugars are major
constituents of royal jelly. Properly
managed hive for a period of 5-6
months produces 500 grams of royal
jelly. It has limited shelf life.
Pollens
Pollen is another valuable product of
honey bees. Pollens are used as food
(protein sours) for brood and bees.
Vitamins, lipids, minerals and protein
are major constituents of pollens.
Body of honey bee worker becomes
dusted with pollen grain when it visits
flowers. Worker bee brushes its body
and accumulates pollen grains in the
form of pollen ball which are attached
to last pair of legs. Pollen traps are
1. Apis dorsata (Rock bee)
2. Apis florae (Little bee)
3. Apis cerana (Indian bee)
4. Apis mellifera (Eurpean bee)
Apis mellifera and Apis cerana are only
domesticated species while Apis florae
and Apis dorsata are wild type and
cannot be domesticated in hives.
Honey bees belong to Order
Hemenoptera and are highly social
insects. Division of labor exists in
honey bees which mean that a special
task in colony is performed by special
individuals. The cast system of honey
bee consist of Queen (fertile female
specialized for egg production),
Worker (female do all the work of the
colony) and Drone (male bee).
Honey bee products
Honey bees play very important role
in cross pollination of crops in
addition to this honey bees provide
valuable products to mankind like
honey, royal jelly, pollen, vex, bee
venom and propolis
Honey
Honey is produced by honey bees by
feeding on nectar from flowers of crop
plants and fruit trees. Enzymes are
present in stomach of bee workers
which are helpful in conversion of
nectar into honey. Honey bees store
honey in sealed combs and honey
contains about 80 per cent sugars
while the rest (16 to 26 per cent) is
water content. Organic acid, proteins,
copper, iron, potassium, phosphorous,
manganese is also present in honey.
Honey is thick liquid and its viscosity
reduces by heat.
Honey has medicinal value,
particularly for the cardiac patients
who get relief by using honey because
it strengthens heart muscles. Further,
its regular use increases red blood
cells by about 25 to 30 per cent. It has
been found good in treatment of
digestive tract. Honey is used to treat
hemorrhage, constipation, permanent
weight loss and cancer.
Honey bees as pollinator
Besides honey, honeybees play a very
important role in the pollination of
crops and food trees. About fifty
percent plant species which are
propagated by seeds are dependant on
insects for effective pollination.
Pollination is transfer of pollen grains
from anther to stigma of same flower.
Similarly this transfer of pollen grain
also occurs between two different
flowers which is termed as cross
pollination. About 85 per cent crop
plants are cross pollinated and depend
myainly on bees to transfer pollen
from different flowers of same specie.
Flowers have different modification
for attraction of insects like coloration,
nectar guide pattern and fragrance etc.
The elements which make honey bees
an ideal agent of pollination are
Instead of providing pollination
services to single genus or specie
they have ability to pollinate
number of agricultural crops.
Honey bees have different
modifications on their body to
carry pollens.
They have ability to work
constantly for long time on crop
on which they start foraging
Honey bees collect nectar and
Rearing of bees in hives for the production of honey is called
apiculture, and the place where bees are kept is termed as Apiary.
Honey bees are considered among one of the oldest form of animal
life which originated in the region of Afghanistan.
Honey bees are assumed to be highly adaptable insect and adjust itself in
variety of geographic regions and climates. There are around 25,000 bee species
have been identified, of which 8-10 species are considered as honey bees,
however the true honey bee classify into four species viz;
15
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
used to collect pollens from
honey bee. 2 to 3 kg pollen
can be collected per colony in
a season. Further, it depends
upon strength of colony.
Pollens have wide-range uses
such as in food supplements.
Pollens are helpful in
treatment of male sterility,
cancer, high blood presser,
ulcer, anemia and nervous
disorders. Pollen should be
quickly dried out up to 5 per
cent moisture level to avoid
growth of bacteria, mould and
insect larvae.
Wax
Wax is important product of honey
bee and is used in construction of
comb. Honey bee workers, 14-18 days
old, secrete wax under the influence of
wax gland. About 10 kg honey is
consumed by bees for production of 1
kg wax. It is used in cosmetics,
candles, poultry food and for rearing
of wax moth larvae.
Fun facts about honey bees
Honey bee visits 60-100 flowers
during one collection trip.
It is the only insect which produce
food eaten by man.
Flying speed of honey bee is 24
km per hour.
One honey bee worker produces
1/12th teaspoon honey in life
time.
To collect enough pollen and
nectar to make one kg of honey,
hive of bees fly 112,000 kilometers.
Honey bee queen can lay up to
2500 eggs per day.
About 10 kg honey is consumed
by honey bee workers to produce
1 kg of wax.
Dancing is way of communication
among bee workers.
Each honey bee colony has unique
smell on the basis of which they
identify each other.
The final word
The industry of bee keeping is one of
the most important sources of income
for farmers. Depending on the
environmental factors, this industry
can flourish in our Northern areas as
well as in arid regions of Pakistan.
Around 75 pounds of honey can be
harvested from a typical colony, and
on an average 15 pounds pollen
collected in a year. In addition,
beekeepers can also give pollination
services to the farmers both for crops
and orchard trees. The products of bee
keeping are sources of income for the
local market.FO
Apiary
pollens for their own needs as
well as for storing in colony which
are used in rearing of brood
Advantages of bee-pollination
A well planned use of pollination by
honey bees increases quality as well as
yield of crops and fruit production.
Insufficient pollination not only affects
yield but also quality of crops and
fruits. Following are some of the
advanedtages of bee pollination:
Effective pollination is necessary
in sterile varieties of almond and
apple for proper fruit set. For
commercial fruit set in apple 5-7
colonies of honey bee per hector
are essential.
Plum varieties depend much more
in honey bees for normal fruit
setting.
In citrus and mango 33-45 per cent
increase in yield have been
observed because of honey bee
pollination.
It has been observed that about
50-70 per cent yield of onion seed
increases by using
honey bees as
pollinators.
5-6 colonies of honey
bees per hector are
recommended for okra
which results increase
in yield up to 50 per
cent.
Honey bee pollination
results in increase in
yield up to 27 per cent
of sunflower.
20-50 per cent increase
in yield of brassica
crops can be obtained
by honey bee pollination.
Royal Jelly
Royal jelly is a creamy milky white
homogeneous substance which is
secreted by young honey bee workers.
Adult honey bee queen and young
brood feed directly on it. In cast
determination of queen and workers it
has major influence. Protein, lipids,
water, minerals and sugars are major
constituents of royal jelly. Properly
managed hive for a period of 5-6
months produces 500 grams of royal
jelly. It has limited shelf life.
Pollens
Pollen is another valuable product of
honey bees. Pollens are used as food
(protein sours) for brood and bees.
Vitamins, lipids, minerals and protein
are major constituents of pollens.
Body of honey bee worker becomes
dusted with pollen grain when it visits
flowers. Worker bee brushes its body
and accumulates pollen grains in the
form of pollen ball which are attached
to last pair of legs. Pollen traps are
1. Apis dorsata (Rock bee)
2. Apis florae (Little bee)
3. Apis cerana (Indian bee)
4. Apis mellifera (Eurpean bee)
Apis mellifera and Apis cerana are only
domesticated species while Apis florae
and Apis dorsata are wild type and
cannot be domesticated in hives.
Honey bees belong to Order
Hemenoptera and are highly social
insects. Division of labor exists in
honey bees which mean that a special
task in colony is performed by special
individuals. The cast system of honey
bee consist of Queen (fertile female
specialized for egg production),
Worker (female do all the work of the
colony) and Drone (male bee).
Honey bee products
Honey bees play very important role
in cross pollination of crops in
addition to this honey bees provide
valuable products to mankind like
honey, royal jelly, pollen, vex, bee
venom and propolis
Honey
Honey is produced by honey bees by
feeding on nectar from flowers of crop
plants and fruit trees. Enzymes are
present in stomach of bee workers
which are helpful in conversion of
nectar into honey. Honey bees store
honey in sealed combs and honey
contains about 80 per cent sugars
while the rest (16 to 26 per cent) is
water content. Organic acid, proteins,
copper, iron, potassium, phosphorous,
manganese is also present in honey.
Honey is thick liquid and its viscosity
reduces by heat.
Honey has medicinal value,
particularly for the cardiac patients
who get relief by using honey because
it strengthens heart muscles. Further,
its regular use increases red blood
cells by about 25 to 30 per cent. It has
been found good in treatment of
digestive tract. Honey is used to treat
hemorrhage, constipation, permanent
weight loss and cancer.
Honey bees as pollinator
Besides honey, honeybees play a very
important role in the pollination of
crops and food trees. About fifty
percent plant species which are
propagated by seeds are dependant on
insects for effective pollination.
Pollination is transfer of pollen grains
from anther to stigma of same flower.
Similarly this transfer of pollen grain
also occurs between two different
flowers which is termed as cross
pollination. About 85 per cent crop
plants are cross pollinated and depend
myainly on bees to transfer pollen
from different flowers of same specie.
Flowers have different modification
for attraction of insects like coloration,
nectar guide pattern and fragrance etc.
The elements which make honey bees
an ideal agent of pollination are
Instead of providing pollination
services to single genus or specie
they have ability to pollinate
number of agricultural crops.
Honey bees have different
modifications on their body to
carry pollens.
They have ability to work
constantly for long time on crop
on which they start foraging
Honey bees collect nectar and
Rearing of bees in hives for the production of honey is called
apiculture, and the place where bees are kept is termed as Apiary.
Honey bees are considered among one of the oldest form of animal
life which originated in the region of Afghanistan.
Honey bees are assumed to be highly adaptable insect and adjust itself in
variety of geographic regions and climates. There are around 25,000 bee species
have been identified, of which 8-10 species are considered as honey bees,
however the true honey bee classify into four species viz;
used to collect pollens from
honey bee. 2 to 3 kg pollen
can be collected per colony in
a season. Further, it depends
upon strength of colony.
Pollens have wide-range uses
such as in food supplements.
Pollens are helpful in
treatment of male sterility,
cancer, high blood presser,
ulcer, anemia and nervous
disorders. Pollen should be
quickly dried out up to 5 per
cent moisture level to avoid
growth of bacteria, mould and
insect larvae.
Wax
Wax is important product of honey
bee and is used in construction of
comb. Honey bee workers, 14-18 days
old, secrete wax under the influence of
wax gland. About 10 kg honey is
consumed by bees for production of 1
kg wax. It is used in cosmetics,
candles, poultry food and for rearing
of wax moth larvae.
Fun facts about honey bees
Honey bee visits 60-100 flowers
during one collection trip.
It is the only insect which produce
food eaten by man.
Flying speed of honey bee is 24
km per hour.
One honey bee worker produces
1/12th teaspoon honey in life
time.
To collect enough pollen and
nectar to make one kg of honey,
hive of bees fly 112,000 kilometers.
Honey bee queen can lay up to
2500 eggs per day.
About 10 kg honey is consumed
by honey bee workers to produce
1 kg of wax.
Dancing is way of communication
among bee workers.
Each honey bee colony has unique
smell on the basis of which they
identify each other.
The final word
The industry of bee keeping is one of
the most important sources of income
for farmers. Depending on the
environmental factors, this industry
can flourish in our Northern areas as
well as in arid regions of Pakistan.
Around 75 pounds of honey can be
harvested from a typical colony, and
on an average 15 pounds pollen
collected in a year. In addition,
beekeepers can also give pollination
services to the farmers both for crops
and orchard trees. The products of bee
keeping are sources of income for the
local market.FO
16
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
Prof. Dr Muhammad Naeem is Chairman, Department of Entomology, PMAS-Arid Agriculture
University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Email: naeem18ap@yahoo.co.uk
Queen
Worker
canker, citrus withertip, gumosis and
tristiza virus were also observed.
Citrus dieback, sudden death and
citrus greening have gained an
alarming situation because these were
wide spread and present in almost
every orchard. These diseases were
recorded in the orchards of all age
groups (Table-1). However in young
plantations their intensities were
comparatively lower.
In the surveyed orchards the numbers
of plants affected by dieback were 1-2
per acre as against 1-10 in the orchards
older than 8 years. Younger orchards
of 1-6 year age also had lower number
of 0-1 affected plants per 5-acre.
Number of plants affected by sudden
death was higher in older orchards.
These were 1-3 in 8-12 year older
orchards and 1-5 in still older
orchards. Citrus greening had 0-10
plants per 5 acres in 1-6 year and more
than 12 year old orchards. However,
the orchards of the age group 7-12
years had 0-15 plants affected by
citrus greening.
The above data indicated that all the
three major diseases are well
distributed irrespective of the age of
orchards.
2. Insect pests
Among insect pests citrus
psylla (Fig.4) and leaf minor
(attacked on older leaves)
were recorded. Snails were
also present in sufficiently
high number (Fig.5).
Emerging plant protection
issues in citrus orchards
of Pakistan
s
u
r
v
e
y

r
e
s
u
l
t
s
17
Ghulam Jilani
Citrus is a major fruit of Pakistan. It is grown on more than two
million hectares and exported to UK, Canada, Ukraine, Middle
East and many other countries. It earns a lot of foreign exchange.
Recently scientists of global gap have played an important role in
the application of good agricultural practices in more than one
thousand orchards in the major citrus growing areas of Sargodha
district.
Importance of citrus in Pakistans agriculture economy can hardly be
overemphasized: It is the major fruit in winter, used both as fresh and as its
various products. However, over the years citrus orchards have developed
certain problems, including both nutritional and pest management. This paper
reports results of an important survey on pest management.
The survey technique
A diagnostic survey of citrus orchards was undertaken as a special assignment to
assess major plant protection issues of this fruits. During surveys 14 orchards
were randomly visited in Bhalwal, Kot Momin and Sargodha areas for collection
of information and samples of pest losses. Meetings were also held with officers
in Global GAP Bhalwal Director orange Research Institute Sargodha. Data on
prevalence of disease incidence and insect pest infestation were collected on
Performa designed in consultation with director Social Sciences Institute NARC.
Samples of diseases and insect infestation were also collected and identified in
the laboratories of Institute of Plant and Environmental Protection, NARC,
Islamabad. In the data, factors like plant age group, intercropping levels and
intercropping patterns were specially considered because of their importance in
pest and disease infestation which has not been done earlier.
Results of the survey
1. Diseases
In citrus orchards common diseases recorded during the survey were: 1) Dieback
(Fig.1), 2) sudden death (Fig.2) and 3) citrus greening (Fig.3). However, citrus
Infestation of these pests has been
shown in Table 2.
Different intercrops were present in
the surveyed orchards. Citrus Psylla
population was 0.5 to 2.0 individuals
per leaf in citrus orchards having
maize (Fig.6), sorghum, bajra or
berseem as intercrops (Fig.7). It was
comparatively higher than 0.3-0.4 and
0.4-0.6 individuals per leaf in the
orchards having vegetables and rice
(Fig.8) respectively. A similar trend
was observed in leaf minor having 1.5,
1.0 and 1.0 percent leaves infested
where maize, sorghum, bajra, berseem
or vegetables were intercropped.
However, there was no leaf minor
attack recorded in the citrus orchards
having rice as intercrop.
Similarly, there were no snails in the
orchards intercropped with rice.
However, the highest population of
15-30 snails per foot stem was
recorded in orchards having berseem
as intercrop. In case of intercropping
with vegetables or maize, sorghum
and bajra, snails population was
comparatively lower.
Insect infestation also varied with the
level of intercropping (Table 3).
Population of citrus psylla seemed to
be related with the intensity of
intercropping. Its population was
0.1-0.4 in orchards having up to 33 per
cent intercropped area. It increased
slightly to 0.3-0.6 in the orchards with
33.1-66 per cent intercropped area. The
highest population ranged between
0.5-3.0 in orchards with 66.1-100 per
cent intensity of intercropping.
However, in case of leaf minor per
cent infestation was 0.5-1.0 in the
orchards having up to 33 per cent
intercropped area. It increased to
1.0-1.5 where intercropping was
33.1-66 per cent
leaf minor
infestation
dropped to
0-0.1 per cent in
the orchards
having 66.1-100
per cent
intercropped
area. In case of
snails again
population was
highest up to 30
per foot stem in
the orchards
where
intercropping
was the highest.
There were no
snails in 33.1-66
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
per cent intercropping and its
population was negligible in the
orchards having the lowest area under
intercrops.
Fruit fly is an import pest which
causes 4-6 percent loses in citrus fruits.
Following fruit fly management
model has been developed and
already published.
Farmers practices
Majority of farmers in citrus used
flood irrigation with canal water or
mixing canal and tube well water. For
disease management, very few
farmers were using recommended
fungicides. Majority of the farmers do
not spray copper oxychloride after
twig pruning hence allowing dieback
disease attack on twigs. Most of the
farmers have recently started
application of Bordeaux mixture but
not copper oxychloride on injured
plants. Indiscriminate use of pesticides
has led to the development of
resistance in some of the major insect
pests.
Recommendations
It is recommended that citrus
psylla resistance against
insecticides should be attended
immediately. This pest also causes
spread of citrus greening which is
growing as a major disease.
For new orchards healthy nursery
is required. Therefore, improved
nursery plants should be made
available to the growers.
Almost all the farmers reported
that pesticides were not effective.
Therefore, pesticide regulatory
measures should be implemented
in true letter and spirit.
Organized farmer training should
be undertaken for implementation
of recommendations.
Research work on MSDS should
be continued. Further studies on
Ceratocystis sp. may be
continued.FO
Courtesy: Dr. M. Ehsan Akhtar, PARC, Islamabad
18
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
canker, citrus withertip, gumosis and
tristiza virus were also observed.
Citrus dieback, sudden death and
citrus greening have gained an
alarming situation because these were
wide spread and present in almost
every orchard. These diseases were
recorded in the orchards of all age
groups (Table-1). However in young
plantations their intensities were
comparatively lower.
In the surveyed orchards the numbers
of plants affected by dieback were 1-2
per acre as against 1-10 in the orchards
older than 8 years. Younger orchards
of 1-6 year age also had lower number
of 0-1 affected plants per 5-acre.
Number of plants affected by sudden
death was higher in older orchards.
These were 1-3 in 8-12 year older
orchards and 1-5 in still older
orchards. Citrus greening had 0-10
plants per 5 acres in 1-6 year and more
than 12 year old orchards. However,
the orchards of the age group 7-12
years had 0-15 plants affected by
citrus greening.
The above data indicated that all the
three major diseases are well
distributed irrespective of the age of
orchards.
2. Insect pests
Among insect pests citrus
psylla (Fig.4) and leaf minor
(attacked on older leaves)
were recorded. Snails were
also present in sufficiently
high number (Fig.5).
Citrus is a major fruit of Pakistan. It is grown on more than two
million hectares and exported to UK, Canada, Ukraine, Middle
East and many other countries. It earns a lot of foreign exchange.
Recently scientists of global gap have played an important role in
the application of good agricultural practices in more than one
thousand orchards in the major citrus growing areas of Sargodha
district.
Importance of citrus in Pakistans agriculture economy can hardly be
overemphasized: It is the major fruit in winter, used both as fresh and as its
various products. However, over the years citrus orchards have developed
certain problems, including both nutritional and pest management. This paper
reports results of an important survey on pest management.
The survey technique
A diagnostic survey of citrus orchards was undertaken as a special assignment to
assess major plant protection issues of this fruits. During surveys 14 orchards
were randomly visited in Bhalwal, Kot Momin and Sargodha areas for collection
of information and samples of pest losses. Meetings were also held with officers
in Global GAP Bhalwal Director orange Research Institute Sargodha. Data on
prevalence of disease incidence and insect pest infestation were collected on
Performa designed in consultation with director Social Sciences Institute NARC.
Samples of diseases and insect infestation were also collected and identified in
the laboratories of Institute of Plant and Environmental Protection, NARC,
Islamabad. In the data, factors like plant age group, intercropping levels and
intercropping patterns were specially considered because of their importance in
pest and disease infestation which has not been done earlier.
Results of the survey
1. Diseases
In citrus orchards common diseases recorded during the survey were: 1) Dieback
(Fig.1), 2) sudden death (Fig.2) and 3) citrus greening (Fig.3). However, citrus
Infestation of these pests has been
shown in Table 2.
Different intercrops were present in
the surveyed orchards. Citrus Psylla
population was 0.5 to 2.0 individuals
per leaf in citrus orchards having
maize (Fig.6), sorghum, bajra or
berseem as intercrops (Fig.7). It was
comparatively higher than 0.3-0.4 and
0.4-0.6 individuals per leaf in the
orchards having vegetables and rice
(Fig.8) respectively. A similar trend
was observed in leaf minor having 1.5,
1.0 and 1.0 percent leaves infested
where maize, sorghum, bajra, berseem
or vegetables were intercropped.
However, there was no leaf minor
attack recorded in the citrus orchards
having rice as intercrop.
Similarly, there were no snails in the
orchards intercropped with rice.
However, the highest population of
15-30 snails per foot stem was
recorded in orchards having berseem
as intercrop. In case of intercropping
with vegetables or maize, sorghum
and bajra, snails population was
comparatively lower.
Insect infestation also varied with the
level of intercropping (Table 3).
Population of citrus psylla seemed to
be related with the intensity of
intercropping. Its population was
0.1-0.4 in orchards having up to 33 per
cent intercropped area. It increased
slightly to 0.3-0.6 in the orchards with
33.1-66 per cent intercropped area. The
highest population ranged between
0.5-3.0 in orchards with 66.1-100 per
cent intensity of intercropping.
However, in case of leaf minor per
cent infestation was 0.5-1.0 in the
orchards having up to 33 per cent
intercropped area. It increased to
1.0-1.5 where intercropping was
33.1-66 per cent
leaf minor
infestation
dropped to
0-0.1 per cent in
the orchards
having 66.1-100
per cent
intercropped
area. In case of
snails again
population was
highest up to 30
per foot stem in
the orchards
where
intercropping
was the highest.
There were no
snails in 33.1-66
per cent intercropping and its
population was negligible in the
orchards having the lowest area under
intercrops.
Fruit fly is an import pest which
causes 4-6 percent loses in citrus fruits.
Following fruit fly management
model has been developed and
already published.
Farmers practices
Majority of farmers in citrus used
flood irrigation with canal water or
mixing canal and tube well water. For
disease management, very few
farmers were using recommended
fungicides. Majority of the farmers do
not spray copper oxychloride after
twig pruning hence allowing dieback
disease attack on twigs. Most of the
farmers have recently started
application of Bordeaux mixture but
not copper oxychloride on injured
plants. Indiscriminate use of pesticides
has led to the development of
resistance in some of the major insect
pests.
Recommendations
It is recommended that citrus
psylla resistance against
insecticides should be attended
immediately. This pest also causes
spread of citrus greening which is
growing as a major disease.
For new orchards healthy nursery
is required. Therefore, improved
nursery plants should be made
available to the growers.
Almost all the farmers reported
that pesticides were not effective.
Therefore, pesticide regulatory
measures should be implemented
in true letter and spirit.
Organized farmer training should
be undertaken for implementation
of recommendations.
Research work on MSDS should
be continued. Further studies on
Ceratocystis sp. may be
continued.FO
Table 1: Disease incidence in citrus orchards of
different age groups

Age Disease Type
group Dieback Sudden death Citrus
(yrs) (Plants / acre) (Plants /5 acre) greening
(Plants /5 acre)
1-6 1-2 0-1 0-10
8-12 1-10 1-3 0-15
>12 1-10 1-5 0-10
canker, citrus withertip, gumosis and
tristiza virus were also observed.
Citrus dieback, sudden death and
citrus greening have gained an
alarming situation because these were
wide spread and present in almost
every orchard. These diseases were
recorded in the orchards of all age
groups (Table-1). However in young
plantations their intensities were
comparatively lower.
In the surveyed orchards the numbers
of plants affected by dieback were 1-2
per acre as against 1-10 in the orchards
older than 8 years. Younger orchards
of 1-6 year age also had lower number
of 0-1 affected plants per 5-acre.
Number of plants affected by sudden
death was higher in older orchards.
These were 1-3 in 8-12 year older
orchards and 1-5 in still older
orchards. Citrus greening had 0-10
plants per 5 acres in 1-6 year and more
than 12 year old orchards. However,
the orchards of the age group 7-12
years had 0-15 plants affected by
citrus greening.
The above data indicated that all the
three major diseases are well
distributed irrespective of the age of
orchards.
2. Insect pests
Among insect pests citrus
psylla (Fig.4) and leaf minor
(attacked on older leaves)
were recorded. Snails were
also present in sufficiently
high number (Fig.5).
Citrus is a major fruit of Pakistan. It is grown on more than two
million hectares and exported to UK, Canada, Ukraine, Middle
East and many other countries. It earns a lot of foreign exchange.
Recently scientists of global gap have played an important role in
the application of good agricultural practices in more than one
thousand orchards in the major citrus growing areas of Sargodha
district.
Importance of citrus in Pakistans agriculture economy can hardly be
overemphasized: It is the major fruit in winter, used both as fresh and as its
various products. However, over the years citrus orchards have developed
certain problems, including both nutritional and pest management. This paper
reports results of an important survey on pest management.
The survey technique
A diagnostic survey of citrus orchards was undertaken as a special assignment to
assess major plant protection issues of this fruits. During surveys 14 orchards
were randomly visited in Bhalwal, Kot Momin and Sargodha areas for collection
of information and samples of pest losses. Meetings were also held with officers
in Global GAP Bhalwal Director orange Research Institute Sargodha. Data on
prevalence of disease incidence and insect pest infestation were collected on
Performa designed in consultation with director Social Sciences Institute NARC.
Samples of diseases and insect infestation were also collected and identified in
the laboratories of Institute of Plant and Environmental Protection, NARC,
Islamabad. In the data, factors like plant age group, intercropping levels and
intercropping patterns were specially considered because of their importance in
pest and disease infestation which has not been done earlier.
Results of the survey
1. Diseases
In citrus orchards common diseases recorded during the survey were: 1) Dieback
(Fig.1), 2) sudden death (Fig.2) and 3) citrus greening (Fig.3). However, citrus
Infestation of these pests has been
shown in Table 2.
Different intercrops were present in
the surveyed orchards. Citrus Psylla
population was 0.5 to 2.0 individuals
per leaf in citrus orchards having
maize (Fig.6), sorghum, bajra or
berseem as intercrops (Fig.7). It was
comparatively higher than 0.3-0.4 and
0.4-0.6 individuals per leaf in the
orchards having vegetables and rice
(Fig.8) respectively. A similar trend
was observed in leaf minor having 1.5,
1.0 and 1.0 percent leaves infested
where maize, sorghum, bajra, berseem
or vegetables were intercropped.
However, there was no leaf minor
attack recorded in the citrus orchards
having rice as intercrop.
Similarly, there were no snails in the
orchards intercropped with rice.
However, the highest population of
15-30 snails per foot stem was
recorded in orchards having berseem
as intercrop. In case of intercropping
with vegetables or maize, sorghum
and bajra, snails population was
comparatively lower.
Insect infestation also varied with the
level of intercropping (Table 3).
Population of citrus psylla seemed to
be related with the intensity of
intercropping. Its population was
0.1-0.4 in orchards having up to 33 per
cent intercropped area. It increased
slightly to 0.3-0.6 in the orchards with
33.1-66 per cent intercropped area. The
highest population ranged between
0.5-3.0 in orchards with 66.1-100 per
cent intensity of intercropping.
However, in case of leaf minor per
cent infestation was 0.5-1.0 in the
orchards having up to 33 per cent
intercropped area. It increased to
1.0-1.5 where intercropping was
33.1-66 per cent
leaf minor
infestation
dropped to
0-0.1 per cent in
the orchards
having 66.1-100
per cent
intercropped
area. In case of
snails again
population was
highest up to 30
per foot stem in
the orchards
where
intercropping
was the highest.
There were no
snails in 33.1-66
19
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
per cent intercropping and its
population was negligible in the
orchards having the lowest area under
intercrops.
Fruit fly is an import pest which
causes 4-6 percent loses in citrus fruits.
Following fruit fly management
model has been developed and
already published.
Farmers practices
Majority of farmers in citrus used
flood irrigation with canal water or
mixing canal and tube well water. For
disease management, very few
farmers were using recommended
fungicides. Majority of the farmers do
not spray copper oxychloride after
twig pruning hence allowing dieback
disease attack on twigs. Most of the
farmers have recently started
application of Bordeaux mixture but
not copper oxychloride on injured
plants. Indiscriminate use of pesticides
has led to the development of
resistance in some of the major insect
pests.
Recommendations
It is recommended that citrus
psylla resistance against
insecticides should be attended
immediately. This pest also causes
spread of citrus greening which is
growing as a major disease.
For new orchards healthy nursery
is required. Therefore, improved
nursery plants should be made
available to the growers.
Almost all the farmers reported
that pesticides were not effective.
Therefore, pesticide regulatory
measures should be implemented
in true letter and spirit.
Organized farmer training should
be undertaken for implementation
of recommendations.
Research work on MSDS should
be continued. Further studies on
Ceratocystis sp. may be
continued.FO
Table 2: Insect pest infestation in citrus orchards having different
intercrops

Intercrop Insect pests infestation
Citrus psylla Leaf minor Snails
(per leaf) (% leaf infested) (per ft stem)
Maize, sorghum, bajra 0.5-2.0 0.0-1.5 0.0-8.0
Berseem 0.5-2.0 1.0 15-30
Vegetable (cucurbits) 0.3-0.4 1.0 1.0-2.0
Rice 0.4-0.6 0.0 0.0
Table 3: Insect pests infestation in citrus orchards having different
levels of intercropping Sargodha

Insect species Percent area under intercropping
0-33% 33.1-66% 66.1-100%
Citrus psylla
(No. per leaf) 0.1-0.4 0.3-0.6 0.5-3.0
Leaf minor
(% leaves infested) 0.5-1.0 1.0-1.5 0.0-1.0
Snails (per ft stem) 0.0-2.0 0.0 0.0-30
canker, citrus withertip, gumosis and
tristiza virus were also observed.
Citrus dieback, sudden death and
citrus greening have gained an
alarming situation because these were
wide spread and present in almost
every orchard. These diseases were
recorded in the orchards of all age
groups (Table-1). However in young
plantations their intensities were
comparatively lower.
In the surveyed orchards the numbers
of plants affected by dieback were 1-2
per acre as against 1-10 in the orchards
older than 8 years. Younger orchards
of 1-6 year age also had lower number
of 0-1 affected plants per 5-acre.
Number of plants affected by sudden
death was higher in older orchards.
These were 1-3 in 8-12 year older
orchards and 1-5 in still older
orchards. Citrus greening had 0-10
plants per 5 acres in 1-6 year and more
than 12 year old orchards. However,
the orchards of the age group 7-12
years had 0-15 plants affected by
citrus greening.
The above data indicated that all the
three major diseases are well
distributed irrespective of the age of
orchards.
2. Insect pests
Among insect pests citrus
psylla (Fig.4) and leaf minor
(attacked on older leaves)
were recorded. Snails were
also present in sufficiently
high number (Fig.5).
Citrus is a major fruit of Pakistan. It is grown on more than two
million hectares and exported to UK, Canada, Ukraine, Middle
East and many other countries. It earns a lot of foreign exchange.
Recently scientists of global gap have played an important role in
the application of good agricultural practices in more than one
thousand orchards in the major citrus growing areas of Sargodha
district.
Importance of citrus in Pakistans agriculture economy can hardly be
overemphasized: It is the major fruit in winter, used both as fresh and as its
various products. However, over the years citrus orchards have developed
certain problems, including both nutritional and pest management. This paper
reports results of an important survey on pest management.
The survey technique
A diagnostic survey of citrus orchards was undertaken as a special assignment to
assess major plant protection issues of this fruits. During surveys 14 orchards
were randomly visited in Bhalwal, Kot Momin and Sargodha areas for collection
of information and samples of pest losses. Meetings were also held with officers
in Global GAP Bhalwal Director orange Research Institute Sargodha. Data on
prevalence of disease incidence and insect pest infestation were collected on
Performa designed in consultation with director Social Sciences Institute NARC.
Samples of diseases and insect infestation were also collected and identified in
the laboratories of Institute of Plant and Environmental Protection, NARC,
Islamabad. In the data, factors like plant age group, intercropping levels and
intercropping patterns were specially considered because of their importance in
pest and disease infestation which has not been done earlier.
Results of the survey
1. Diseases
In citrus orchards common diseases recorded during the survey were: 1) Dieback
(Fig.1), 2) sudden death (Fig.2) and 3) citrus greening (Fig.3). However, citrus
Infestation of these pests has been
shown in Table 2.
Different intercrops were present in
the surveyed orchards. Citrus Psylla
population was 0.5 to 2.0 individuals
per leaf in citrus orchards having
maize (Fig.6), sorghum, bajra or
berseem as intercrops (Fig.7). It was
comparatively higher than 0.3-0.4 and
0.4-0.6 individuals per leaf in the
orchards having vegetables and rice
(Fig.8) respectively. A similar trend
was observed in leaf minor having 1.5,
1.0 and 1.0 percent leaves infested
where maize, sorghum, bajra, berseem
or vegetables were intercropped.
However, there was no leaf minor
attack recorded in the citrus orchards
having rice as intercrop.
Similarly, there were no snails in the
orchards intercropped with rice.
However, the highest population of
15-30 snails per foot stem was
recorded in orchards having berseem
as intercrop. In case of intercropping
with vegetables or maize, sorghum
and bajra, snails population was
comparatively lower.
Insect infestation also varied with the
level of intercropping (Table 3).
Population of citrus psylla seemed to
be related with the intensity of
intercropping. Its population was
0.1-0.4 in orchards having up to 33 per
cent intercropped area. It increased
slightly to 0.3-0.6 in the orchards with
33.1-66 per cent intercropped area. The
highest population ranged between
0.5-3.0 in orchards with 66.1-100 per
cent intensity of intercropping.
However, in case of leaf minor per
cent infestation was 0.5-1.0 in the
orchards having up to 33 per cent
intercropped area. It increased to
1.0-1.5 where intercropping was
33.1-66 per cent
leaf minor
infestation
dropped to
0-0.1 per cent in
the orchards
having 66.1-100
per cent
intercropped
area. In case of
snails again
population was
highest up to 30
per foot stem in
the orchards
where
intercropping
was the highest.
There were no
snails in 33.1-66
per cent intercropping and its
population was negligible in the
orchards having the lowest area under
intercrops.
Fruit fly is an import pest which
causes 4-6 percent loses in citrus fruits.
Following fruit fly management
model has been developed and
already published.
Farmers practices
Majority of farmers in citrus used
flood irrigation with canal water or
mixing canal and tube well water. For
disease management, very few
farmers were using recommended
fungicides. Majority of the farmers do
not spray copper oxychloride after
twig pruning hence allowing dieback
disease attack on twigs. Most of the
farmers have recently started
application of Bordeaux mixture but
not copper oxychloride on injured
plants. Indiscriminate use of pesticides
has led to the development of
resistance in some of the major insect
pests.
Recommendations
It is recommended that citrus
psylla resistance against
insecticides should be attended
immediately. This pest also causes
spread of citrus greening which is
growing as a major disease.
For new orchards healthy nursery
is required. Therefore, improved
nursery plants should be made
available to the growers.
Almost all the farmers reported
that pesticides were not effective.
Therefore, pesticide regulatory
measures should be implemented
in true letter and spirit.
Organized farmer training should
be undertaken for implementation
of recommendations.
Research work on MSDS should
be continued. Further studies on
Ceratocystis sp. may be
continued.FO
20
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
Dr. Ghulam Jilani Professor, Faculty of Agriculture, Lasbela, University of Agriculture, Water &
Marine Sciences, Uthal, Lasbela.
Email: drjilani@gmail.com
sugary liquid that exudes and
solidifies adjacent to the entry point.
Larvae feed on the flesh of the fruit,
causing it to decompose.
Peach fruit fly
The Peach fruit fly is a strong flier and
is active throughout the year, when
temperatures exceed 16C. Adults
appear in early spring and attack
jujube, changing to loquat and peach
by late April-June, and then to
mango, citrus, guava, pomegranate
and sapodilla for the rest of the year.
Peak populations occur July- October,
then decline November-December.
The pre-oviposition period is 10 to 23
days. The female lays an average of
137 eggs in batches of two to nine
under the rind of the host fruit. These
hatch in 2-3 days. Larvae feed on the
fruit for 1 to 3 weeks, then emerge to
pupate 2-15 cm in the ground. The
pupal period varies from 4 days in
summer to over 6 weeks in winter. On
the strength of published
observations, Peach fruit fly can
apparently survive winters in
temperate climates.
Melon fruit fly
The melon fruit fly, Bactrocera
cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Diptera:
Tephritidae) is distributed widely in
Pakistan. It has been reported to
damage 81 host plants and is a major
pest of cucurbitaceous vegetables,
particularly the bitter gourd
(Momordica charantia), muskmelon
(Cucumis melo), snap melon (C. melo
var. momordica), and snake gourd
(Trichosanthes anguina). The extent of
losses varies between 30 to 100 per
cent, depending on the cucurbit
species and the season. Its abundance
increases when the temperatures fall
below 32 C, and the relative humidity
ranges between 60 to 70 per cent. It
prefers to infest young, green,
soft-skinned fruits. It inserts the eggs 2
to 4 mm deep in the fruit tissues, and
the maggots feed inside the fruit.
Pupation occurs in the soil at 0.5 to 15
cm below the soil surface.
Oriental fruit fly
The oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera
dorsalis are also widely distributed in
Pakistan. Over 120 plants have been
reported to serve as hosts of oriental
fruit fly larvae, though many are
attacked only during population
outbreak conditions. Principal hosts
are fruits such as mango, apple, peach,
pear and citrus. The adult flies feed on
secretions of extra floral nectaries,
honeydew, rotting fruit, bird dung,
and other liquefied items. The adults
survive only three days without
water, and six days with water, but no
sources of carbohydrate. The ability of
flies to disperse long distances to
obtain food is present in this species.
Pumpkin fly
The lesser pumpkin fly, Dacus ciliatus
(Loew), is one of the fruit flies found
in Pakistan. It is a common pest of
cucurbits, although not as serious as
the melon fly, Bactrocera curcurbitae,
in areas where both species occur.
Larvae of D. ciliatus develop in the
fruits of a wide range of cucurbit crops
and wild Cucurbitaceae.
Management
There are a range of control measures
for fruit flies which depend on the
Their larvae feed on the pulp of the
fruit, making it soft and unfit for
human consumption. The fruit crops
attacked, include citrus, mango,
guava, top and stone-fruit, as well as
olives, vegetable crops and many
others.
In Pakistan, fruit flies have become a
severe problem and cause an
economic damage to our most of fruits
and vegetables. The most notable are
the peach fruit fly (Bactrocera
zonata (Saund)), Oriental fruit fly
B. Dorsalis and Melon fruit fly B.
cucurbitae. where as Dacus ciliatus
(Lowe), Myiopardalis pardalina
(Bigot), Carpomyia vesuviana
Costa and ber fruit fly (Zizyphus
mauritiana) also have a wide
distribution but of lower economic
importance.
Fruit losses from fruit flies, at the
farm level, are estimated to be $200
million annually in fruits and
vegetables. The majority of fruit
damage is attributed to the
infestation by the peach fruit fly
attacking mango and guava; with
added losses to traders, retailers
and exporters.
Important fruit flies in
Pakistan
A brief description of important
fruit flies is given below:
Peach fruit fly
The peach fruit fly, Bactrocera
zonata is considered one of the
most destructive fruit fly pests and
is found in Pakistan. It is abundant
in Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan;
and rare in northern foothills and
Peshawar valley of Khyber Pakhtoon
khwa. B. zonata alone has 80.6 per
cent population, thus the most
abundant specie of Pakistan.
B. zonata is polyphagous, but its main
hosts are ripe fruit of mango, guava
and peach although it also attacks
apricot, figs and citrus rendering them
inedible. The symptoms are normally
signs of oviposition punctures and a
Fruit flies in Pakistan:
Economic importance
and their management
p
e
s
t

m
a
n
a
g
e
m
e
n
t
21
Imran Rauf*, S. M. M. Shah Rashdi,
Nazir Ahmad, M. Ismail & M. Hamayoon khan
Tephritid fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) are among the most
destructive agricultural pests in the world. There are nearly 5,000
described species of tephritid fruit fly, categorized in almost 500
genera, of which about 70 species are considered economically
important. The genus Bactrocera and Ceratitis have a world-wide
reputation for its destructive impact on agriculture.
Fruit flies cause huge economic losses on various crops and fruit. They easily
colonize new area and fly long distances, 50 100 km. They reproduce rapidly
and are very mobile.
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
fruit fly spp. However, in principle the
available technologies to combat this
pest can be divided into several
different categories as under:
New bait sprays
New more ecological sound bait
sprays have been introduced, most
notably the one from the Naturalyte
class known as spinosad, now
commercialized worldwide. This
product is ultra low volume multi
species Tephritidae fruit fly food bait.
It is available as a ready to use soluble
bait concentrate and is highly
efficacious, controlling both males and
females flies, with only a very small
amount of spinosad 0.24-0.36 gallon
per hectare. It is applied as a spot
treatment on every 3-4 trees at 7-14
day intervals (depending on pest
pressure). It is fully compatible with
IPM, Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)
and biological control strategies and is
selective to bees.
Trapping
Detection with traps is the first line of
defense against fruit flies and a critical
element in programs to control them.
There are 2 principal types of traps:
Those that induce flies to land and
become trapped on sticky surface, and
those that lure flies into an enclosed
space where they drown in a liquid
reservoir or contact an insecticide.
Examples of these types of traps:
a) Yellow sticky traps where insects
are attracted and simply get
caught on the sticky material.
b) McPhail Trap A food attractant
(protein hydrolysate or fruit juice)
is used in this trap and it attracts
both females and males mainly of
Bactrocera zonata. After feeding
on the solution, the flies are
prevented from flying out of the
trap crashing against the walls
and sinking in the solution
c) There is also a Fruit Fly Bait
Station that contains a Sensus trap
(small bucket type trap) with
protein hydrolysate and even a
toxicant can be added, to attract
males and females of mainly
Bactrocera spp.
Sterile insect technique
The sterile insect technique (SIT) is an
environment friendly method of pest
control that incorporates well into
integrated pest management
programs. It is gaining an increasing
role in the control of fruit fly. SIT
involves the release of large numbers
of sterilized insects into the
environment to mate with 'wild'
insects of the same species, and any
eggs laid are infertile, eventually
controlling the fruit fly population.
When fruit fly is detected in any one
area, releases of sterile flies will be
made twice a week for up to 12 weeks.
Sterile insects have a short life span
while fertile females may live for
several months. That is why it is
important to maintain high numbers
of sterile flies in the outbreak area. It
complements the use of bait sprays
and cultural methods to further
reduce the population.
Field sanitation
This is a technique that either prevents
fruit fly larvae from developing or
removes young emerging flies so they
cannot return to the crop to breed.
There are a number of methods that
can be employed such as: destroying
infested fruit on the tree or the fallen
fruit collected before and during
harvest; bagging or deep-burying
infested fruit; mulching or mowing
the fallen fruit and even drowning
larvae in the fruit. Intensive irrigation
directly after harvest of the fruit can
also be employed to kill pupae in the
soil. Removing fruit before it ripens
also reduces the larvae entering the
soil to pupate. Also no fruit should be
left on the tree after harvest.
Male Annihilation Technique
Male Annihilation Technique (MAT)
involves the use of a high density of
bait stations consisting of a male lures
such as methyl eugenol, trimedlure,
cuelure etc. to reduce the male
population of fruit flies to such a low
level that mating does not occur. The
lure traps are put out on a given area
in numbers to catch the majority of
males, thereby fertilizing fewer
females. Attract and kill systems
combine the male lures and a toxicant
and are more effective in suppressing
fruit fly males. MAT is normally used
in combination with other fruit fly
suppression techniques. In Pakistan it
has been slow to be adopted but could
become a good tool in an IPM
program or in an area-wide
suppression strategy.
Biological control
Parasitoids is a useful tool to minimize
fruit fly infestation but never reaches
100 per cent control because
parasitoids are host density
dependant. Three parasitoids have
been reported in Pakistan i.e. Dirhinus
giffardii (Pupal Parasitoid),
Trybliographa daci (Larval cum pupal
parastiod) and Diachasmimorpha
longicaudata (larval parasitoid). In
these D. giffardii and T. daci are
effective in plains, coastal and
sub-coastal areas, whereas D.
longicaudata is effective in uplands. In
Pakistan, the two parasitoid species D.
giffardii and T. daci is being
successfully mass reared in Nuclear
Institute of Agriculture, Tandojam and
are using for the eco- friendly
management of B. zonata and B.
dorsalis.
Conclusion
Tephritid Fruit flies are found
distributed throughout the Pakistan
and cause considerable economic
damage to fruit and vegetable crops.
With increasing emphasis on quality
of fruit and vegetable produce and
with the expansion of trade in
horticultural commodities, the
importance of good fly management
policies is vital. Phytosanitary
measures and quarantine checks are
increasingly necessary to prevent
transport to areas free of the
infestation. It is fortunate that there
are range of effective control measures
including eco- friendly techniques that
can be employed alone and/or in
combination. Corporation among
farmers is also increasingly essential
to combat the threat of fruit flies.FO
sugary liquid that exudes and
solidifies adjacent to the entry point.
Larvae feed on the flesh of the fruit,
causing it to decompose.
Peach fruit fly
The Peach fruit fly is a strong flier and
is active throughout the year, when
temperatures exceed 16C. Adults
appear in early spring and attack
jujube, changing to loquat and peach
by late April-June, and then to
mango, citrus, guava, pomegranate
and sapodilla for the rest of the year.
Peak populations occur July- October,
then decline November-December.
The pre-oviposition period is 10 to 23
days. The female lays an average of
137 eggs in batches of two to nine
under the rind of the host fruit. These
hatch in 2-3 days. Larvae feed on the
fruit for 1 to 3 weeks, then emerge to
pupate 2-15 cm in the ground. The
pupal period varies from 4 days in
summer to over 6 weeks in winter. On
the strength of published
observations, Peach fruit fly can
apparently survive winters in
temperate climates.
Melon fruit fly
The melon fruit fly, Bactrocera
cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Diptera:
Tephritidae) is distributed widely in
Pakistan. It has been reported to
damage 81 host plants and is a major
pest of cucurbitaceous vegetables,
particularly the bitter gourd
(Momordica charantia), muskmelon
(Cucumis melo), snap melon (C. melo
var. momordica), and snake gourd
(Trichosanthes anguina). The extent of
losses varies between 30 to 100 per
cent, depending on the cucurbit
species and the season. Its abundance
increases when the temperatures fall
below 32 C, and the relative humidity
ranges between 60 to 70 per cent. It
prefers to infest young, green,
soft-skinned fruits. It inserts the eggs 2
to 4 mm deep in the fruit tissues, and
the maggots feed inside the fruit.
Pupation occurs in the soil at 0.5 to 15
cm below the soil surface.
Oriental fruit fly
The oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera
dorsalis are also widely distributed in
Pakistan. Over 120 plants have been
reported to serve as hosts of oriental
fruit fly larvae, though many are
attacked only during population
outbreak conditions. Principal hosts
are fruits such as mango, apple, peach,
pear and citrus. The adult flies feed on
secretions of extra floral nectaries,
honeydew, rotting fruit, bird dung,
and other liquefied items. The adults
survive only three days without
water, and six days with water, but no
sources of carbohydrate. The ability of
flies to disperse long distances to
obtain food is present in this species.
Pumpkin fly
The lesser pumpkin fly, Dacus ciliatus
(Loew), is one of the fruit flies found
in Pakistan. It is a common pest of
cucurbits, although not as serious as
the melon fly, Bactrocera curcurbitae,
in areas where both species occur.
Larvae of D. ciliatus develop in the
fruits of a wide range of cucurbit crops
and wild Cucurbitaceae.
Management
There are a range of control measures
for fruit flies which depend on the
22
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
Their larvae feed on the pulp of the
fruit, making it soft and unfit for
human consumption. The fruit crops
attacked, include citrus, mango,
guava, top and stone-fruit, as well as
olives, vegetable crops and many
others.
In Pakistan, fruit flies have become a
severe problem and cause an
economic damage to our most of fruits
and vegetables. The most notable are
the peach fruit fly (Bactrocera
zonata (Saund)), Oriental fruit fly
B. Dorsalis and Melon fruit fly B.
cucurbitae. where as Dacus ciliatus
(Lowe), Myiopardalis pardalina
(Bigot), Carpomyia vesuviana
Costa and ber fruit fly (Zizyphus
mauritiana) also have a wide
distribution but of lower economic
importance.
Fruit losses from fruit flies, at the
farm level, are estimated to be $200
million annually in fruits and
vegetables. The majority of fruit
damage is attributed to the
infestation by the peach fruit fly
attacking mango and guava; with
added losses to traders, retailers
and exporters.
Important fruit flies in
Pakistan
A brief description of important
fruit flies is given below:
Peach fruit fly
The peach fruit fly, Bactrocera
zonata is considered one of the
most destructive fruit fly pests and
is found in Pakistan. It is abundant
in Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan;
and rare in northern foothills and
Peshawar valley of Khyber Pakhtoon
khwa. B. zonata alone has 80.6 per
cent population, thus the most
abundant specie of Pakistan.
B. zonata is polyphagous, but its main
hosts are ripe fruit of mango, guava
and peach although it also attacks
apricot, figs and citrus rendering them
inedible. The symptoms are normally
signs of oviposition punctures and a
Tephritid fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) are among the most
destructive agricultural pests in the world. There are nearly 5,000
described species of tephritid fruit fly, categorized in almost 500
genera, of which about 70 species are considered economically
important. The genus Bactrocera and Ceratitis have a world-wide
reputation for its destructive impact on agriculture.
Fruit flies cause huge economic losses on various crops and fruit. They easily
colonize new area and fly long distances, 50 100 km. They reproduce rapidly
and are very mobile.
fruit fly spp. However, in principle the
available technologies to combat this
pest can be divided into several
different categories as under:
New bait sprays
New more ecological sound bait
sprays have been introduced, most
notably the one from the Naturalyte
class known as spinosad, now
commercialized worldwide. This
product is ultra low volume multi
species Tephritidae fruit fly food bait.
It is available as a ready to use soluble
bait concentrate and is highly
efficacious, controlling both males and
females flies, with only a very small
amount of spinosad 0.24-0.36 gallon
per hectare. It is applied as a spot
treatment on every 3-4 trees at 7-14
day intervals (depending on pest
pressure). It is fully compatible with
IPM, Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)
and biological control strategies and is
selective to bees.
Trapping
Detection with traps is the first line of
defense against fruit flies and a critical
element in programs to control them.
There are 2 principal types of traps:
Those that induce flies to land and
become trapped on sticky surface, and
those that lure flies into an enclosed
space where they drown in a liquid
reservoir or contact an insecticide.
Examples of these types of traps:
a) Yellow sticky traps where insects
are attracted and simply get
caught on the sticky material.
b) McPhail Trap A food attractant
(protein hydrolysate or fruit juice)
is used in this trap and it attracts
both females and males mainly of
Bactrocera zonata. After feeding
on the solution, the flies are
prevented from flying out of the
trap crashing against the walls
and sinking in the solution
c) There is also a Fruit Fly Bait
Station that contains a Sensus trap
(small bucket type trap) with
protein hydrolysate and even a
toxicant can be added, to attract
males and females of mainly
Bactrocera spp.
Sterile insect technique
The sterile insect technique (SIT) is an
environment friendly method of pest
control that incorporates well into
integrated pest management
programs. It is gaining an increasing
role in the control of fruit fly. SIT
involves the release of large numbers
of sterilized insects into the
environment to mate with 'wild'
insects of the same species, and any
eggs laid are infertile, eventually
controlling the fruit fly population.
When fruit fly is detected in any one
area, releases of sterile flies will be
made twice a week for up to 12 weeks.
Sterile insects have a short life span
while fertile females may live for
several months. That is why it is
important to maintain high numbers
of sterile flies in the outbreak area. It
complements the use of bait sprays
and cultural methods to further
reduce the population.
Field sanitation
This is a technique that either prevents
fruit fly larvae from developing or
removes young emerging flies so they
cannot return to the crop to breed.
There are a number of methods that
can be employed such as: destroying
infested fruit on the tree or the fallen
fruit collected before and during
harvest; bagging or deep-burying
infested fruit; mulching or mowing
the fallen fruit and even drowning
larvae in the fruit. Intensive irrigation
directly after harvest of the fruit can
also be employed to kill pupae in the
soil. Removing fruit before it ripens
also reduces the larvae entering the
soil to pupate. Also no fruit should be
left on the tree after harvest.
Male Annihilation Technique
Male Annihilation Technique (MAT)
involves the use of a high density of
bait stations consisting of a male lures
such as methyl eugenol, trimedlure,
cuelure etc. to reduce the male
population of fruit flies to such a low
level that mating does not occur. The
lure traps are put out on a given area
in numbers to catch the majority of
males, thereby fertilizing fewer
females. Attract and kill systems
combine the male lures and a toxicant
and are more effective in suppressing
fruit fly males. MAT is normally used
in combination with other fruit fly
suppression techniques. In Pakistan it
has been slow to be adopted but could
become a good tool in an IPM
program or in an area-wide
suppression strategy.
Biological control
Parasitoids is a useful tool to minimize
fruit fly infestation but never reaches
100 per cent control because
parasitoids are host density
dependant. Three parasitoids have
been reported in Pakistan i.e. Dirhinus
giffardii (Pupal Parasitoid),
Trybliographa daci (Larval cum pupal
parastiod) and Diachasmimorpha
longicaudata (larval parasitoid). In
these D. giffardii and T. daci are
effective in plains, coastal and
sub-coastal areas, whereas D.
longicaudata is effective in uplands. In
Pakistan, the two parasitoid species D.
giffardii and T. daci is being
successfully mass reared in Nuclear
Institute of Agriculture, Tandojam and
are using for the eco- friendly
management of B. zonata and B.
dorsalis.
Conclusion
Tephritid Fruit flies are found
distributed throughout the Pakistan
and cause considerable economic
damage to fruit and vegetable crops.
With increasing emphasis on quality
of fruit and vegetable produce and
with the expansion of trade in
horticultural commodities, the
importance of good fly management
policies is vital. Phytosanitary
measures and quarantine checks are
increasingly necessary to prevent
transport to areas free of the
infestation. It is fortunate that there
are range of effective control measures
including eco- friendly techniques that
can be employed alone and/or in
combination. Corporation among
farmers is also increasingly essential
to combat the threat of fruit flies.FO
sugary liquid that exudes and
solidifies adjacent to the entry point.
Larvae feed on the flesh of the fruit,
causing it to decompose.
Peach fruit fly
The Peach fruit fly is a strong flier and
is active throughout the year, when
temperatures exceed 16C. Adults
appear in early spring and attack
jujube, changing to loquat and peach
by late April-June, and then to
mango, citrus, guava, pomegranate
and sapodilla for the rest of the year.
Peak populations occur July- October,
then decline November-December.
The pre-oviposition period is 10 to 23
days. The female lays an average of
137 eggs in batches of two to nine
under the rind of the host fruit. These
hatch in 2-3 days. Larvae feed on the
fruit for 1 to 3 weeks, then emerge to
pupate 2-15 cm in the ground. The
pupal period varies from 4 days in
summer to over 6 weeks in winter. On
the strength of published
observations, Peach fruit fly can
apparently survive winters in
temperate climates.
Melon fruit fly
The melon fruit fly, Bactrocera
cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Diptera:
Tephritidae) is distributed widely in
Pakistan. It has been reported to
damage 81 host plants and is a major
pest of cucurbitaceous vegetables,
particularly the bitter gourd
(Momordica charantia), muskmelon
(Cucumis melo), snap melon (C. melo
var. momordica), and snake gourd
(Trichosanthes anguina). The extent of
losses varies between 30 to 100 per
cent, depending on the cucurbit
species and the season. Its abundance
increases when the temperatures fall
below 32 C, and the relative humidity
ranges between 60 to 70 per cent. It
prefers to infest young, green,
soft-skinned fruits. It inserts the eggs 2
to 4 mm deep in the fruit tissues, and
the maggots feed inside the fruit.
Pupation occurs in the soil at 0.5 to 15
cm below the soil surface.
Oriental fruit fly
The oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera
dorsalis are also widely distributed in
Pakistan. Over 120 plants have been
reported to serve as hosts of oriental
fruit fly larvae, though many are
attacked only during population
outbreak conditions. Principal hosts
are fruits such as mango, apple, peach,
pear and citrus. The adult flies feed on
secretions of extra floral nectaries,
honeydew, rotting fruit, bird dung,
and other liquefied items. The adults
survive only three days without
water, and six days with water, but no
sources of carbohydrate. The ability of
flies to disperse long distances to
obtain food is present in this species.
Pumpkin fly
The lesser pumpkin fly, Dacus ciliatus
(Loew), is one of the fruit flies found
in Pakistan. It is a common pest of
cucurbits, although not as serious as
the melon fly, Bactrocera curcurbitae,
in areas where both species occur.
Larvae of D. ciliatus develop in the
fruits of a wide range of cucurbit crops
and wild Cucurbitaceae.
Management
There are a range of control measures
for fruit flies which depend on the
Their larvae feed on the pulp of the
fruit, making it soft and unfit for
human consumption. The fruit crops
attacked, include citrus, mango,
guava, top and stone-fruit, as well as
olives, vegetable crops and many
others.
In Pakistan, fruit flies have become a
severe problem and cause an
economic damage to our most of fruits
and vegetables. The most notable are
the peach fruit fly (Bactrocera
zonata (Saund)), Oriental fruit fly
B. Dorsalis and Melon fruit fly B.
cucurbitae. where as Dacus ciliatus
(Lowe), Myiopardalis pardalina
(Bigot), Carpomyia vesuviana
Costa and ber fruit fly (Zizyphus
mauritiana) also have a wide
distribution but of lower economic
importance.
Fruit losses from fruit flies, at the
farm level, are estimated to be $200
million annually in fruits and
vegetables. The majority of fruit
damage is attributed to the
infestation by the peach fruit fly
attacking mango and guava; with
added losses to traders, retailers
and exporters.
Important fruit flies in
Pakistan
A brief description of important
fruit flies is given below:
Peach fruit fly
The peach fruit fly, Bactrocera
zonata is considered one of the
most destructive fruit fly pests and
is found in Pakistan. It is abundant
in Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan;
and rare in northern foothills and
Peshawar valley of Khyber Pakhtoon
khwa. B. zonata alone has 80.6 per
cent population, thus the most
abundant specie of Pakistan.
B. zonata is polyphagous, but its main
hosts are ripe fruit of mango, guava
and peach although it also attacks
apricot, figs and citrus rendering them
inedible. The symptoms are normally
signs of oviposition punctures and a
Tephritid fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) are among the most
destructive agricultural pests in the world. There are nearly 5,000
described species of tephritid fruit fly, categorized in almost 500
genera, of which about 70 species are considered economically
important. The genus Bactrocera and Ceratitis have a world-wide
reputation for its destructive impact on agriculture.
Fruit flies cause huge economic losses on various crops and fruit. They easily
colonize new area and fly long distances, 50 100 km. They reproduce rapidly
and are very mobile.
23
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
fruit fly spp. However, in principle the
available technologies to combat this
pest can be divided into several
different categories as under:
New bait sprays
New more ecological sound bait
sprays have been introduced, most
notably the one from the Naturalyte
class known as spinosad, now
commercialized worldwide. This
product is ultra low volume multi
species Tephritidae fruit fly food bait.
It is available as a ready to use soluble
bait concentrate and is highly
efficacious, controlling both males and
females flies, with only a very small
amount of spinosad 0.24-0.36 gallon
per hectare. It is applied as a spot
treatment on every 3-4 trees at 7-14
day intervals (depending on pest
pressure). It is fully compatible with
IPM, Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)
and biological control strategies and is
selective to bees.
Trapping
Detection with traps is the first line of
defense against fruit flies and a critical
element in programs to control them.
There are 2 principal types of traps:
Those that induce flies to land and
become trapped on sticky surface, and
those that lure flies into an enclosed
space where they drown in a liquid
reservoir or contact an insecticide.
Examples of these types of traps:
a) Yellow sticky traps where insects
are attracted and simply get
caught on the sticky material.
b) McPhail Trap A food attractant
(protein hydrolysate or fruit juice)
is used in this trap and it attracts
both females and males mainly of
Bactrocera zonata. After feeding
on the solution, the flies are
prevented from flying out of the
trap crashing against the walls
and sinking in the solution
c) There is also a Fruit Fly Bait
Station that contains a Sensus trap
(small bucket type trap) with
protein hydrolysate and even a
toxicant can be added, to attract
males and females of mainly
Bactrocera spp.
Sterile insect technique
The sterile insect technique (SIT) is an
environment friendly method of pest
control that incorporates well into
integrated pest management
programs. It is gaining an increasing
role in the control of fruit fly. SIT
involves the release of large numbers
of sterilized insects into the
environment to mate with 'wild'
insects of the same species, and any
eggs laid are infertile, eventually
controlling the fruit fly population.
When fruit fly is detected in any one
area, releases of sterile flies will be
made twice a week for up to 12 weeks.
Sterile insects have a short life span
while fertile females may live for
several months. That is why it is
important to maintain high numbers
of sterile flies in the outbreak area. It
complements the use of bait sprays
and cultural methods to further
reduce the population.
Field sanitation
This is a technique that either prevents
fruit fly larvae from developing or
removes young emerging flies so they
cannot return to the crop to breed.
There are a number of methods that
can be employed such as: destroying
infested fruit on the tree or the fallen
fruit collected before and during
harvest; bagging or deep-burying
infested fruit; mulching or mowing
the fallen fruit and even drowning
larvae in the fruit. Intensive irrigation
directly after harvest of the fruit can
also be employed to kill pupae in the
soil. Removing fruit before it ripens
also reduces the larvae entering the
soil to pupate. Also no fruit should be
left on the tree after harvest.
Male Annihilation Technique
Male Annihilation Technique (MAT)
involves the use of a high density of
bait stations consisting of a male lures
such as methyl eugenol, trimedlure,
cuelure etc. to reduce the male
population of fruit flies to such a low
level that mating does not occur. The
lure traps are put out on a given area
in numbers to catch the majority of
males, thereby fertilizing fewer
females. Attract and kill systems
combine the male lures and a toxicant
and are more effective in suppressing
fruit fly males. MAT is normally used
in combination with other fruit fly
suppression techniques. In Pakistan it
has been slow to be adopted but could
become a good tool in an IPM
program or in an area-wide
suppression strategy.
Biological control
Parasitoids is a useful tool to minimize
fruit fly infestation but never reaches
100 per cent control because
parasitoids are host density
dependant. Three parasitoids have
been reported in Pakistan i.e. Dirhinus
giffardii (Pupal Parasitoid),
Trybliographa daci (Larval cum pupal
parastiod) and Diachasmimorpha
longicaudata (larval parasitoid). In
these D. giffardii and T. daci are
effective in plains, coastal and
sub-coastal areas, whereas D.
longicaudata is effective in uplands. In
Pakistan, the two parasitoid species D.
giffardii and T. daci is being
successfully mass reared in Nuclear
Institute of Agriculture, Tandojam and
are using for the eco- friendly
management of B. zonata and B.
dorsalis.
Conclusion
Tephritid Fruit flies are found
distributed throughout the Pakistan
and cause considerable economic
damage to fruit and vegetable crops.
With increasing emphasis on quality
of fruit and vegetable produce and
with the expansion of trade in
horticultural commodities, the
importance of good fly management
policies is vital. Phytosanitary
measures and quarantine checks are
increasingly necessary to prevent
transport to areas free of the
infestation. It is fortunate that there
are range of effective control measures
including eco- friendly techniques that
can be employed alone and/or in
combination. Corporation among
farmers is also increasingly essential
to combat the threat of fruit flies.FO
sugary liquid that exudes and
solidifies adjacent to the entry point.
Larvae feed on the flesh of the fruit,
causing it to decompose.
Peach fruit fly
The Peach fruit fly is a strong flier and
is active throughout the year, when
temperatures exceed 16C. Adults
appear in early spring and attack
jujube, changing to loquat and peach
by late April-June, and then to
mango, citrus, guava, pomegranate
and sapodilla for the rest of the year.
Peak populations occur July- October,
then decline November-December.
The pre-oviposition period is 10 to 23
days. The female lays an average of
137 eggs in batches of two to nine
under the rind of the host fruit. These
hatch in 2-3 days. Larvae feed on the
fruit for 1 to 3 weeks, then emerge to
pupate 2-15 cm in the ground. The
pupal period varies from 4 days in
summer to over 6 weeks in winter. On
the strength of published
observations, Peach fruit fly can
apparently survive winters in
temperate climates.
Melon fruit fly
The melon fruit fly, Bactrocera
cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Diptera:
Tephritidae) is distributed widely in
Pakistan. It has been reported to
damage 81 host plants and is a major
pest of cucurbitaceous vegetables,
particularly the bitter gourd
(Momordica charantia), muskmelon
(Cucumis melo), snap melon (C. melo
var. momordica), and snake gourd
(Trichosanthes anguina). The extent of
losses varies between 30 to 100 per
cent, depending on the cucurbit
species and the season. Its abundance
increases when the temperatures fall
below 32 C, and the relative humidity
ranges between 60 to 70 per cent. It
prefers to infest young, green,
soft-skinned fruits. It inserts the eggs 2
to 4 mm deep in the fruit tissues, and
the maggots feed inside the fruit.
Pupation occurs in the soil at 0.5 to 15
cm below the soil surface.
Oriental fruit fly
The oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera
dorsalis are also widely distributed in
Pakistan. Over 120 plants have been
reported to serve as hosts of oriental
fruit fly larvae, though many are
attacked only during population
outbreak conditions. Principal hosts
are fruits such as mango, apple, peach,
pear and citrus. The adult flies feed on
secretions of extra floral nectaries,
honeydew, rotting fruit, bird dung,
and other liquefied items. The adults
survive only three days without
water, and six days with water, but no
sources of carbohydrate. The ability of
flies to disperse long distances to
obtain food is present in this species.
Pumpkin fly
The lesser pumpkin fly, Dacus ciliatus
(Loew), is one of the fruit flies found
in Pakistan. It is a common pest of
cucurbits, although not as serious as
the melon fly, Bactrocera curcurbitae,
in areas where both species occur.
Larvae of D. ciliatus develop in the
fruits of a wide range of cucurbit crops
and wild Cucurbitaceae.
Management
There are a range of control measures
for fruit flies which depend on the
Their larvae feed on the pulp of the
fruit, making it soft and unfit for
human consumption. The fruit crops
attacked, include citrus, mango,
guava, top and stone-fruit, as well as
olives, vegetable crops and many
others.
In Pakistan, fruit flies have become a
severe problem and cause an
economic damage to our most of fruits
and vegetables. The most notable are
the peach fruit fly (Bactrocera
zonata (Saund)), Oriental fruit fly
B. Dorsalis and Melon fruit fly B.
cucurbitae. where as Dacus ciliatus
(Lowe), Myiopardalis pardalina
(Bigot), Carpomyia vesuviana
Costa and ber fruit fly (Zizyphus
mauritiana) also have a wide
distribution but of lower economic
importance.
Fruit losses from fruit flies, at the
farm level, are estimated to be $200
million annually in fruits and
vegetables. The majority of fruit
damage is attributed to the
infestation by the peach fruit fly
attacking mango and guava; with
added losses to traders, retailers
and exporters.
Important fruit flies in
Pakistan
A brief description of important
fruit flies is given below:
Peach fruit fly
The peach fruit fly, Bactrocera
zonata is considered one of the
most destructive fruit fly pests and
is found in Pakistan. It is abundant
in Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan;
and rare in northern foothills and
Peshawar valley of Khyber Pakhtoon
khwa. B. zonata alone has 80.6 per
cent population, thus the most
abundant specie of Pakistan.
B. zonata is polyphagous, but its main
hosts are ripe fruit of mango, guava
and peach although it also attacks
apricot, figs and citrus rendering them
inedible. The symptoms are normally
signs of oviposition punctures and a
Tephritid fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) are among the most
destructive agricultural pests in the world. There are nearly 5,000
described species of tephritid fruit fly, categorized in almost 500
genera, of which about 70 species are considered economically
important. The genus Bactrocera and Ceratitis have a world-wide
reputation for its destructive impact on agriculture.
Fruit flies cause huge economic losses on various crops and fruit. They easily
colonize new area and fly long distances, 50 100 km. They reproduce rapidly
and are very mobile.
fruit fly spp. However, in principle the
available technologies to combat this
pest can be divided into several
different categories as under:
New bait sprays
New more ecological sound bait
sprays have been introduced, most
notably the one from the Naturalyte
class known as spinosad, now
commercialized worldwide. This
product is ultra low volume multi
species Tephritidae fruit fly food bait.
It is available as a ready to use soluble
bait concentrate and is highly
efficacious, controlling both males and
females flies, with only a very small
amount of spinosad 0.24-0.36 gallon
per hectare. It is applied as a spot
treatment on every 3-4 trees at 7-14
day intervals (depending on pest
pressure). It is fully compatible with
IPM, Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)
and biological control strategies and is
selective to bees.
Trapping
Detection with traps is the first line of
defense against fruit flies and a critical
element in programs to control them.
There are 2 principal types of traps:
Those that induce flies to land and
become trapped on sticky surface, and
those that lure flies into an enclosed
space where they drown in a liquid
reservoir or contact an insecticide.
Examples of these types of traps:
a) Yellow sticky traps where insects
are attracted and simply get
caught on the sticky material.
b) McPhail Trap A food attractant
(protein hydrolysate or fruit juice)
is used in this trap and it attracts
both females and males mainly of
Bactrocera zonata. After feeding
on the solution, the flies are
prevented from flying out of the
trap crashing against the walls
and sinking in the solution
c) There is also a Fruit Fly Bait
Station that contains a Sensus trap
(small bucket type trap) with
protein hydrolysate and even a
toxicant can be added, to attract
males and females of mainly
Bactrocera spp.
Sterile insect technique
The sterile insect technique (SIT) is an
environment friendly method of pest
control that incorporates well into
integrated pest management
programs. It is gaining an increasing
role in the control of fruit fly. SIT
involves the release of large numbers
of sterilized insects into the
environment to mate with 'wild'
insects of the same species, and any
eggs laid are infertile, eventually
controlling the fruit fly population.
When fruit fly is detected in any one
area, releases of sterile flies will be
made twice a week for up to 12 weeks.
Sterile insects have a short life span
while fertile females may live for
several months. That is why it is
important to maintain high numbers
of sterile flies in the outbreak area. It
complements the use of bait sprays
and cultural methods to further
reduce the population.
Field sanitation
This is a technique that either prevents
24
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
fruit fly larvae from developing or
removes young emerging flies so they
cannot return to the crop to breed.
There are a number of methods that
can be employed such as: destroying
infested fruit on the tree or the fallen
fruit collected before and during
harvest; bagging or deep-burying
infested fruit; mulching or mowing
the fallen fruit and even drowning
larvae in the fruit. Intensive irrigation
directly after harvest of the fruit can
also be employed to kill pupae in the
soil. Removing fruit before it ripens
also reduces the larvae entering the
soil to pupate. Also no fruit should be
left on the tree after harvest.
Male Annihilation Technique
Male Annihilation Technique (MAT)
involves the use of a high density of
bait stations consisting of a male lures
such as methyl eugenol, trimedlure,
cuelure etc. to reduce the male
population of fruit flies to such a low
level that mating does not occur. The
lure traps are put out on a given area
in numbers to catch the majority of
males, thereby fertilizing fewer
females. Attract and kill systems
combine the male lures and a toxicant
and are more effective in suppressing
fruit fly males. MAT is normally used
in combination with other fruit fly
suppression techniques. In Pakistan it
has been slow to be adopted but could
become a good tool in an IPM
program or in an area-wide
suppression strategy.
Biological control
Parasitoids is a useful tool to minimize
fruit fly infestation but never reaches
100 per cent control because
parasitoids are host density
dependant. Three parasitoids have
been reported in Pakistan i.e. Dirhinus
giffardii (Pupal Parasitoid),
Trybliographa daci (Larval cum pupal
parastiod) and Diachasmimorpha
longicaudata (larval parasitoid). In
these D. giffardii and T. daci are
effective in plains, coastal and
sub-coastal areas, whereas D.
longicaudata is effective in uplands. In
Pakistan, the two parasitoid species D.
giffardii and T. daci is being
successfully mass reared in Nuclear
Institute of Agriculture, Tandojam and
are using for the eco- friendly
management of B. zonata and B.
dorsalis.
Conclusion
Tephritid Fruit flies are found
distributed throughout the Pakistan
and cause considerable economic
damage to fruit and vegetable crops.
With increasing emphasis on quality
of fruit and vegetable produce and
with the expansion of trade in
horticultural commodities, the
importance of good fly management
policies is vital. Phytosanitary
measures and quarantine checks are
increasingly necessary to prevent
transport to areas free of the
infestation. It is fortunate that there
are range of effective control measures
including eco- friendly techniques that
can be employed alone and/or in
combination. Corporation among
farmers is also increasingly essential
to combat the threat of fruit flies.FO
sugary liquid that exudes and
solidifies adjacent to the entry point.
Larvae feed on the flesh of the fruit,
causing it to decompose.
Peach fruit fly
The Peach fruit fly is a strong flier and
is active throughout the year, when
temperatures exceed 16C. Adults
appear in early spring and attack
jujube, changing to loquat and peach
by late April-June, and then to
mango, citrus, guava, pomegranate
and sapodilla for the rest of the year.
Peak populations occur July- October,
then decline November-December.
The pre-oviposition period is 10 to 23
days. The female lays an average of
137 eggs in batches of two to nine
under the rind of the host fruit. These
hatch in 2-3 days. Larvae feed on the
fruit for 1 to 3 weeks, then emerge to
pupate 2-15 cm in the ground. The
pupal period varies from 4 days in
summer to over 6 weeks in winter. On
the strength of published
observations, Peach fruit fly can
apparently survive winters in
temperate climates.
Melon fruit fly
The melon fruit fly, Bactrocera
cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Diptera:
Tephritidae) is distributed widely in
Pakistan. It has been reported to
damage 81 host plants and is a major
pest of cucurbitaceous vegetables,
particularly the bitter gourd
(Momordica charantia), muskmelon
(Cucumis melo), snap melon (C. melo
var. momordica), and snake gourd
(Trichosanthes anguina). The extent of
losses varies between 30 to 100 per
cent, depending on the cucurbit
species and the season. Its abundance
increases when the temperatures fall
below 32 C, and the relative humidity
ranges between 60 to 70 per cent. It
prefers to infest young, green,
soft-skinned fruits. It inserts the eggs 2
to 4 mm deep in the fruit tissues, and
the maggots feed inside the fruit.
Pupation occurs in the soil at 0.5 to 15
cm below the soil surface.
Oriental fruit fly
The oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera
dorsalis are also widely distributed in
Pakistan. Over 120 plants have been
reported to serve as hosts of oriental
fruit fly larvae, though many are
attacked only during population
outbreak conditions. Principal hosts
are fruits such as mango, apple, peach,
pear and citrus. The adult flies feed on
secretions of extra floral nectaries,
honeydew, rotting fruit, bird dung,
and other liquefied items. The adults
survive only three days without
water, and six days with water, but no
sources of carbohydrate. The ability of
flies to disperse long distances to
obtain food is present in this species.
Pumpkin fly
The lesser pumpkin fly, Dacus ciliatus
(Loew), is one of the fruit flies found
in Pakistan. It is a common pest of
cucurbits, although not as serious as
the melon fly, Bactrocera curcurbitae,
in areas where both species occur.
Larvae of D. ciliatus develop in the
fruits of a wide range of cucurbit crops
and wild Cucurbitaceae.
Management
There are a range of control measures
for fruit flies which depend on the
Their larvae feed on the pulp of the
fruit, making it soft and unfit for
human consumption. The fruit crops
attacked, include citrus, mango,
guava, top and stone-fruit, as well as
olives, vegetable crops and many
others.
In Pakistan, fruit flies have become a
severe problem and cause an
economic damage to our most of fruits
and vegetables. The most notable are
the peach fruit fly (Bactrocera
zonata (Saund)), Oriental fruit fly
B. Dorsalis and Melon fruit fly B.
cucurbitae. where as Dacus ciliatus
(Lowe), Myiopardalis pardalina
(Bigot), Carpomyia vesuviana
Costa and ber fruit fly (Zizyphus
mauritiana) also have a wide
distribution but of lower economic
importance.
Fruit losses from fruit flies, at the
farm level, are estimated to be $200
million annually in fruits and
vegetables. The majority of fruit
damage is attributed to the
infestation by the peach fruit fly
attacking mango and guava; with
added losses to traders, retailers
and exporters.
Important fruit flies in
Pakistan
A brief description of important
fruit flies is given below:
Peach fruit fly
The peach fruit fly, Bactrocera
zonata is considered one of the
most destructive fruit fly pests and
is found in Pakistan. It is abundant
in Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan;
and rare in northern foothills and
Peshawar valley of Khyber Pakhtoon
khwa. B. zonata alone has 80.6 per
cent population, thus the most
abundant specie of Pakistan.
B. zonata is polyphagous, but its main
hosts are ripe fruit of mango, guava
and peach although it also attacks
apricot, figs and citrus rendering them
inedible. The symptoms are normally
signs of oviposition punctures and a
Tephritid fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) are among the most
destructive agricultural pests in the world. There are nearly 5,000
described species of tephritid fruit fly, categorized in almost 500
genera, of which about 70 species are considered economically
important. The genus Bactrocera and Ceratitis have a world-wide
reputation for its destructive impact on agriculture.
Fruit flies cause huge economic losses on various crops and fruit. They easily
colonize new area and fly long distances, 50 100 km. They reproduce rapidly
and are very mobile.
fruit fly spp. However, in principle the
available technologies to combat this
pest can be divided into several
different categories as under:
New bait sprays
New more ecological sound bait
sprays have been introduced, most
notably the one from the Naturalyte
class known as spinosad, now
commercialized worldwide. This
product is ultra low volume multi
species Tephritidae fruit fly food bait.
It is available as a ready to use soluble
bait concentrate and is highly
efficacious, controlling both males and
females flies, with only a very small
amount of spinosad 0.24-0.36 gallon
per hectare. It is applied as a spot
treatment on every 3-4 trees at 7-14
day intervals (depending on pest
pressure). It is fully compatible with
IPM, Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)
and biological control strategies and is
selective to bees.
Trapping
Detection with traps is the first line of
defense against fruit flies and a critical
element in programs to control them.
There are 2 principal types of traps:
Those that induce flies to land and
become trapped on sticky surface, and
those that lure flies into an enclosed
space where they drown in a liquid
reservoir or contact an insecticide.
Examples of these types of traps:
a) Yellow sticky traps where insects
are attracted and simply get
caught on the sticky material.
b) McPhail Trap A food attractant
(protein hydrolysate or fruit juice)
is used in this trap and it attracts
both females and males mainly of
Bactrocera zonata. After feeding
on the solution, the flies are
prevented from flying out of the
trap crashing against the walls
and sinking in the solution
c) There is also a Fruit Fly Bait
Station that contains a Sensus trap
(small bucket type trap) with
protein hydrolysate and even a
toxicant can be added, to attract
males and females of mainly
Bactrocera spp.
Sterile insect technique
The sterile insect technique (SIT) is an
environment friendly method of pest
control that incorporates well into
integrated pest management
programs. It is gaining an increasing
role in the control of fruit fly. SIT
involves the release of large numbers
of sterilized insects into the
environment to mate with 'wild'
insects of the same species, and any
eggs laid are infertile, eventually
controlling the fruit fly population.
When fruit fly is detected in any one
area, releases of sterile flies will be
made twice a week for up to 12 weeks.
Sterile insects have a short life span
while fertile females may live for
several months. That is why it is
important to maintain high numbers
of sterile flies in the outbreak area. It
complements the use of bait sprays
and cultural methods to further
reduce the population.
Field sanitation
This is a technique that either prevents
fruit fly larvae from developing or
removes young emerging flies so they
cannot return to the crop to breed.
There are a number of methods that
can be employed such as: destroying
infested fruit on the tree or the fallen
fruit collected before and during
harvest; bagging or deep-burying
infested fruit; mulching or mowing
the fallen fruit and even drowning
larvae in the fruit. Intensive irrigation
directly after harvest of the fruit can
also be employed to kill pupae in the
soil. Removing fruit before it ripens
also reduces the larvae entering the
soil to pupate. Also no fruit should be
left on the tree after harvest.
Male Annihilation Technique
Male Annihilation Technique (MAT)
involves the use of a high density of
bait stations consisting of a male lures
such as methyl eugenol, trimedlure,
cuelure etc. to reduce the male
population of fruit flies to such a low
level that mating does not occur. The
lure traps are put out on a given area
in numbers to catch the majority of
males, thereby fertilizing fewer
females. Attract and kill systems
combine the male lures and a toxicant
and are more effective in suppressing
fruit fly males. MAT is normally used
in combination with other fruit fly
suppression techniques. In Pakistan it
has been slow to be adopted but could
become a good tool in an IPM
program or in an area-wide
suppression strategy.
Biological control
Parasitoids is a useful tool to minimize
fruit fly infestation but never reaches
100 per cent control because
parasitoids are host density
dependant. Three parasitoids have
been reported in Pakistan i.e. Dirhinus
giffardii (Pupal Parasitoid),
Trybliographa daci (Larval cum pupal
parastiod) and Diachasmimorpha
longicaudata (larval parasitoid). In
these D. giffardii and T. daci are
effective in plains, coastal and
sub-coastal areas, whereas D.
longicaudata is effective in uplands. In
Pakistan, the two parasitoid species D.
giffardii and T. daci is being
successfully mass reared in Nuclear
Institute of Agriculture, Tandojam and
are using for the eco- friendly
management of B. zonata and B.
dorsalis.
Conclusion
Tephritid Fruit flies are found
distributed throughout the Pakistan
and cause considerable economic
damage to fruit and vegetable crops.
With increasing emphasis on quality
of fruit and vegetable produce and
with the expansion of trade in
horticultural commodities, the
importance of good fly management
policies is vital. Phytosanitary
measures and quarantine checks are
increasingly necessary to prevent
transport to areas free of the
infestation. It is fortunate that there
are range of effective control measures
including eco- friendly techniques that
can be employed alone and/or in
combination. Corporation among
farmers is also increasingly essential
to combat the threat of fruit flies.FO
25
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
Imran Rauf*, S. M. M. Shah Rashdi, Nazir Ahmad, M. Ismail & M. Hamayoon khan are from
Nuclear Institute of Agriculture, Tandojam, Hyderabad. uniper_786@hotmail.com
sources of calcium and fiber.
According to USDA data for
the Mission variety, dried figs
are richest in fiber, copper,
manganese, magnesium,
potassium, calcium, and
vitamin K, relative to human
needs. Figs have a laxative
effect and contain many
antioxidants. They are good
source of flavonoids and
polyphenols. In one study, a
40-gram portion of dried figs
(two medium size figs)
produced a significant increase
in plasma antioxidant capacity.
High density fig growing
The fig is being grown as tree
(260-435 plants per acre);
however results of early trials
at National Agriculture
Research Centre (NARC)
Islamabad have shown that it
can be grown as a low height
plant in high density plantation
as high as strawberry or cotton
in rows (row to row 2 ft and
plant to plant 1 ft; 21780 plants
per acre) Figure 1. Every year
after leaf fall
(December-January) before
spring sprouting if plantation is
severly pruned like Falsa
(Grewia asiatica L.) leaving 3-6
inch of stem from groung level;
one can get 60,000 to 70,000
cuttings (of pruned wood) from
an acre for nursery planting.
Fruiting commences in less
than a year. Over 5 tones of
fresh fruit per acre can be
harvested as spring crop from
the pruned plants every year
Reasons for low production
There are many reasons for low
production and there is need to
increase the productivity in order to
meet the needs of increasing
population and exports as well. To
increase the production we need
either to increase the area under fruit
cultivation or to go for modern
orchard establishment i.e.
high-density plantings and best
management practices.
Principle of high density
orcharding
Control of excessive vegetative growth
in a tree for increased productivity is
major principle of high-density
orcharding. Horticultural methods
most commonly known to control tree
growth are training of a plant at low
stature through pruning, use of
dwarfing rootstocks and growth
regulators. Farmers of small land
holdings can get more income from a
small area through high-density
orchards; they can intercrop other
fruits of short duration as well i.e.
papaya, pineapple and strawberry.
Fig agronomy
The common fig (Ficus carica) is a
large, deciduous shrub or small tree
native to southwest Asia and the
Mediterranean region (from
Afghanistan to Portugal). The fig
grows best and produces the best
quality fruit in Mediterranean and
dryer warm-temperate climates. Rains
during fruit development and
ripening can cause the fruits to split.
It grows to a height of 6.910 metres
(2333 ft) tall.
Propagation
Fig plants are easy to propagate
through several methods. Propagation
using seeds is not the preferred
method since vegetative methods exist
that are quicker and more reliable. For
spring propagation, before the tree
starts growth, cut 1525 cm (6-10
inches) shoots that have healthy buds
at their ends, and set into a moist
perlite and/or sandy soil mix located
in the shade. Once the cuttings start to
produce leaves, bury them up to the
bottom leaf to give the plant a good
start in the desired location.
Planting
Plants in the field may be spaced from
6 to 25 ft (1.8-7.5 m) apart depending
on the cultivar and the fertility of the
soil. A spacing of 13 x 13 ft (4x4 m)
allows 260 trees/acre (625 trees/ha).
In Colombia, growers are advised to
set the trees at 10 x 10 ft (3x3 m) on
level land, 10 x 13 ft (3x4 m) on slopes.
Pruning
Fig trees are cut back severely in fall
or winter, depending on whether the
crop is desired the following summer
or fall. Branches are often notched to
induce lateral branching and increase
the yield.
Uses
Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, used
in jam-making and pickling. Most
commercial production is in dried or
otherwise processed, since the ripe
fruit does not transport well, and once
picked does not keep well.
Nutritive value
Figs are one of the highest plant
High density fruit orchards
for higher productivity
h
o
r
t
i
c
u
l
t
u
r
e
26
Hafeez-ur-Rahman
Yields of fruit orchards are strongly related to tree planting
density. Low yields of traditional orchards can be improved
substantially with high density orchards; however growers have
little experience about it. This system, popularly known as High
Density Planting (HDP); enables earlier cropping of higher regular
yields and improved farm management practices; leading to higher
productivity with better fruit quality and profitability.
According to Agricultural Statistics, area under cultivation of fruits in Pakistan
is about 875,000 hectares, of which 7,200,000 tonnes of fresh fruits is obtained
annually, with an average production of about 8.23 tonnes per hectare, which is
very low as compared to the advanced countries i.e. 20-25 tonnes per hectare.
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
(Figure 2 and3).

Varieties suitable
for high density
planting
Black Mission: Fruits
all-over black purple,
elongated, Flesh
watermelon to pink,
fairly good taste.
Easily dried at home.
Single best all-round
variety for south,
north, coast,
interior.
Brown Turkey:
Medium, skin is
purplish brown,
flesh pinkish amber.
Good flavor. Best
when fresh. Small,
hardy, vigorous
tree.FO
sources of calcium and fiber.
According to USDA data for
the Mission variety, dried figs
are richest in fiber, copper,
manganese, magnesium,
potassium, calcium, and
vitamin K, relative to human
needs. Figs have a laxative
effect and contain many
antioxidants. They are good
source of flavonoids and
polyphenols. In one study, a
40-gram portion of dried figs
(two medium size figs)
produced a significant increase
in plasma antioxidant capacity.
High density fig growing
The fig is being grown as tree
(260-435 plants per acre);
however results of early trials
at National Agriculture
Research Centre (NARC)
Islamabad have shown that it
can be grown as a low height
plant in high density plantation
as high as strawberry or cotton
in rows (row to row 2 ft and
plant to plant 1 ft; 21780 plants
per acre) Figure 1. Every year
after leaf fall
(December-January) before
spring sprouting if plantation is
severly pruned like Falsa
(Grewia asiatica L.) leaving 3-6
inch of stem from groung level;
one can get 60,000 to 70,000
cuttings (of pruned wood) from
an acre for nursery planting.
Fruiting commences in less
than a year. Over 5 tones of
fresh fruit per acre can be
harvested as spring crop from
the pruned plants every year
27
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
Reasons for low production
There are many reasons for low
production and there is need to
increase the productivity in order to
meet the needs of increasing
population and exports as well. To
increase the production we need
either to increase the area under fruit
cultivation or to go for modern
orchard establishment i.e.
high-density plantings and best
management practices.
Principle of high density
orcharding
Control of excessive vegetative growth
in a tree for increased productivity is
major principle of high-density
orcharding. Horticultural methods
most commonly known to control tree
growth are training of a plant at low
stature through pruning, use of
dwarfing rootstocks and growth
regulators. Farmers of small land
holdings can get more income from a
small area through high-density
orchards; they can intercrop other
fruits of short duration as well i.e.
papaya, pineapple and strawberry.
Fig agronomy
The common fig (Ficus carica) is a
large, deciduous shrub or small tree
native to southwest Asia and the
Mediterranean region (from
Afghanistan to Portugal). The fig
grows best and produces the best
quality fruit in Mediterranean and
dryer warm-temperate climates. Rains
during fruit development and
ripening can cause the fruits to split.
It grows to a height of 6.910 metres
(2333 ft) tall.
Propagation
Fig plants are easy to propagate
through several methods. Propagation
using seeds is not the preferred
method since vegetative methods exist
that are quicker and more reliable. For
spring propagation, before the tree
starts growth, cut 1525 cm (6-10
inches) shoots that have healthy buds
at their ends, and set into a moist
perlite and/or sandy soil mix located
in the shade. Once the cuttings start to
produce leaves, bury them up to the
bottom leaf to give the plant a good
start in the desired location.
Planting
Plants in the field may be spaced from
6 to 25 ft (1.8-7.5 m) apart depending
on the cultivar and the fertility of the
soil. A spacing of 13 x 13 ft (4x4 m)
allows 260 trees/acre (625 trees/ha).
In Colombia, growers are advised to
set the trees at 10 x 10 ft (3x3 m) on
level land, 10 x 13 ft (3x4 m) on slopes.
Pruning
Fig trees are cut back severely in fall
or winter, depending on whether the
crop is desired the following summer
or fall. Branches are often notched to
induce lateral branching and increase
the yield.
Uses
Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, used
in jam-making and pickling. Most
commercial production is in dried or
otherwise processed, since the ripe
fruit does not transport well, and once
picked does not keep well.
Nutritive value
Figs are one of the highest plant
Yields of fruit orchards are strongly related to tree planting
density. Low yields of traditional orchards can be improved
substantially with high density orchards; however growers have
little experience about it. This system, popularly known as High
Density Planting (HDP); enables earlier cropping of higher regular
yields and improved farm management practices; leading to higher
productivity with better fruit quality and profitability.
According to Agricultural Statistics, area under cultivation of fruits in Pakistan
is about 875,000 hectares, of which 7,200,000 tonnes of fresh fruits is obtained
annually, with an average production of about 8.23 tonnes per hectare, which is
very low as compared to the advanced countries i.e. 20-25 tonnes per hectare.
(Figure 2 and3).

Varieties suitable
for high density
planting
Black Mission: Fruits
all-over black purple,
elongated, Flesh
watermelon to pink,
fairly good taste.
Easily dried at home.
Single best all-round
variety for south,
north, coast,
interior.
Brown Turkey:
Medium, skin is
purplish brown,
flesh pinkish amber.
Good flavor. Best
when fresh. Small,
hardy, vigorous
tree.FO
sources of calcium and fiber.
According to USDA data for
the Mission variety, dried figs
are richest in fiber, copper,
manganese, magnesium,
potassium, calcium, and
vitamin K, relative to human
needs. Figs have a laxative
effect and contain many
antioxidants. They are good
source of flavonoids and
polyphenols. In one study, a
40-gram portion of dried figs
(two medium size figs)
produced a significant increase
in plasma antioxidant capacity.
High density fig growing
The fig is being grown as tree
(260-435 plants per acre);
however results of early trials
at National Agriculture
Research Centre (NARC)
Islamabad have shown that it
can be grown as a low height
plant in high density plantation
as high as strawberry or cotton
in rows (row to row 2 ft and
plant to plant 1 ft; 21780 plants
per acre) Figure 1. Every year
after leaf fall
(December-January) before
spring sprouting if plantation is
severly pruned like Falsa
(Grewia asiatica L.) leaving 3-6
inch of stem from groung level;
one can get 60,000 to 70,000
cuttings (of pruned wood) from
an acre for nursery planting.
Fruiting commences in less
than a year. Over 5 tones of
fresh fruit per acre can be
harvested as spring crop from
the pruned plants every year
Reasons for low production
There are many reasons for low
production and there is need to
increase the productivity in order to
meet the needs of increasing
population and exports as well. To
increase the production we need
either to increase the area under fruit
cultivation or to go for modern
orchard establishment i.e.
high-density plantings and best
management practices.
Principle of high density
orcharding
Control of excessive vegetative growth
in a tree for increased productivity is
major principle of high-density
orcharding. Horticultural methods
most commonly known to control tree
growth are training of a plant at low
stature through pruning, use of
dwarfing rootstocks and growth
regulators. Farmers of small land
holdings can get more income from a
small area through high-density
orchards; they can intercrop other
fruits of short duration as well i.e.
papaya, pineapple and strawberry.
Fig agronomy
The common fig (Ficus carica) is a
large, deciduous shrub or small tree
native to southwest Asia and the
Mediterranean region (from
Afghanistan to Portugal). The fig
grows best and produces the best
quality fruit in Mediterranean and
dryer warm-temperate climates. Rains
during fruit development and
ripening can cause the fruits to split.
It grows to a height of 6.910 metres
(2333 ft) tall.
Propagation
Fig plants are easy to propagate
through several methods. Propagation
using seeds is not the preferred
method since vegetative methods exist
that are quicker and more reliable. For
spring propagation, before the tree
starts growth, cut 1525 cm (6-10
inches) shoots that have healthy buds
at their ends, and set into a moist
perlite and/or sandy soil mix located
in the shade. Once the cuttings start to
produce leaves, bury them up to the
bottom leaf to give the plant a good
start in the desired location.
Planting
Plants in the field may be spaced from
6 to 25 ft (1.8-7.5 m) apart depending
on the cultivar and the fertility of the
soil. A spacing of 13 x 13 ft (4x4 m)
allows 260 trees/acre (625 trees/ha).
In Colombia, growers are advised to
set the trees at 10 x 10 ft (3x3 m) on
level land, 10 x 13 ft (3x4 m) on slopes.
Pruning
Fig trees are cut back severely in fall
or winter, depending on whether the
crop is desired the following summer
or fall. Branches are often notched to
induce lateral branching and increase
the yield.
Uses
Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, used
in jam-making and pickling. Most
commercial production is in dried or
otherwise processed, since the ripe
fruit does not transport well, and once
picked does not keep well.
Nutritive value
Figs are one of the highest plant
Yields of fruit orchards are strongly related to tree planting
density. Low yields of traditional orchards can be improved
substantially with high density orchards; however growers have
little experience about it. This system, popularly known as High
Density Planting (HDP); enables earlier cropping of higher regular
yields and improved farm management practices; leading to higher
productivity with better fruit quality and profitability.
According to Agricultural Statistics, area under cultivation of fruits in Pakistan
is about 875,000 hectares, of which 7,200,000 tonnes of fresh fruits is obtained
annually, with an average production of about 8.23 tonnes per hectare, which is
very low as compared to the advanced countries i.e. 20-25 tonnes per hectare.
28
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
(Figure 2 and3).

Varieties suitable
for high density
planting
Black Mission: Fruits
all-over black purple,
elongated, Flesh
watermelon to pink,
fairly good taste.
Easily dried at home.
Single best all-round
variety for south,
north, coast,
interior.
Brown Turkey:
Medium, skin is
purplish brown,
flesh pinkish amber.
Good flavor. Best
when fresh. Small,
hardy, vigorous
tree.FO
Figure 1. High Density Plantation trial of the Fig at NARC
Figure 3. High Density Fig Plantation at fruit maturity
Figure 2. High Density Fig Plantation at fruiting
sources of calcium and fiber.
According to USDA data for
the Mission variety, dried figs
are richest in fiber, copper,
manganese, magnesium,
potassium, calcium, and
vitamin K, relative to human
needs. Figs have a laxative
effect and contain many
antioxidants. They are good
source of flavonoids and
polyphenols. In one study, a
40-gram portion of dried figs
(two medium size figs)
produced a significant increase
in plasma antioxidant capacity.
High density fig growing
The fig is being grown as tree
(260-435 plants per acre);
however results of early trials
at National Agriculture
Research Centre (NARC)
Islamabad have shown that it
can be grown as a low height
plant in high density plantation
as high as strawberry or cotton
in rows (row to row 2 ft and
plant to plant 1 ft; 21780 plants
per acre) Figure 1. Every year
after leaf fall
(December-January) before
spring sprouting if plantation is
severly pruned like Falsa
(Grewia asiatica L.) leaving 3-6
inch of stem from groung level;
one can get 60,000 to 70,000
cuttings (of pruned wood) from
an acre for nursery planting.
Fruiting commences in less
than a year. Over 5 tones of
fresh fruit per acre can be
harvested as spring crop from
the pruned plants every year
Reasons for low production
There are many reasons for low
production and there is need to
increase the productivity in order to
meet the needs of increasing
population and exports as well. To
increase the production we need
either to increase the area under fruit
cultivation or to go for modern
orchard establishment i.e.
high-density plantings and best
management practices.
Principle of high density
orcharding
Control of excessive vegetative growth
in a tree for increased productivity is
major principle of high-density
orcharding. Horticultural methods
most commonly known to control tree
growth are training of a plant at low
stature through pruning, use of
dwarfing rootstocks and growth
regulators. Farmers of small land
holdings can get more income from a
small area through high-density
orchards; they can intercrop other
fruits of short duration as well i.e.
papaya, pineapple and strawberry.
Fig agronomy
The common fig (Ficus carica) is a
large, deciduous shrub or small tree
native to southwest Asia and the
Mediterranean region (from
Afghanistan to Portugal). The fig
grows best and produces the best
quality fruit in Mediterranean and
dryer warm-temperate climates. Rains
during fruit development and
ripening can cause the fruits to split.
It grows to a height of 6.910 metres
(2333 ft) tall.
Propagation
Fig plants are easy to propagate
through several methods. Propagation
using seeds is not the preferred
method since vegetative methods exist
that are quicker and more reliable. For
spring propagation, before the tree
starts growth, cut 1525 cm (6-10
inches) shoots that have healthy buds
at their ends, and set into a moist
perlite and/or sandy soil mix located
in the shade. Once the cuttings start to
produce leaves, bury them up to the
bottom leaf to give the plant a good
start in the desired location.
Planting
Plants in the field may be spaced from
6 to 25 ft (1.8-7.5 m) apart depending
on the cultivar and the fertility of the
soil. A spacing of 13 x 13 ft (4x4 m)
allows 260 trees/acre (625 trees/ha).
In Colombia, growers are advised to
set the trees at 10 x 10 ft (3x3 m) on
level land, 10 x 13 ft (3x4 m) on slopes.
Pruning
Fig trees are cut back severely in fall
or winter, depending on whether the
crop is desired the following summer
or fall. Branches are often notched to
induce lateral branching and increase
the yield.
Uses
Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, used
in jam-making and pickling. Most
commercial production is in dried or
otherwise processed, since the ripe
fruit does not transport well, and once
picked does not keep well.
Nutritive value
Figs are one of the highest plant
Yields of fruit orchards are strongly related to tree planting
density. Low yields of traditional orchards can be improved
substantially with high density orchards; however growers have
little experience about it. This system, popularly known as High
Density Planting (HDP); enables earlier cropping of higher regular
yields and improved farm management practices; leading to higher
productivity with better fruit quality and profitability.
According to Agricultural Statistics, area under cultivation of fruits in Pakistan
is about 875,000 hectares, of which 7,200,000 tonnes of fresh fruits is obtained
annually, with an average production of about 8.23 tonnes per hectare, which is
very low as compared to the advanced countries i.e. 20-25 tonnes per hectare.
(Figure 2 and3).

Varieties suitable
for high density
planting
Black Mission: Fruits
all-over black purple,
elongated, Flesh
watermelon to pink,
fairly good taste.
Easily dried at home.
Single best all-round
variety for south,
north, coast,
interior.
Brown Turkey:
Medium, skin is
purplish brown,
flesh pinkish amber.
Good flavor. Best
when fresh. Small,
hardy, vigorous
tree.FO
29
FARMING OUTLOOK June Issue 2012
Dr. Hafeez Ur-Rahman, PSO, Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), National Agricultural
Research Centre, Park Road, Islamabad
Brown Turkey
Black Mission
At a conference in Rwanda, Africa in 2011, I had the chance
to hear Brian Keating and Peter Carberry, with CSIRO in
Australia state that Food security is a global challenge,
played out on a local scale. How true a set of words for
those of us who have the chance to travel the world and
witness the progress and challenges with regards to
agriculture production and food security.
Between 2010 and 2050, world population is expected to
grow from 7 billion to 9 billion people. It is expected that
population in the current developed world will remain
unchanged during this time, with all of the increase coming
from the developing world. However, more challenging for
agriculture is that while urban population is around 50%
today, global urban residents are expected to increase to
67 per cent by 2050. This poses a major challenge to food
security in the developing world, where many small holder
farmers consume most of what they grow.
While the demand for food is expected to increase by 6
per cent in the developing world, an increase of 87 per cent
is projected for the developing world. There is little doubt
that the decline in rural residents will lead to larger, more
efficient farms producing food. In IPNI we are well aware
that small holder farmers act as a major impediment to
the adoption of new technology in the agriculture sector
and changes to increase farm size will significantly improve
overall productivity.
In the end, the more significant challenge will be the
infrastructure in many of the developing countries. The
lack of roads, storage facilities and distribution
infrastructure will ultimately be the factor which seriously
challenges local food security.