Major Areas

Division > Seed Technology > Major Areas

SEED TECHNOLOGY DIVISION

Thrust areas

  • Standardizing the collection methods of seeds of various tree species.
  • Studies on the factors affecting the longevity of seeds.
  • Techniques for testing the viability of seeds.
  • Studies on the germination capacity of different species and provenances.
  • Standardization of storage techniques for different types of forestry seeds.
  • Bio-chemical aspects of ageing in seeds.
  • Improvement of tree borne oilseeds for biofuels
  • Germplasm conservation through seed stands and seed bank
  • Cryopreservation
  • Clonal forestry

Seed handling and seed testing

  • Addressing to seed related problems and evolving suitable methods of harvesting, processing, germination and storage for tree species. Standardized seed testing methods for popular plantation species such as Teak, Eucalyptus, Casuarinas, Neem and medicinal plants.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Seed handling techniques were standardized for neem. The viability of neem seeds was prolonged from 6 to 20 months with 27% germination.
  • 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.

Selection of trees for seed collection

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.

Studies on seed storage behaviour

Most of the evergreen forest seeds are recalcitrant in nature. The storability of these seeds is poor. Storage techniques in these species are important for ex-situ conservation. The technique will also help in establishment of plantations, enrichment planting, transportation and exchange of seed materials. Few important recalcitrant seeds were identified and for factors affecting the viability of seeds. A detailed study was conducted in Vateria indica and Hopea parviflora seeds.

Production of quality seeds and seedlings

Under the funding of National Medicinal Plant Board, assembled germplasm of medicinal species such as Aegle marmelos, Asparagus racemosus, Emblica officinalis, Gymnema sylvestre, Saraca asoca and Tinospora cordifolia. A seed production system of the germplasm was established in 1 ha area at Anaikatti. Quality planting materials are being supplied to State Forest Department, NGOs and farmers.

Post harvest techniques for biofuel seeds

In Jatropha curcas appropriate season and maturity stage for seed collection, evolving seed processing and grading methods for improving the oil recove