The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has evolved a technology i.e. grafting technology to improve the yield of brinjal.
Stating that grafting technology, mainly in vegetable crops, is widely prevalent in many foreign countries, Dean, Horticulture, L. Pugalendhi told BusinessLine that the University “is involved in bringing this technology here with the locally available rootstock”.
He said, “It is a technique of propagation to enhance plant growth by increasing the uptake of nutrients & developing resistance to soil borne diseases with appropriate rootstocks. Brinjal plant is highly vulnerable to pests & diseases. So, we decided to tackle this first with the preparation of rootstock of non bitter Solanum torvum (found mostly in grave yards) with the seedling of any high yielding variety or hybrid”.
Pugalendhi said, “Generally, the plant is shallow-rooted. But grafting is different. After beheading the crest of rootstock, a small cut is made to accommodate the brinjal seedling and then the two are tied with the use of grafting clips / polythene strips. The grafted plant is positioned in a mist chamber for 3 to 5 days before being transferred to shade net. It will take a month-and-a-half to produce brinjal grafts”.
He further told that the grafts are then relocated in the field. The study disclosed that the root of the grafts run deep into the soil, doesn’t need as much water, is resistant to nematodes & dry root rot and most importantly the plant duration can be extended to a year. There is a three-fold increase in yield over conventional seedling.
The TNAU after successful completion of field trials has released this technology and gave training to around 300 farmers.
Pugalendhi also told that the Horticulture department is currently working on developing this technology on cucumber, tomato and bitter gourd. He said, “Evaluation studies are underway and it could take a while to commercialise the technology”.