Seed Technology Division

Major areas
  • Seed Handling and Seed Testing

  • Selection of trees for tree improvement, conservation and seed collection
Achievements
  • Addressing to seed related problems and evolving suitable methods of harvesting, processing, germination and storage for tree species and standardize seed testing methods.

Popular plantation species

Tectona grandis : In teak, causes for low germination and techniques to maximize the germination percentage were studied.  Drupes collected from 30 sources were studied for variations in their physical characters and germination behaviour The emptiness in seeds found to vary from 19.2 to 70.8 % and a correlation was derived between drupe weight and seed filling percentage. On the other hand, the mesocarp weight was found to have inverse relationship with germination percentage. Grading of drupes to improve the filling percentage and thereby germination percentage was standardized.  Studies are being carried out to find out source specific pretreatment requirement.

Casuarina : Studies to improve seed germination and storability in Casuarina equisetifolia were carried out.  In general, the germination percentage of fresh seeds was about 50%. The seed filling was found to be the major problem for the reduction in germination. Grading method was developed for separation of ill-filled seeds using petroleum benzene which improved the germination to 90 %.   The seed storage methods were studied to improve the viability of the seeds up to 3 years. Correlation of seeds to juvenile and mature trees was made using the seed character data and the tree data collected for five years. Studies revealed the relationship of seed traits with the progeny growth.

Azadirachta indica : Seed handling techniques were standardized for neem. The collection, processing and storage problems in neem were studied in depth. The viability of neem seeds was prolonged from 6 to 20 months with 27% germination.

RET species : Seed handling techniques including harvesting, processing, germination and storage were developed for rare and endangered medicinal plant species such as Canarium strictum, Embelia ribes, Smilax zeylanica, Aristalochia tagala, Symplocos racemosa, Myristica dactyloides and Persea macrantha. Seed handling of commercially important medicinal tree species like Strychnos nux-vomica, Aegle marmelos, Feronia elephantum, Emblica officinalis, Oroxylum indicum, Pterocarpus marsupium, Syzygium cuminii and Terminalia bellerica were standardized.

NTFP species : Seed handling techniques were standardized for NTFP species such as Calophyllum inophyllum, Garcinia gummi-gutta, Sapindus emarginatus and Decalepis hamiltonii.

Shola species : Standardized seed handling methods for shola species and established shola restoration fields at Glenmorgan, Ooty and Longwood Shola, Kotagiri under Hills Area Development Program. This is a venture in collaboration with the Pathology division of IFGTB.

  • Trees to be domesticated are shortlisted and candidate plus trees (CPTs) selected based on specific selection criteria. Established germplasm banks for conservation and further breeding programs.
Azadirachta indica : Genetic improvement works in neem was carried out in collaboration with International Neem Network (INN) and National Oil Seed and Vegetable Oil Development Board (NOVOD Board).  International provenance trial of neem comprising 18 provenances from 6 countries was established and is being assessed for growth and other reproductive characters. About 442 CPTs of high fruit yielding neem trees were identified in the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.   These collections showed maximum variability in terms of oil and Azadirachtin content.   Provenance trial comprising 36 provenances was established in 4 ha near Maniatchi in Thirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu. Agro-forestry models were established as 3 on-farm trials covering an area of 10.2 Ha near Coimbatore. About 10 ha of model plantations were established in 4 locations. VMG was established with 63 clones and an area of 4 ha of CSOs was established.  About 6 training programs were conducted on Neem seed handling to farmers and foresters.

Calophyllum inophyllum : Punnai is one of the TCPL species chosen by Tamil Nadu Forest Department for planting on large scale. As a tree improvement initiative, for establishment of a germplasm bank of Punnai, a promising TBO, about 77 CPTs have been selected based on high fruit yield from the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andamans. Vegetative propagation was standardized for the species using stem cuttings for establishment of germplasm bank. Seeds were collected and seedling management in nursery was standardized. Kernel oil of punnai was estimated in the CPTs.

Sapindus emarginatus : Soapnut being a potential NTFP of Tamil Nadu, conservation of the bioresource as germplasm bank and popularization of the species has been undertaken. About 66 CPTs of soapnut were identified in Tamil Nadu from populations at Pillur, Thengumarada, Thalavadi, Palani hills, Srivilliputtur, Rajapalayam and Mettupalayam, collected seeds for germination and estimation of saponin content. Vegetative propagation of species is under study.

Projects
  1. Chemotyping of Sapindus emarginatus- A potential NTFP of Tamil Nadu for saponins

  2. Evaluation of Calophyllum inophyllum populations for high oil yield

  3. Identification of biochemical marker for salinity tolerance in Casuarina equisetifolia

  4. Exploitation and utilization of beneficial microflora from the sholas for restoration of degraded shola forests in the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu (In collaboration with FP)

  5. Validation of DUS testing guidelines for casuarinas and Eucalypts (In collaboration with GTB)

Scientific staff

Human Resources
Name Designation Contact Number Email ID
Dr.K.Palanisamy Scientist -F, Head 2484192 palanisamy@icfre.org
R.Anandalakshmi Scientist - D 2484166 lakshmir@icfre.org
S.N.Vijayachandran R.O. 2484172 snvijayachandran@icfre.org