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Chromosome Number: 28
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Proteales
Family
:
Proteaceae
Genus
:
Macadamia
 
Macadamia is one among the limited number of well-known tropical nuts of the world. It is delicious and nutritious nut indigenous to the eastern Australia. It is also called Australian nut or Queensland nut and is popularly grown in Australia, Hawaii, California, Florida and South Africa. Cultivation of macadamia has been attempted with good success in some isolated orchards in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Orissa. Trees of macadamia are evergreen and grow as high as 10 m. M. integrifolia and M. tetraphylla are cultivated but M. integrifolia is more common and known as smooth shelled type which has almost spherical, smooth surface kernels while M. tetraphylla is known as rough-shelled type and produces slightly elliptical or spindle shaped kernels with pebbled surface. The edible part, a white cream coloured kernel or embryo is enclosed in one piece very tough spherical brown seed coat or shell which is surrounded by a green, fibrous pericarp or husk. On an average, a fruit weighing 20g has 10g seed and 3g kernel. The macadamia nut resembles cashew in taste but is more oily and globular in shape. The kernels contain relatively large amounts of protein (about 10%) and oil (about 75%). Macadamia nuts are considered a good source of calcium, phosphorus and iron.
   
Climate and soil  
Varieties of M. integrifolia thrive best in subtropical conditions with high summer and low winter temperature, while of M. tetraphylla and hybrids of both the species prefer mild winter condition. Frost-free regions receiving an annual rainfall of about 120cm are well-suited for growing this nut. Experimental evidences shows that macadamia puts up optimum tree growth at 25°C. The sites having long dry season and well-drained sandy loam light soils with 5.5–7.5 pH may be preferred for the macadamia cultivation. Trees have to be protected from strong winds. Generally it comes up well where guava and orange thrive well.
 
Varieties

Although a good number of varieties have been developed, varieties that are well-suited to one area do not necessarily do well in other regions. Many varieties and hybrids have been selected in Hawaii, California, Australia and South Africa, considering their growth, production, disease resistance, kernel yield, processing characteristics and quality. Some of the notable ones are: Kakea, Ikaika, Keaau, Keauhou, Kau, Purvis, Makai and Mauka ( M. integrifolia ); Greber, Renown, Anamour, Mammoth, Sewell and Probert 2 ( M. tetraphylla ) and Beaumont, Nelmak I and Nelmak 2 (hybrids). It is better to plant at least 2 cultivars in an orchard, although self-pollination occurs. Kakea and Keaau grow well under Bangalore conditions and good scope exists to test more number of recent standard cultivars.

   
Propagation

Although macadamia nut can be propagated by seeds, the commercial production of nut is almost exclusively from grafted trees of known varieties. Seedling trees have proven to be unsatisfactory due to great variation in productivity and kernel quality. They also have longer juvenile phase and sometimes produce bitter nuts with low oil content. The grafted trees produce 3–4 times more nuts on an average, providing 15% higher kernel yield. Macadamia is propagated by wedge grafting on seedling rootstocks. The well mature husked nuts should be used for raising the rootstocks. In-situ grafting can also be practised, if more attention and care are taken.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Trees should be spaced 9–10m apart.

Pruning

Pruning to form a tree with a single main stem and framework of horizontal branches, starting at above ground and from there at an interval of half a meter is recommended. In each of the 3 leaf axils of a node, 3 buds are found in a vertical row. All the 3 upper buds get activated and start growing straight when a stem is pruned. One of these is allowed to grow while the other 2 are clipped off which induces the buds below them to grow in a horizontal direction. From time-to-time weak and damaged branches, if any, are removed.

Manuring

An annual dose of 450 : 150 : 500g of N : P 2 O 5 :K 2 O/tree (in 2 splits) is recommended in addition to 40–50 kg of farmyard manure.

Irrigation

The amount of water to be supplied depends on rainfall, evapotranspiration, soil type and plant vigour. The soil should be kept moist, but not wet, to a depth of at least 1m.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

The tree is slow to come to bearing. On an average, 7-year-old trees start bearing. However, 20-year-old ones give full yield and continue to yield for about 40–60 years. Under Bangalore conditions, flowering occurs during December–January and fruits are ready in July–August. The fruits are borne in clusters and on maturity, the husk begins to dry and split, exposing the inner brownish nut. The fruits naturally drop and can be gathered by hand. Even shaking the trees or branches makes the mature fruits to fall. In some countries, harvesting is mechanized or is done by using suspended nets. In Hawaii, a yield of 80–90 kg nuts/tree after 18 years of planting has been recorded.

Once the fruits are harvested, the husking and drying operation should begin immediately. After cracking the hard shell, raw kernels are dried to about 1.5% moisture, which can be held satisfactorily for about a year. Although the kernels are edible as such, the usual practice is to consume after roasting and salting; roasted nuts can be used in chocolate-coated nut candies, bakery products and ice-creams. Alternatively, the kernels are deep fried in oil for 15 minutes at 135°C and used in various ways. 

Nutritional Value
 
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Mahua Bassia latifolia, is an indigenous tree of high economic value. A characteristic tree of the dry region, it is found in north and central India. It commonly grows in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. The tree is very well known to rural folk since ages in India.

Its flowers, fruits, and oil obtained from seeds are eaten in various ways. The ‘corolla' commonly called mahua flowers, are a rich source of sugar containing appreciable amount of vitamins and minerals. Fruit, a berry, is eaten as raw or cooked. Pulp is a good source of sugar, whereas dry husk makes a good source of absolute alcohol. Seed is a good source of oil. The linoleic, a major unsaturated fatty acid found in mahua oil, is used in reducing the cholesterol content in blood serum, making its oil quite useful for heart patients.

   
Climate and soil  

Mahua prefers tropical and subtropical climate. It can withstand drought admirably. The trees of Bassia latifolia and B. longifolia grow up to an altitude of 1,200m. The B. malabarica grows in Western Ghats from Kanara to Travancore and also in the Himalayas. The trees of B. butyracea grow in the Himalyan districts up to an altitude of 4,500m. Plants do not survive under waterlogged conditions. Since it is a very hardy tree, it can grow even in pockets of soil between crevices of barren rock. Trees are grown on degraded rocky areas including salt-affected soils. However, for its better growth and productivity, well-drained, deep loam soil is ideal.

 
Varieties

The trees of B. latifolia in north and B. longifolia in south bear flowers containing a large amount of sugar and seeds rich in quality oil. There is no improved variety of mahua for an organized orcharding. A large variability occurs in its fruits. Recently some selections have been made at N.D. University of Agriculture and Technology, Faizabad (Uttar Pradesh). These are: NM2, NM4, NM7 and NM8.

   
Propagation
Mahua plants are generally propagated by seed having a long gestation period (15–20 years) and large variability. It may also be propagated vegetatively. Veneer grafting gives 90% success. For this, seedlings are raised to be used as rootstock. Mahua seeds have no dormancy. Fresh seeds after storage of 5–6 days at room temperature show 80% germination. Seeds can be sown on raised beds or in polythene bags about 30cm deep during July. Seeds germinate within 10–15 days. The seeds and seedlings become ready for transplanting 4 weeks and 1 year after sowing respectively. Scion wood should be selected from selected mother plants for grafting. July is ideal time for veneer grafting. Plants become ready for planting in September, just 2 months after grafting. Polyembryony is found in mahua seeds. Therefore 15–20% seeds produce nucellar seedlings.
   
Cultivation  

Planting

The seedling plants should be planted 10m apart, whereas grafted ones 8m apart. The pits of 1m × 1m × 1m size are dug and filled with a mixture of top soil + 25kg farmyard manure up to a level of 6cm from the ground level. Water the pits to settle the soil. Planting is done in the centre of the pit during July–September. About 100 plants (seedlings) or 150 plants (grafted) are required for planting a hectare land.

Training or pruning

Training is very essential to develop the framework of mahua plants. Plants are allowed to grow straight with the help of stakes. The framework should be developed by encouraging the growth of 4–6 well-spaced branches on the trunk at a height of 90cm from the ground level. Pruning is not performed in mahua plants except removal of dead, diseased and crossing branches.

Manuring and fertilization

A dose of 10kg farmyard manure, 100g N, 50g P and 75g K/ plant should be given to one-year-old plantation. It should be increased every year in the same proportion up to the age of 10 years. Thus fully-grown trees require 100kg farmyard manure, 1kg N, 0.5kg P and 0.75kg K. Farmyard manure should be applied during July–August. Half dose of N and K and full of P should be applied a month before flowering and remaining half dose of N and K after fruit set. The manure and mixture of fertilizer should be spread under the canopy of plants and incorporated in the soil. Plants should be irrigated immediately after manuring and fertilization. Zinc deficiency has been observed in mahua plantations grown under sodic soil, hence application of zinc is very beneficial for proper plant growth.

Aftercare

Light cultivation is required to keep the plantation weed-free. Mahua trees grown on poor soils require green manuring. Intercropping with sunflower or mustard, seasonal vegetables or karonda fruits, can be done to utilize the spaces up to 6 years.

Irrigation

Basin system of irrigation which has uniform distribution of water should be used for young plantations. For fully-grown trees, strip or bed system should be followed. Irrigation should be given after planting, manuring and fertilization. Irrigation should not be given during dormancy or leaf fall period and flowering (March–April). Irrigation after fruit set (May) is important for retention and development of fruits.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Mahua yields both flowers and seeds. When mature tree is in bloom the ground beneath it is cleaned off weeds. The creamy coloured, fleshy corolla (flowers) fall in early hours of the morning. They should be collected. Falling of corolla continues for 15–20 days. The ripe fruits shed from trees during June–July. They are collected by hand for storage and in heaps for seed extraction. The yield of flowers (dry) varies from 100–150kg and kernel 60–80kg/tree/year. The productivity of seedling plants continues up to 50 years.

The flowers before storage are dried. As soon as they are collected they should be dried on polythene sheet. Do not store them in bulk in moist condition. Flowers should be stored in thin layers. They should be turned over from time-to-time to bring the lower layers to the top. Dried flowers after packing in gunny bags are stored in a dry place up to 1 year under ordinary conditions.

Seeds are extracted from ripe fruits. They are shelled within a week otherwise they germinate. Once the seeds are germinated, they become unfit for oil extraction. Kernels obtained after shelling should be dried up to a moisture content of 8% because seeds containing more than 7–8% moisture are liable to fungal attack. Dried kernels can be utilized for extraction of oil. The kernels can be packed in gunny bags and stored for a year.

Both fresh and dried flowers are used for preparation of various nutritive food products which form an article of diet. Mahua flowers are largely used in preparation of distilled liquors, alcohol and portable spirits. It is also used for preparation of cake, vinegar, jam, syrup and honey. Flowers and spent flowers (after fermentation) are utilized as feed for livestock. The fruit pulp can be used as a source of sugar for alcoholic fermentation. Dry fruit husk may be used for preparation of absolute alcohol (one tonne dry husk yields 130 litres absolute alcohol). Seeds processed for oil are used to manufacture of vanaspati, soap, greases and cosmetics. Seeds are also used for preparation of defatted seed flour having a great potential in bakery products. The saponin obtained after extraction has industrial and commercial application. Mahua cake obtained is used as manure and has insecticidal properties. Every part of mahua yields economic products of great potential value, hence mahua constitutes most important raw materials for various industries.

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Chromosome Number: 18
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Sapindales
Family
:
Rutaceae
Genus
:
Citrus
 
Mandarin orange is most common among citrus fruits grown in India. It occupies nearly 50% of the total citrus area in India. Though, it is grown in every state, certain belts/pockets have emerged as the leading producers. Nagpur Sangtra (mandarin) is chiefly grown in Satpura hills (Vidarbha region) of central India. Hilly slopes of Darjeeling (West Bengal) and Coorg (Karnataka) are other major belts of mandarin production. In north-western India, Kinnow mandarin is being grown satisfactorily in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. In south India, Wynad, Nilgiri, Palney and Shevroy hills are major mandarin-growing belts, while hills of Meghalaya (Khasi, Dusha, Garo, Jaintia), Mizorum, Tripura, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have predominance in mandarins. In Assam, Brahmaputra valley and Dibrugarh districts are famous for mandarin production.
   
Climate and soil  

Mandarins grow successfully in all frost-free tropical and subtropical regions of the country. They are adapted well to sub-mountaneous tracts 370–1,500m above mean sea-level and temperature 10°–35°c. In Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, it is grown in humid regions of Coorg, Wynad, Nilgiri and Shevroy hills. In these regions, mandarin is not grown as a pure crop and is intercropped with coffee. In north-eastern India, climate favours the production of excellent colour and quality mandarins. The areas around Nagpur, with an elevation of 370m and annual rainfall of 100–120cm provides an excellent climate for the cultivation of world famous Nagpur mandarin.

Kinnow appears to be very exacting in its climatic requirements. It needs sharply contrasting warm cool temperature with a chilling temperature during winter for good cropping and high quality fruits. Kinnow has adapted well in Punjab, Haryana, parts of Rajasthan and foothills of Himachal Pradesh. Though Kinnow has completely failed in humid tropics of Andhra Pradesh (Tirupathi), it performs exceedingly well in Nagpur and Akola regions of Maharashtra, where it attains very good fruit quality comparable to that of Nagpur mandarin.

Hot winds and excessive heat during flowering and fruit set are highly detrimental for fruit bearing and cause fruit drop and sunburn of the fruit. Low humidity favours colour development, whereas plants not having adequate sunlight produce low yields of poor-quality fruits.

The mandarins may be grown in a wide variety of soils but medium or light loamy soils with slightly heavy sub-soil, well-drained with pH of 6.0–8.0 are ideal. In Nagpur area, mandarins are grown on typical black clay soil which cracks on drying. These soils are very shallow and are underlaid with a porous subsoil of murrum. In Coorg and Wynad tracts of south India, mandarin flourishes well in deep, well-drained, black and red loamy soils. In Assam, mandarin is grown in valley land where soils are lateritic type of sandy loam with pH of 4.5–6.0. In Punjab and its adjoining states, Kinnow is grown on alluvial soils with pH of 5.0–9.0. In Himachal Pradesh, Kinnow and desi santra (mandarin) are grown chiefly in acidic laterite soils (pH 5.5–6.0).

 
Varieties

In India, specific cultivars of mandarins are cultivated in different regions. For example, Coorg mandarin is typical to Coorg and Wynad regions of Karnataka, whereas Nagpur mandarin is ideally-suited to Vidarbha region. Similarly, Darjeeling mandarin, Khasi and Sumithra mandarins are basically adapted to Darjeeling, Khasi hills and Assam respectively.

Of many exotic introductions, Kinnow mandarin has acclamatized very well in semi-arid irrigated zones of Punjab and its adjoining states, and in Nagpur and Akola regions of Maharashtra.

Important characteristics of some of the mandarins cultivated in India are:

Coorg

The most important commercial variety in south India, it is particularly grown on a large scale in Coorg and Wynad tracts. The trees are very vigorous and upright with compact foliage, sparingly spinous. Fruits medium to large, bright orange in colour, oblate to globose in shape, base necked or depressed, rind thin to medium thick, easily peeled, segments 9–11; juice abundant; seeds 14–30, matures during February–March.

Khasi

It is a commercially-grown variety of mandarin in Assam, Meghalaya and north-eastern states. It is locally known as Sikkim or Kamala mandarin. Its trees are medium to large with erect habit, dense foliage , both thorny and thornless. Fruits depressed, globose to ovate, orange-yellow to bright orange, surface smooth, base even, occasionally short-necked, segments 8–10; abundantly juicy, juice orange coloured; seeds 9–25.

Nagpur

Occupying a premier position among Indian mandarins, it is one of the finest mandarins grown in the world. It is also known as Ponkan. The trees are vigorous, spineless with compact foliage; leaves narrowly lanceolate. Fruits medium-sized, sub-globose, cadmium coloured, surface smooth, base slightly drawn out with glandular furrows; rind thin, loosely adherent; segments 10–11; juice abundant, saffron coloured; seeds 6–7. It matures during January–February.

Kinnow

It is a first generation hybrid between King × Willow Leaf. First introduced in Punjab, it has performed well and gained commercial significance. Plants are medium to large, erect, symmetrical, dense foliage with a few scattered spines; leaves broadly lanceolate. Fruits medium, oblate, base flattened, deep orange-yellow coloured on ripening; rind thin, adherent to segments; segments 9–10, very juicy; seeds 12–24; fruit maturity in mid-January; somewhat irregular-bearer.

   
Propagation

Most of the mandarin cultivars are propagated through seeds except Kinnow and Nagpur mandarins. Usual practice in Coorg, Assam and other north-eastern hills is to use seedlings as planting material. But with concerted efforts made to find out suitable rootstocks for different regions, orchardists have shifted to vegetative methods, particularly T-budding.

By seed

For quality planting material, select uniformly matured fruits from healthy, true-to-type and heavy-bearing plants to extract seeds. Freshly extracted seeds should be mixed with ash and dried in shade. Seeds should be sown immediately after extraction. Otherwise, they may loose their viability. Seeds are sown at a distance of 2–3cm. Germination may take place within 3–4 weeks. Since the seeds are polyembryonic, the sexual seedlings which are stunted and poor in growth are rogued out and the rest that are produced from the cells of nucellus are allowed to grow. The seedlings, thus, selected are more or less uniform in growth and production. Every care must be exercised to protect the seedlings in the nursery from weeds, insect pests and diseases.

By budding

Of various vegetative methods, T-budding is by and large the most common method followed. Selection of a suitable rootstock for a particular region and proper mother plant are important steps. Many rootstocks have been used for different mandarin cultivars in different regions. However Rough Lemon (Jatti Khatti and Jambheri), Rangpur Lime, Cleopatra, Troyer Citrange and Karna Khatta are potential rootstocks.

Seeds of identified rootstock for a particular area should be extracted from fully matured, healthy fruits. They are sown in lines (10–15cm deep) on raised seed-beds inside a polyethylene house. About 1–2 months old seedlings are shifted to secondary beds. These are finally budded when they attain a height of 25–30cm and 1–2cm diameter. Scion should be selected from healthy, vigorous, mature, virus-free and high-yielding trees. They should also be free from water sprouts and chimeras. Further use of dormant scion budwood from past season's growth is used after it has hardened. The budwood should be taken from round or cylindrical green twigs.

Optimum time for budding varies according to the place. It may be done at a time, when there is free flow of sap and bark slips easily. In Punjab and adjoining areas, budding is practised either in February–March or September–October, whereas in Nagpur and Coorg regions, September–November is the ideal time.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Generally, planting is done during monsoon in all mandarin-growing areas. In sub-mountaneous tracts, where planting is generally done on slopes, proper terraces are necessary, while in plains the land should be levelled properly. Usually mandarins are planted in pits of 50cm × 50cm × 50cm size in a square system with a spacing of 4.5m–6m, accommodating 350–450 plants/ha. In north-eastern parts of India, Khasi mandarins are very closely (4.5m × 4.5m) spaced, accommodating more than 500 plants/ha. In Punjab and Haryana, a spacing of 5m × 4.5m is ideal for Kinnow mandarins budded on Jatti Khatti. Kinnow can be grown successfully under high-density planting by using Troyer citrange as a rootstock and by spacing the plants at 1.8m × 1.8m, accommodating 3,000 plants/ha. Under this system the plants become precocious, producing excellent quality fruits. The optimum planting distance for Nagpur mandarins is 6m × 6m when budded on Rough lemon. In Karnataka, Coorg mandarin on Trifoliate orange and Rangpur lime can be planted at a distance of 5m × 5m and 6m × 6m, accommodating 400 and 275 plants/ha respectively.

Training and pruning

An ideal mandarin tree should be low headed with a dome like crown. This can be achieved by pruning young trees. Pruning of young trees to give them proper shape and size is known as training. To give a desirable shape to the plant, pruning is resorted to during initial years of planting. Trees are trained to single stem with 4–6 well-spaced branches for making the basic framework. Further, the lowermost branches should be allowed not to grow below the height of 50cm from the soil surface. The bearing trees require little or no pruning. Main objective of pruning the bearing trees is to maintain the framework and to secure higher yields with better-quality fruits. Pruning of bearing trees though differs with variety but chiefly consists of removal of dead, diseased, criss-cross and weak branches. Removal of water sprouts and suckers of rootstocks is also highly essential. Pruning of non-bearing trees can be done at any time of the year, but for bearing trees the best time is after harvesting, during late winter or early spring when these are in somewhat dormant stage. Root pruning is also practised in some parts of central and southern India to regulate flowering season. However, such prunings are not beneficial in the long run.

Crop regulation

Under equitable climate of south and central India, mandarins bloom thrice a year. The February flowering is known as ambe bahar ; June flowering as mrig bahar and October flowering as hast bahar . Under such circumstances, plants give irregular and small crops at indefinite intervals. To overcome this problem and to get fruitful yield in any of the 3 flowering seasons, treating mandarin trees has been practised in Deccan which is called resting or root exposure or bahar treatment.

In this method, roots of the plant are exposed to sun by removing up to 7–10cm soil around 40–60cm radius of tree trunk. The water is withheld for a month or two before flowering. As a result of water stress, leaves show wilting and fall on the ground. At this stage the roots are again covered with a mixture of soil and farmyard manure and irrigated immediately. Subsequent irrigations are given at suitable intervals. Consequently, plants give new vegetative growth, profuse flowering and fruiting. However, in light sandy and shallow soils, exposure of roots should not be practised and mere withholding of water for 2–3 weeks is sufficient for wilting and defoliation of trees.

It depends upon the choice of the grower as to which of the 3 bahars is to be taken to get maximum profit. As the availability of water is a problem in central India during April–May, the farmers prefer mrig bahar so that the plants are forced for rest in April–May and no water is required during this period. Plants put forth new vegetative growth, followed by flowering (July–August) and fruiting during the coming season.

Resting treatment is not feasible in north India, as mandarin plants normally rest in winter and flower once a year. It is experienced that resting treatment in general is a devitalizing process and should be resorted to only under the advice and direction of a technical expert.

Manuring and fertilization

Mandarins, like other citrus fruits also require judicious application of mineral nutrients for proper growth, development and sustained production of high-quality fruits. Mandarins also require micro-nutrients—zinc, copper, manganese, iron, boron and molybdenum—in ample quantities but not sodium and chlorine, which are rather harmful for mandarins. Improper supply of nutrients may cause serious disorders which may lead to orchard decline.

It is very difficult to recommend any single fertilizer schedule for mandarins as fertilizer requirement is guided by soil fertility, previous fertilizer use, nutrients removed by crop, leaching losses and scion cultivar which is further modified by rainfall, temperature, stock-scion combination and age of the tree. There are no scientific recommendations on manuring of young mandarin plants in India. However, application of 20–25kg farmyard manure together with 0.4kg calcium ammonium nitrate is recommended at the time of planting. A mixture of 90g each of N, P, K/tree may be applied in first year after planting. This dose may be gradually increased to 450g each of N and P, and 900g of K/tree in the seventh year and kept constant thereafter.

Though the nutrient requirement of major elements is met by supplementing N, P, K fertilizers but farmers usually forget about micronutrients, which are the most essential part of citrus nutrition. Although each micronutrient has its typical deficiency symptoms but these are so complicated that it becomes very difficult for an orchardist to identify and correct these. Hence farmers are advised to follow the schedule given in Table 1. The micronutrients should be supplied through foliar spraying. This mixture should be sprayed on major flush of the leaves expanded to at least two-thirds of their normal size.

Nutrient supplement

Quantity (kg)

Zinc sulphate

2.5

Copper sulphate

1.5

Magnesium sulphate

1.0

Manganese sulphate

1.0

Ferrous sulphate

1.0

Boric acid

1.0

Slaked lime

1.0

Urea

4.5

Water

450 litres

( Table 1. Combined nutritional spray schedule for mandarins)

Normally young plants are manured once a year, while bearing plants more than once. Total amount of P and K fertilizers is applied at one time, while N fertilizers are applied in 2 or 3 split doses. In north-western India, manures are added twice a year, once during June and another after harvesting in December– January. In central India, mandarins are manured during December for ambe bahar and in May for mrig bahar . However, for Coorg mandarin, manuring thrice (March–April, June–July and September–October) is highly beneficial.

For soil application, first 30–40cm area around the tree trunk should be given hoeing and fertilizers should be applied in the form of ring. They should be mixed thoroughly. The trees should be irrigated immediately.

Application of fertilizers with drip irrigation is also beneficial.

Intercropping

Growing additional crop not only provides additional income to the orchardist but it also checks weed growth, conserves soil moisture and prevents soil erosion. So, selection of intercrop is of utmost importance. The intercrop should be shallow-rooted and short duration one. In the long run intercropping may not be profitable. However pea, cowpea and gram are beneficial intercrops in mandarin orchards.

Irrigation

Excess or deficiency of soil moisture creates adverse effects on mandarin production. Irrigation requirement of mandarins is higher than other fruit trees because of their evergreen nature, active growth and development throughout the year. It depends on water-holding capacity of soil, climatic condition, age of the plant and variety.

In tarai region of Uttar Pradesh, soil has high moisture-retention capacity, thus lesser number of irrigations are required. However, in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and parts of Andhra Pradesh, more number of irrigations are required. In south India, mandarins are grown under rainfed conditions in high rainfall areas. In winter season, mandarins should be watered at 10–15 days intervals, while in summer at 5–7 days.

Since root activity of mandarins is confined to a radial distance of 120cm and to a depth of 24cm, too much wetting should be avoided. Water stress during growth, flowering, fruit set and fruit development should be avoided. Plants should be irrigated at 8–10 days interval, during drought (April–June in north India and October–December in south and central India). Mandarins are highly susceptible to waterlogging, therefore, stagnation of water around tree trunk should be avoided. Irrigation water should also be free of salts.

Weed control

Weeds are a serious problem in mandarin nursery and young plantations. Major weeds can be controlled by hand pulling, hoeing, burning and tillage. However, frequent tillage may destroy the surface structure of soil, thus lowering the water-holding capacity and permeability of soil. So better way to eradicate weeds is to use weedicides. Pre-emergence application of Diuron (5kg/ha) or Terbacil (4.5kg/ha) or post-emergence application of Atrazine (5–6kg/ha) controls weeds significantly. Further, Bromocil (6kg/ha) is most effective in controlling both monocot and dicot weeds. Glyphosate (5 litres/ha) is most effective in controlling perennial grasses. Simazine (5kg/ha) is also highly effective.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Picking of fruits at proper stage of maturity is of paramount importance. Harvesting at right time not only maximizes profits but also helps build up the demand for quality fruits. Unlike climacteric fruits, mandarins do not improve in taste after harvesting. Therefore, fruits should be harvested when they attain full size, develop attractive colour with optimum sugar : acid blend. Since mandarins in India are produced under varying climatic conditions, harvesting periods differ in different parts of the country (Table 2).

Region

Main crop

Off-season

North-western plains

December–February

-

North-eastern India

November–February

April–May

Central India

February–March

October–November

South India–Coorg

December–April

July–August

Nilgiris

Augus-October

February–March

(Table 2. Main harvesting period for mandarin in different regions of India)

Method of harvesting is very important as it affects the shelf-life of fruits considerably. Further, faulty harvesting and rough handling adversely affect the marketability of fruits. The common commercial practice of harvesting is to pull the fruits from the branch, which may rupture the skin near the stem-end leading to fungal infection and subsequent rotting. This practice should be avoided. Therefore, fruits should neither be plucked nor torn off, but should be cut off preferably with clipper, shears or secateurs.

Generally, mandarins start bearing from the fourth year having 15–20 fruits/plant. However, its plants attain the level of full bearing at the age of 10–12 years.

Although mandarins may attain optimum maturity standard but the fruits may not be attractive at the time of harvesting due to lack of good yellow colour. Accordingly, degreening of mandarins with the application of ethrel (50 ppm) one week before the actual date of harvesting has almost become a commercial practice in most of the developed mandarin-growing countries. Further, fruits dipped in 50 ppm ethrel after harvesting develop golden-yellow colour within 5 days of the treatment.

Generally mandarins are graded according to their size and appearance. Fruits are usually packed in wooden boxes for distant markets, while for local marketing baskets of split bamboo and mulberry are used. Chopped straw and dry grass are mostly used for padding. The fruits should be cleaned and polished lightly with a piece of cloth, before wrapping them in tissue paper or newspaper. Use of corrugated fibre board cartons in place of wooden boxes is highly beneficial. Mandarins are generally transported by rail or road as ordinary cargos without refrigeration which often leads to heavy losses due to decay and fungal infection. Use of shrink films for moisture loss control can be useful.

Storage life of mandarins is influenced by many pre- and post-harvest factors. Green or fully ripe mandarins can be stored successfully at 8–10°c with 85–90% relative humidity without impairing fruit quality. Similarly, Kinnow fruits can be stored at room temperature up to 3–4 weeks in perforated 100-guage polythene bags having 0.5% ventilation area.

   
Physiological Disorders

Fruit drop

In spite of very high initial flowering and fruiting in mandarins, the ultimate yield is often low primarily owing to heavy fruit drop. However, all fruits that fail to mature do not drop at one time but at different times. There are more or less definite periods or stages when extensive dropping occurs. In mandarins, the shedding of flowers and fruits come in more or less in 3 distinct waves. The first wave occurs soon after fruit setting, second during May–June known as June drop and third one known as pre-harvest drop, i.e. the drop of mature fruits before harvesting. Fluctuating temperature, low atmospheric humidity, imbalance of soil moisture, lack of proper nutrition, hormonal imbalance, incidence of insect-pests and diseases are some factors causing fruit drop. Accordingly, maintenance of appropriate soil moisture level during fruit development and application of growth regulators—2, 4-D (10ppm), NAA (5ppm), 2, 4, 5-T (5ppm)—check fruit drop quite effectively. Further, application of Aureofungin @ 20 ppm helps in better retention of fruits through control of fungal diseases.

Granulation

It is a physiological disorder of juice sacs of citrus including mandarins wherein they become comparatively hard, assume a greyish colour and become somewhat enlarged. The concentration of pectic substances increases, whereas there is reduction in juice content, TSS and acid content. Because of low sugar and acid content, the granulated vesicles become rather tasteless and colourless. Young, vigrous trees are more likely to develop granulated fruits than older ones. Similarly, large fruits have more granulation than small ones. In addition, granulation increases as the picking season advances. The incidence of granulation is highly specific to the type of the mandarin being cultivated. It is favoured by high relative humidity and temperature during spring.

Spraying of lime reduces the extent of granulation. Reduction in irrigation also lessens its incidence. The application of 2, 4-D (12ppm), zinc and copper reduces the incidence of granulation considerably.

Decline

After fruitful production for about 15 years, mandarin orchards start bearing little crop and become uneconomical. They show symptoms of ill health and decline. The affected trees do not die completely but remain in state of decadence and unproductiveness for a number of years.

Initially, only a few limbs of the plants are involved but later whole tree is affected. Plants show sparse foliage, stunted growth, sickly appearance and in leaves, mid-rib, lateral veins and interveinal area show diffused yellow colour leading to ultimate shedding of leaves. As a result of dieback, twigs become short and bear only a few narrow leaves at their basal ends. Such plants are also characterized through excessive flowering and very poor fruit set. Unfavourable soil conditions (presence of hard pan, high pH, poor drainage and high salts), malnutrition, poor orchard management, indiscriminate use of fertilizers, intercropping, incidence of insect-pests and diseases are major factors contributing to it.

Good cultural practices, improvement in soil fertility and drainage, control of insect-pests, nematodes and diseases may be useful to minimize its incidence. Use of resistant and compatible rootstocks and certified budwood for propagation are strongly recommended for a healthy and productive mandarin orchard.                                                  

 

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Chromosome Number: 40
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Sapindales
Family
:
Anacardiaceae
Genus
:
Mangifera
 
Mango, the king of fruits, is grown in India for over 400 years. More than 1,000 varieties exist today. It is grown in almost all the states. India shares about 56% of total mango production in the world. Its prodution has been increasing since independence, contributing 39.5% of the total fruit production of India. Andhra Pradesh tops in total production, whereas Uttar Pradesh tops area-wise. Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Gujarat together contribute for about 82% of the total production in India.
   
Climate and soil  

Mango can be grown on a wide variety of soils under varied climatic conditions. It can be grown from alluvial to lateritic soils except in black cotton soil having poor drainage. It grows well in soils with slightly acidic pH. It does not perform well in soils having pH beyond 7.5. soils having good drainage are ideal for mango.

Mango is a tropical fruit, but it can be grown up to 1,100m above mean sea-level. There should not be high humidity, rain or frost during flowering. The temperature between 24 and 27°C is ideal for its cultivation. Higher temperature during fruit development and maturity gives better-quality fruits. The areas experiencing frequent showers and high humidity are prone to many pests and diseases. Thus it can be grown best in regions with a rainfall between 25cm and 250cm. Regions having bright sunny days and moderate humidity during flowering are ideal for mango growing.

 
Varieties

India is the home of about 1,000 varieties. Most of them are the result of open pollination arisen as chance seedlings.

In India, mango is available from March to mid-August. The north Indian cultivars are alternate-bearer whereas south Indian ones are generally regular-bearer. About 20 varieties are grown commercially. They are:

Alphonso

One of the most popular variety of India, it is mainly grown in Ratnagiri area of Maharashtra and to a small extent in parts of south Gujarat and Karnataka. Its fruits are medium-sized (250g), with attractive blush towards the basal end. Pulp is firm, fibreless with excellent orange colour. It has good sugar : acid blend. Keeping quality is good. It is susceptible to spongy tissue.

Banganapalli

A widely cultivated, early-maturing mango of south India. It is the main commercial variety of Andhra Pradesh. Its fruits are large-sized, weighing on an average 350–400g. The pulp is fibreless, firm and yellow with sweet taste. Fruits have good keeping quality.

Bombay Green

It is one of the earliest varieties of north India. Its fruits are medium-sized, weighing about 250g each. Fruits have strong and pleasant flavour. Pulp is soft and sweet.

Chausa

Late-maturing variety of north India, it matures during July or beginning of August. Fruits are large, weighing about 350g each. Fruits are bright yellow with soft and sweet pulp.It is shy bearing.

Dashehari

One of the most popular variety of north India, it is a mid-season mango. Fruits are medium-sized, with pleasant flavour, sweet, firm, and fibreless pulp. Stone is thin and keeping quality good.

Fazli

This is indigenous to Bihar and West Bengal. Fazli is a late-maturing (August) mango. Fruits are large, with firm to soft flesh. Flavour is pleasant and pulp is sweet and fibreless. Keeping quality is good.

Gulab Khas

It is indigenous to Bihar. Regular and heavy-bearer, it is mid-season mango. Fruits are small to medium-sized. It has rosy flavour. Fruits are ambre-yellow with reddish blush towards the base and on sides. Keeping quality is good.

Himsagar

Very popular in West Bengal, it is a regular-bearing mango. Its fruits are medium-sized, having good quality. Flesh is firm, yellow, fibreless with pleasant flavour. Keeping quality is good.

Kesar

Popular in Saurashtra region of Gujarat, Kesar is an irregular-bearing mango. Fruits are medium-sized. Flesh is sweet and fibreless. It has excellent sugar : acid blend. Fruits ripen to attractive apricot-yellow colour with red blush. It has good processing quality.

Kishenbhog

Indigenous to West Bengal, it is a mid-season mango. Fruits are medium to large-sized, good with a pleasant flavour. There are traces of turpentine. Flesh is firm with few fibres. Keeping quality is good.

Langra

An important commercial mango variety of north India, it is biennial-bearer and a mid-season variety, with good quality fruits. Flesh is firm, lemon-yellow in colour and scarcely fibrous. It has characteristic turpentine flavour. Keeping quality is medium.

Mankurad

It is a mid-season variety, popular in Goa. Fruits are medium-sized with yellow skin. Flesh is firm, cadmium yellow and fibreless. Keeping quality is good.

Neelum

A heavy-yielding, late-season mango in south India, it has regular-bearing habit. Fruits are medium-sized with good flavour. Flesh is soft, yellow and fibreless. Keeping quality is good.

Pairi

A native to coastal Maharashtra including Goa, it is an early-maturing, heavy and regular-bearer mango. Fruits are medium-sized with good quality. It has good flavour with sugar : acid blend. Flesh is soft, primuline-yellow and fibreless. Keeping quality is poor.

Totapuri

Widely grown in south India, Totapuri is a regular and heavy-bearing mango. Fruits are medium to large with prominent sinus. Fruit quality is medium. It has a typical flavour and flat taste. Flesh is cadmium-yellow and fibreless.

A number of selections/hybrids of mango have been evolved. These include Clone C-51 from Dashehari selected at the CISH, Lucknow, and an off-season selection, Niranjan, selected at Parbhani. New clonal selections from Langra and Sunderja have been made at Varanasi and Rewa. A clonal selection, Paiyur 1, has been made from Neelum, in addition to few dwarf polyembryonic selections made in the north-eastern region.

As a result of systematic hybridization, several hybrids have been released. However only a few have become commercially acceptable. . Of these, Mallika, Ratna and Arka Puneet are becoming quite popular.

   
Propagation

Mango is a highly heterozygous and cross-pollinated crop. There are 2 types of mango varieties. Most of the varieties in south are polyembryonic and thus give true-to-type seedlings. In north, there are monoembryonic and need to be propagated vegetatively.

Mango is propagated on mango rootstock. For raising rootstock, the seeds of mango are sown within 4–5 weeks after extraction otherwise they lose their viability. For sowing the seeds, raised beds are prepared with a mixture of farmyard manure, red soil and sand. In some places, seeds are sown directly in polythene bags. After germination, the leaves turn green in 2–4 weeks. These seedlings are transplanted to polythene covers containing red soil, sand and farmyard manure. Addition of nitrogenous fertilizer to polythene covers after the establishment of plants helps in quick growth of seedlings. The seedlings thus raised should be used for grafting at different ages. Several methods of grafting are practised. They are:

Inarching: It is one of the most widely practised methods of grafting. One can get a big-sized plant material for planting with over 95% success rate.

Veneer and side grafting: These can be utilized for preparing a grafted plant material or for in-situ grafting, i.e. for the rootstocks which are already planted.

Epicotyl/stone grafting: This method is widely practised in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. The germinated seedlings of 8–15 days old are used for grafting.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Different systems of planting like square, rectangular and hexagonal are followed at different places. However, square and rectangular systems are also popular. The spacing depends on the vigour of the variety and the cropping system. The main field is brought to fine tilth. Pits of 1m × 1m× 1m size are dug. These are exposed to sun for about 30 days. Before planting, pits are filled with well-rotten farmyard manure. The top and sub-soil are taken out reparately while digging the pits. The grafts should be planted during rainy season. In the in-situ grafting, rootstocks are planted in the main field. Then they are raised for 6 months to 1 year. Then the scions of the variety that need to be grown are taken and grafted. This is usually done when humidity is high. After grafting the scions are covered with polythene covers.

High-density planting

High-density planting helps increase the yield/unit area. In north India, mango Amrapali is found amenable for high-density planting with a spacing of 2.5m × 2.5m. Soil drenching with paclobutrazol (2 ml/tree) induces flowering during off year. It has become a commercial practice in Konkan region of Maharashtra. If coupled with pruning, it helps increase production/unit area in Dashehari. The polyembryonic mango Vellaikolumban when used as rootstock imparts dwarfing in Alphonso.

Training and pruning

Training is an important practice during the first few years after planting. It is essential to space the branches properly and to help in intercultural operations.

Manuring and fertilization

The nutritional requirement of mango varies with the region, soil type and age. A dose of 73g N, 18g P 2 O 5 and 68g K 2 O 5 / year of age from first to tenth year and thereafter a dose of 730g N, 180g P 2 O 5 and 680g K 2 O should be applied in 2 split doses during June–July and October respectively.

Spraying of zinc sulphate (0.3%) during February, March and May is recommended to correct the zinc deficiency. Spraying of Borax (0.5%) after fruit set twice at monthly intervals and 0.5% manganese sulphate after blooming corrects boron and manganese deficiencies respectively.

Organic manures and phosphatic fertilizers should be applied immediately after harvest, whereas ammonium sulphate should be given before flowering.

Intecropping

In mango, intercropping helps check weed growth and reduces nutrient losses. Intercropping blackgram–wheat–mango and brinjal–onion–mango gives better monetary benefits. Besides, taking up cover crops like sunhemp, cowpea, pea and berseem help prevent soil erosion.

Irrigation

Precise water requirements for mango have not been worked out so far. The water requirements mainly depend on the age, soil type and climate. however, young plants up to 2-year-old should be watered regularly. The newly-planted grafts need about 30 litres of water every week. Irrigating grown-up trees after fruit set at 10-day interval increases their yield.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Mangoes should be harvested with pedicel. Injury to the fruits during harvesting brings down their quality and also makes them prone to fungal attack. Several types of harvesters have been developed. These devices are simple and efficient in harvesting. Yield in mango varies with the variety. However, on an average mango yields 8 tonnes/ha. Yield also varies with the region. The productivity of mango is higher in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. With the adoption of high-density planting, its yields can easily be increased. The north Indian mangoes Langra and Dashehari are alternate-bearers, whereas most of the south Indian mangoes are regular-bearers. Mango Mallika and Amrapali are also comparatively regular-bearer.

After harvesting, mangoes are graded according to their size. To maintain the quality, proper packaging is a must. In western region, bamboo baskets are used for packing. A basket contains 50–100 fruits. Straw is used for packing. Wooden boxes are also used in some place. However, now perforated cardboard are generally used. In these boxes either fruits are individually wrapped with tissue paper before packing or paper shavings are used for cushioning.

Minimizing the postharvest losses is one of the most important aspects. Usually green and mature mangoes are stored better than ripe ones harvested from trees.

Low temperature storage, controlled atmospheric storage, use of chemical treatment for delaying ripening, irradiation, heat treatment, packaging and shrink wrapping are methods to increase their shelf-life. The temperature of 5°–16°C for different varieties is ideal for storing. Mangoes are highly susceptible to low temperature injury. Loss of flavour and development of undesirable softening are major symptoms of chilling injury.

Under controlled atmospheric storage, retardation of respiratory activity, delaying of softening, colour development and senescence of fruits take place. Hence, this method has not been adopted in mango. The combination of waxing (3%) along with hot-water treatment results in good quality fruits with extended storage life. Individual wrapping of fruit imparts uniform colour and reduces shrinkage. Hydro-cooling at 12°–15°C and holding for 2 weeks at 15°C followed by storage for 1 week at ambient temperature gives good storage life to fruits.

   
Physiological Disorders

Alternate bearing

Alternate bearing has been one of the major problems. Most of the south Indian varieties are regular-bearer, whereas north Indian ones alternate-bearer. Paclobutrazol is a promising chemical for flower induction in mango. soil drenching with paclobutrazol (5g and 10g/tree) results in minimum outbreak of September to October vegetative flushes, giving an early and profuse flowering and more annual yield without affecting fruit size and quality.

Mango malformation

It is one of the most important disorders, causing huge losses. It is a major problem in Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. However, it has also been noticed in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, west Bengal and Orrisa. Of the 2 types of mango malformation, vegetative malformation is more common in nursery seedlings and young plants. Floral malformation affects trees at the bearing stage. In vegetative malformation or bunchy top, compact leaves are formed in a bunch at the apex of shoot or in the leaf axil and growth of shootlet is arrested. Floral malformation directly affects the productivity. The incidence of disorder varies from variety to variety. Deblossoming alone or coupled with a spray of 200ppm NAA lowers the number of malformed panicles signficantly.

Black tip

This disorder is mainly noticed in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. The distal-end of the affected fruits turns black and becomes hard. These fruits ripen prematurely and become unmarketable. This disorder is caused by the smoke of brick-kilns located within a distance of 600m. Gases like carbon monoxide and carbondioxide, sulphur dioxide and acetylene cause these symptoms. It can be controlled by raising the height of the chimney of the brick-kilns. Spraying borax (0.6%) at 10–14 days intervals (jhumka) starting from fruit set also controls it.

Clustering ( Jhumka )

This malady is characterized by a cluster of fruitlets at the tip of the panicle giving an appearance of bunch tip called jhumka . These fruitlets are dark green with a deeper curve in the sinus beak region compared with normally developing fruitlets. These fruitlets grow to marble size after which their growth ceases. One of the main reasons for clustering is the adverse climate during February–March, particularly the low temperature. Most of the fruits are aborted with shrivelled embryos and do not develop further, signifying the role of normal embryo growth in the development of fruits.

Spongy tissue

It is specific in Alphonso mango. Fruits from outside look normal, but inside a patch of flesh becomes spongy, yellowish and sour. This disorder has brought down the export of this variety. Inactivation of ripening enzyme due to high temprature, convective heat and postharvest exposure to sunlight are the causes. Use of sod culture and mulching are useful in reducing its incidence. Mango hybrids Ratna and Arka Puneet which have Alphonso like characters do not suffer from this malady. Harvesting mangoes when they are three-fourths matured rather than fully matured ones also reduces this malady. 

Nutritional Value
 
Usage

Food

 

Fresh: Mangoes should always be washed to remove any sap residue, before handling. Non-fibrous mangoes may be cut in half to the stone, the two halves twisted in opposite directions to free the stone which is then removed, and the halves served for eating as appetizers or dessert. Or the two "cheeks" may be cut off, following the contour of the stone, for similar use; then the remaining side "fingers" of flesh are cut off for use in fruit cups, etc. If the fruit is slightly fibrous especially near the stone, it is best to peel and slice the flesh and serve it as dessert, in fruit salad, on dry cereal, or in gelatine or custards, or on ice cream.

Both green and ripe mangoes are also used in curries and other savoury dishes with seafood and poultry. Immature mango leaves are cooked and eaten in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Processed: The ripe flesh may be spiced and preserved in jars. Surplus ripe mangoes are peeled, sliced and canned in syrup, or made into jam, marmalade, jelly or nectar. The extracted pulpy juice of fibrous types is used for making mango halva and mango leather. Sometimes corn flour and tamarind seed jellose are mixed in. Mango juice may be spray-dried and powdered and used in infant and invalid foods, or reconstituted and drunk as a beverage. The dried juice, blended with wheat flour has been made into "cereal" flakes. A dehydrated mango custard powder has also been developed in India, especially for use in baby foods.

Ripe mangoes may be frozen whole or peeled, sliced and packed in sugar (1 part sugar to 10 parts mango by weight) and quick-frozen in moisture-proof containers. The diced flesh of ripe mangoes, bathed in sweetened or unsweetened lime juice, to prevent discoloration, can be quick-frozen, as can sweetened ripe or green mango puree.

Half-ripe or green mangoes are peeled and sliced as filling for pie, used for jelly, or made into sauce which, with added milk and egg whites, can be converted into mango sherbet. Green mangoes are peeled, sliced, parboiled, then combined with sugar, salt, various spices and cooked, sometimes with raisins or other fruits, to make chutney; or they may be salted, sun-dried and kept for use in chutney and pickles. Thin slices, seasoned with turmeric, are dried, and sometimes powdered, and used to impart an acid flavour to chutneys, vegetables and soup. Green or ripe mangoes may be used to make relish. Dried and powdered mango seed is also used as food in India in times of food shortages.

 
Non-food Uses
 

Seed kernels: After soaking and drying to 10% moisture content, the kernels are fed to poultry and cattle. Without the removal of tannins, the feeding value is low. Cuban scientists declare that the mineral levels are so low mineral supplementation is needed if the kernel is used for poultry feed, for which purpose it is recommended mainly because it has little crude fibre.

Seed fat: Having high stearic acid content, the fat is desirable for soap-making. The seed residue after fat extraction is usable for cattle feed and soil enrichment.

Wood: The wood is kiln-dried or seasoned in saltwater. It is grey or greenish-brown, coarse-textured, medium-strong, hard, durable in water but not in the ground; easy to work and finishes well. In India , after preservative treatment, it is used for rafters and joists, window frames, agricultural implements, boats, plywood, shoe heels and boxes, including crates for shipping tins of cashew kernels. It makes excellent charcoal.

Bark: The bark possesses 16% to 20% tannin and has been employed for tanning hides. It yields a yellow dye, or, with turmeric and lime, a bright rose-pink.

Gum: A somewhat resinous, red-brown gum from the trunk is used for mending crockery in tropical Africa. In India, it is sold as a substitute for gum arabic.

Medicinal Uses: Dried mango flowers, containing 15% tannin, serve as astringents in cases of diarrhea, chronic dysentery, catarrh of the bladder and chronic urethritis resulting from gonorrhea. The bark contains mangiferine and is astringent and employed against rheumatism and diphtheria in India . The resinous gum from the trunk is applied on cracks in the skin of the feet and on scabies, and is believed helpful in cases of syphilis.

Mango kernel decoction and powder (not tannin-free) are used as vermifuges and as astringents in diarrhoea, haemorrhages and bleeding haemorrhoids. The fat is administered in cases of stomatitis. Extracts of unripe fruits and of bark, stems and leaves have shown antibiotic activity. In some of the islands of the Caribbean , the leaf decoction is taken as a remedy for diarrhoea, fever, chest complaints, diabetes, hypertension and other ills. A combined decoction of mango and other leaves is taken after childbirth.

 
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Chromosome Number: 76
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Theales
Family
:
Clusiaceae
Genus
:
Garcinia
 

Mangosteen is a broad-leaved, medium-size, ever-green tree. It is considered by many to be the most delicious fruit of the tropics with a universal appeal. According to some, it is ‘the finest fruit of the world' or ‘queen of fruits'. The exquisite flavour of the fruit is likened to that of nectar and is the only fruit in which glucose is in readily available form. Mangosteen cultivation is popular in Indonesia, Philippines, Burma, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. The fruit was introduced more than a century ago in India, but currently it is successfully grown only in selected places on slopes of Nilgiris (Tamil Nadu), Malabar and Kanyakumari (Kerala).

The mature tree reaches a height anywhere between 10 and 25m with a dense pyramidal crown and glossy bright leaves. Mangosteen fruit resembles small-sized orange with a smooth reddish purple cortex (rind) which is about 0.6 cm in thickness. Inside the fruit, 4–6 segments are found but only 1–2 of them contain seeds that have the size and shape of a shelled almond. The pearly white pulp is so soft and juicy that it almost melts in mouth with an indescribably sweet and pleasant flavour. The cortex is used in treating chronic diarrhoea, uretural irritation, gonorrhea etc. It is also used in tannary because of higher content of tannins up to 13%.

   
Climate and soil  

Mangosteen is a fruit of humid tropics and comes well in south India up to an altitude of 400–900 m and areas receiving 180–250 cm rainfall. Generally, frost-free regions with equatorial climate that lie at the foothills are suitable for cultivation. Very high humid or arid conditions over a long spell in a year are not suitable as these lead to ‘gamboge'—a disorder wherein there is excessive exudation of latex by branches and fruit pericarp.

Although mangosteen is not very specific in its soil requirement, it thrives successfully in deep, well-drained soil with high content of organic matter. The trees have been observed to grow well in contrasting soil environments, in soils that are moist naturally throughout the year (Sri Lanka) and in areas where the annual rainfall is just 15cm but trees receive irrigation once in a fortnight (Hawaii). Generally, mangosteen come up well close to water bodies when the watertable is below 2m, provided the soil is non-alkaline. It can develop normally when no shade is provided.

 
Varieties
Elite mangosteen varieties are unknown, though it has been cultivated for centuries. The occurrence of natural variability is also limited by the fact that ‘seeds’ are of asexual origin, they are formed from the nucellar tissue in the parthenocarpic fruit. However, a general grouping of cultivated mangosteen into 2 types is possible: one with large leaves and fruits of variable size and the other with small leaves and small fruits. In Philippines, a variety called Jolo produces fruits that are larger, with big seeds but more delicious pulp than the common cultivated type.
   
Propagation

Since its seeds are azygotic and they produce trees resembling mother, mangosteen is commonly propagated through seeds. Freshly extracted large, plumpy seeds are planted in a humus-rich medium with good drainage. The nursery bed should be deep enough for the growth of tap root. Sometimes 2–3 plants are formed from a single seed and only vigorous plants should be chosen at early stage. As seedlings attain 2-leaf stage they should be transplanted to 30cm deep earthen pots. Additional care needs to be taken while transplanting the seedlings as they have a lengthy delicate tap root. A few lateral roots do not compensate for any injury or loss to the main root. Sowing the seeds directly into polybags/earthen pots, then transferring the saplings at appropriate time to permanent sites can circumvent the risk associated with transplantation operation. The seedlings grow slowly and even after 2 years of growth seedlings do not reach more than 15cm height. The slow and poor growth of seedlings is attributed to lack of adequate fibrous lateral roots. It can be considered as a major barrier in its cultivation.

Attempts to propagate mangosteen by vegetative means has proved unrewarding. The poor rooting when cuttings or air-layering are tried, and non-availability of suitable rootstock although several allied genera have been tested, for grafting or budding, has discouraged large-scale vegetative propagation.

   
Cultivation  

Planting

Planting distances vary from 8 to 10m between trees, depending on soil fertility. Transplantation of mangosteen is a vital operation and plants should be taken out from the containers with utmost care, and planted carefully in the permanent site with a ball of earth. Other points as described for avocado may be considered.

Pruning

No elaborate pruning can be advocated for general adoption by the growers. However, it is a good practice to prune old, diseased, and damaged branches, and those branches that touch the soil and suckers that grow up from the base of the trunk. Severe pruning and removal of growing tips or branches should be avoided. It is better to prune when the tree does not have flowers, fruits or new flushes of leaves.

Manuring and fertilization

Mangosteen crop in the field is often not fertilized, but when in nursery, a mixture of N:P:K (20:20:20) containing trace minerals may be given to each seedling at the rate of 5ml/4 litres of water. It may be applied to soil as well as foliage once in 15 days. Because soils vary in fertility, it is difficult to specify common fertilizer dose. The general recommended dose is given in Table 1. It can be modified depending on soil type and tree growth.

Age of the tree (years)

20-20-20 NPK* mixture (kg)

FYM (kg)

1-2

0.25

20

2-4

0.50

20

4-6

1.00

40

6-8

2.00

50

8-14

4.00

60

Over 15

7.00

60

*Proportion of N, P 2 O 5 and K 2 O expressed as percentage

(Table 1. Annual fertilizer and manurial recommendations for mangosteen plant to be applied in 2  splits)

Irrigation

Mangosteen needs regular irrigation in places where rainfall is light and good drainage where rainfall is heavy. The frequency of irrigation should be decided on the basis of weather and soil moisture. Mulching with grass or dried leaves helps the trees as the process conserves soil moisture.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Well attended trees begin to fruit at 7 years of age; the average time of fruit bearing being 8–10 years. The time of flowering and fruiting are influenced by elevation and presence or absence of shade. Usually a single crop is produced annually, but 2 crops, viz. August–October and April-June, have been obtained from the trees at the Nilgiris hills. The August–October is the main crop. Fruits are picked with peduncle when slightly soft and colour change occurs from greenish-brown to dark brown or reddish-purple. As mangosteen trees grow vary tall, long bamboo poles and/or folding aluminium ladders are helpful in harvesting. Even fruits that fall from the tree when ripe may be picked at the earliest possible for immediate use. The yield from a tree ranges from 500–1,500 fruits, depending on the development of the tree.

Mangosteen fruit should be handled and packed with care especially to avoid damage from the still attached peduncle. It is recommended to treat the surface of the fruit with Bordeaux mixture to avoid rot during shipping and the shipment should ensure that the fruit arrives at the market near or at maturity. Mangosteen can be stored for 2–3 weeks at room temperature and at optimum conditions (4–6°C with 85–90% relative humidity) fruits can be kept up to 50 days without much loss in aroma and flavour. The fruits are normally consumed as fresh. A number of processed products like jelly, paste, syrup and canned fruit segments can be prepared from the fruit. However, much of the fine aroma is lost during processing.
   
Physiological Disorders
Gamboge and fruit splitting are physiological disorders in mangosteen. Gamboge is characterised by yellow exudation of gum on the fruits and branches. Fruit splitting results in swollen arils with a mushy pulp. Gamboge is more pronounced in fruits exposed to direct sunlight, and in crop that matures in summer. Heavy and continuous rains during fruit ripening favour gamboge and fruit splitting in certain locations.
Nutritional Value
 
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Mushrooms are most important microbes used as a source of human food. They are a rich source of nutrition. While more than 2,000 species of microbes are edible, only about 2 dozen edible mushrooms have so far been artificially cultivated and only 5–6 have been commercially exploited the world over. In India, only 3 mushroom types—white button mushroom ( Agaricus bisporus and A. bitorquis ), oyster mushroom ( Pleurotus spp.) and paddy straw mushroom ( Volvariella spp.)—are being cultivated commercially. Button mushroom comprises more than 90% of India's total mushroom production. Other species in the pipeline are wood-ear mushroom ( Auricularia spp.), milky mushroom ( Calocybe indica ), shiitake mushroom ( Lentinus edodes ) and giant mushroom ( Stropharia ruguso - annulata ), whose cultivation methods have been worked out, but are yet to be adopted by the growers.

All the 3 cultivated mushrooms not only differ in their shape, size, colour and biochemical composition, but they show variations in their requirement for growth medium (substrate), temperature, and other physical factors. Obviously, they also require different infrastructural facilities for growing, postharvest management and marketing.

Button mushroom

Commercially, this is most viable mushroom the world over, but its method of cultivation is not as simple as those of oyster and straw mushrooms. Its growing requirements are also much more exacting than the others. In fact, its commercial cultivation has already attained a Hi-tech farming status. There are Button Mushroom farms, both in India and abroad established with high degree of mechanization and automation, wherein all farming activities, except harvesting, are done with machines as per computer-monitoring. In contrast to these climate controlled Hi-tech farms, there are seasonal farms also, wherein this mushroom is cultivated under most ordinary conditions, where all the activities are done manually. Of course, some farms in our country, fall in between the two, where only need-based mechanization together with the essential hygeinic and climate control measures are adopted, which obviously are more suited to Indian conditions and are more cost-effective and competitive.

   
 
   
Cultivation  

Cultivation of button mushroom involves:

Spawn

Mushroom spawn is technically equivalent to seed of a plant, although, in reality, it is a pure mushroom mycelium (vegetative growth) growing on a sterilized grain medium. The grain medium is prepared from boiled grains of cereal or millet like wheat, bajra, jowar and rye mixed with chalk-powder and gypsum. The medium is sterilized after filling in heat resistant glass bottles or polypropylene bags at 121°C and inoculated with pure culture of A. bisporus . The medium soon gets impregnated with mushroom mycelium if incubated at 25°C and is ready for use in 2–3 weeks.

Compost

The substrate used for button mushroom is a partially decomposed organic matter prepared under aerobic conditions and is generally termed as compost. In India, straw of wheat or paddy have generally replaced horse manure as the base material for mushroom compost. It is known as synthetic compost. Several formulations of compost have been worked out, the most commonly used are:

Long method compost (unpasteurized)

Solan

Wheat straw

300kg

Calcium ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulphate (20.6% N)

9kg

Urea (46% N)

3.6kg

Potassium sulphate or muriate of potash

3.0kg

Wheat bran or

30.0kg

Spent brewer's grains

40.0kg

Gypsum

30.0kg

Nemagon (60%)

40ml

Furadan 3 G

150g

Lindane or BHC 5% dust

250g

Molasses

5kg

Ludhiana

Wheat straw

300kg

Poultry manure

60kg

Wheat bran

7.5kg

CAN

6kg

Urea

2kg

Superphosphate

2kg

Potassium sulphate

2kg

Gypsum

30kg

Lintox

60ml

Srinagar

Wheat straw

300kg

Molasses

12kg

Urea

4.5kg

Wheat bran

50kg

Muriate of potash

2kg

Cotton seed meal

5kg

Gypsum

15kg

Lindane

250g

Shillong

Paddy straw

400kg

Ammonium sulphate

9kg

Urea

3.6kg

Sulphate of potash

3.0kg

Single super phosphate

3.0kg

Wheat bran (or flour)

30.0kg

Gypsum

30.0kg

Molasses

5.0kg

Temik

40.0gm

BHC 5%

250gm

Kelthane or Ecalux

40ml

Any of the above formulations can be used for preparing long method compost (LMC) which is accomplished outdoors in about 28 days. The constituents included in the formulations ensure the N levels initially at 1.5–1.75 and finally at 1.25%, as also the C:N ratio between 25 and 30 at starting and 16–18 at the end. The straw after thorough wetting for 24 hr is mixed with the bran fertilizer mixture prepared with two-thirds quantities of ammonium sulphate and urea and the entire quantity of SSP and SOP added to 15kg of moistened wheat bran and left overnight covered with wet gunny sheets. The substrate so prepared is formed into a large heap to encourage intense microbial activities causing the generation of heat reaching up to 75°–80°C. The heap is broken and remade on the sixth day after adding the bran fertilizer mixture made the previous night with the remaining ingredients and slurry made with molasses, nematicide and insecticides in 10 litres of water. Every 3–4 days, the heap is broken and remade (turned) after adding water to maintain around 75% moisture and allowing aerobic conditions. Normally 7–8 turnings are necessary with addition of gypsum at third and BHC or Lindane at the 7th turning. The compost after seventh or eighth turning is ready for seeding (spawning) if free from ammonia, otherwise more turnings are necessary.

Short method compost (pasteurized)

Solan

Wheat straw

1000kg

Chicken manure

400kg

Brewer's grain

72kg

Urea

14.5kg

Gypsum

30kg

Bangalore

Wheat straw

300kg

CAN or ammonium sulphate

9kg

Super phosphate

9kg

Wheat bran

15kg

Gypsum

30kg

Thus short method compost can be prepared accordingly if completed in 18–20 days in outdoor and indoor phases. During the outdoor phase, the straw is pre-wetted and spread before the entire quantities of chicken manure and Brewer's grains are added in layers. Ample water and trampling makes the loose stack almost anaerobic which is normally given a turning after 2–3 days. An aerobic heap is prepared 2 days later after adding the full quota of urea. About 3–4 turnings on alternate days complete the outdoor phase.

The phase-II is done indoors either in a bulk chamber or in a pasteurization room. The bulk chamber is especially designed for phase-II composting and is fitted with boiler-fed steam-pipes and a blower. Bulk pasteurization in such chambers has now become more popular particularly in bigger farms. The phase-I compost is directly filled into the chamber up to a height of 6–7 feet, while it is filled in trays or shelves to a depth of 17–22cm in a pasteurization room. In either case, the temperature is allowed to rise first to 48°–50°C and after 6–8hr it is raised by steam injection to 57°–59°C for effective pasteurization of the compost. When both the air and compost temperatures have reached and maintained at this range for 4–6hr, fresh air is introduced slowly to lower down the compost temperature to 50°–52°C for conditioning, which takes 3–4 days and is indicated by the absence of ammonia. Introduction of more fresh air brings down the temperature of compost to 25°–28°C, when it is ready for seeding.

Spawning and spawn run

The compost made by long or short method is filled in trays, or shelves or more commonly in polybags, after mixing the spawn through compost @ 0.5%. The spawned beds are kept covered with formalin dipped paper sheets or by closing the mouth of the bags,. The beds if incubated at 24°C, with relative humidity maintained between 80–85%, get fully impregnated with mushroom mycelium and when the spawn-run is completed (in 2–3 weeks), the compost turns light brown from deep brown and is ready for casing.

Casing and case run

The spawn run beds are then covered by 1–2" thick layer of casing material, which is necessary to initiate fruiting, though its role in fruiting is only partially understood. Casing material should have the characteristics like poor in nutrient, good water-holding capacity but a texture permitting good aeration and a pH of 7–7.5. The best and the most commonly used casing material is the peat-moss, which is directly used for casing after adding lime or chalk to adjust the pH and also after pasteurization. However, due to its paucity in India, one of the following mixtures is being used in our country.

•  1–2 years old and rotten cowdung + clay loam soil (1:1).

•  1–2 years rotten cowdung + clay loam soil + 2 years old spent compost         (1:1:2).

•  2 years old spent compost + sand + lime (4:1:1).

•  Garden loam + sand (4:1)

The casing material is pasteurized either by steaming (60°–65°C for 6 hr) or by adding 3% formalin solution (3 litres formalin in 40 litres of water), covering with a polythene sheet for 15–20 days. Before casing, the material is allowed to cool or become free from formaldehyde. To encourage the mushroom mycelium to fully impregnate the casing soil, temperature is maintained around 24°C for 7–10 days. After this the room temperature is brought down to 14°–18°C and ample ventilation is provided to reduce CO 2 level, preferably below 1,000ppm. The relative humidity of the room is maintained between 85 and 90%. The casing layer is given light spray of water to prevent its drying.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management

Mushroom pin-heads start appearing after another 7–10 days. They appear in flushes every 7–10 days. They are harvested accordingly. About two-third of the total crop can be harvested within first 3 weeks. The beds retain up to 6 weeks of fruiting. The growing rooms are then emptied and cooked out to kill pests/pathogens, if any, attacking the crop to protect the subsequent crop-cycle.

Generally mushrooms are harvested as buttons, which if allowed to grow further to reveal pink gills due to ruptured ‘veil' are known are ‘cup'. They further grow in size and become fully ‘open' or ‘flat' exposing dark gills. If the harvesting is delayed further, it deteriorates and dies soon.

Mushrooms have a very short shelf-life. They should be sold immediately after harvesting. They are stored without washing in paper envelopes kept in plastic bags to prevent moisture loss and are stored in a refrigerator (lower shelves) for less than a week.

Some precautions

Important precautions are:

•  Maintain cleanliness in and around the farm. Any left over or refuses must be burried in soil.

•  Prepare substrate only on a cemented platform cleaned with 2% formalin solution.

•  Use of pasteurized compost and casing should be preferred.

•  Use healthy spawn free from contaminants. Reject spawn showing even a little infection.

•  Clean area, trays, old bags before spawning.

•  Growing rooms must be cooked-out with live-steam for 12hr at temperature above 70°C, before/after a crop. Alternatively, spray thoroughly 2% formalin solution on floor, walls, racks etc. and keep the room closed for 24hr before use.

•  Use a foot-dip (with germicidal solution) before entering the growing area/rooms.

•  Personal hygiene of workers and use of clean and disinfected tools/implements during spawning/casing and harvesting.

•  Reject any infected bag/mushroom and treat them with formalin before they are buried in the soil.

•  Growing rooms should be provided with insect-proof nets in doors and windows or any other inlets.

•  Use safe and recommended doses of pesticides only when absolutely necessary and between the flushes.

Summer button mushroom

The Agaricus bisporus , temperature tolerant button mushroom, is especially suited to Indian conditions. In contrast to A. bisporus , its temperature requirement both for vegetative and reproductive phases are higher, 28°–30°C for mycelial growth and 20°–25°C for fructification. However, this makes this mushroom more prone to pests and diseases and hence its cultivation requires strict hygienic conditions. Obviously, it can be successfully cultivated only on pasteurized compost prepared by short method of composting. All other details are more or less similar to A. bisporus . However, it shows some inherent advantages over A. bisporus , which makes it suitable for crop rotation also. A. bitorquis is resistant to all the known mushroom viruses and to nematode Apenchoides sacchari . It can also tolerate higher CO 2 level, has longer shelf-life and better processing qualities. In fresh condition also its snow-white sporophores are compact with better shape and texture and are resistant to bruising. Its productivity potential also compares well with A. bisporus and hence it has good potential for cultivation in Indian plains/lower hills where 1–2 additional crops of button mushroom can be taken. For climate-controlled farms also this mushroom is good for cutting the cost on cooling during summer and helps rotate with A. bisporus.

Oyster mushrooms

The Pleurotus spp. derive their common name due to the oyster-like shape of their fruit-body. A number of species of oyster mushrooms are under cultivation in India. They are: P. sajor caju, P. flabellatus, P. ostreatus, P. florida, P. citrinopileatus and P. platypus. The P. sajor caju is most popular and well-adapted species. Pleurotus spp. can be grown directly on unfermented substrate derived from a wide variety of crop residues. It can utilize any organic waste rich in ligno-cellulosics. Some of the materials used for its cultivation are cereal and millet straws, residues of oilseeds and pulses, cotton, Jute and coconut wastes, sugarcane bagasse, tea leaf waste, waste paper, etc. Similarly, species of oyster mushroom show good adaptability to a wide range of temperature, making it possible to grow this mushroom almost round-the-year without recourse to controlled climatic conditions. It is also amenable to simple dehydration with good rehydration capacity and hence costly canning procedure is not necessary for its preservation and marketing. With all these qualities, this mushroom is highly suitable for Indian farmers.

Cultivation of Pleurotus spp. is rather simple. Any of the above substrates is chosen for its cultivation as per easy availability. Crop residue like cereal straw free from mouldy growth is first chopped into smaller 1–2" bits and soaked in cold water (18hr), or hot water (half-an-hour), or aqueous solution of Bavistin (75ppm) and formalin (500ppm) for 18hr. The straw is then spread on a wire-mesh or bamboo mat for excess water/solution to drain off and then filled and spawned in the growing container, which may be a polythene bag, wooden box/tray, a nylon-bag, or on a polythene sheet to wrap the straw block made with the help of a wooden mould. The beds so prepared are kept in a warm place safe from rats for about 2–3 weeks for spawn-run. At the end of the incubation, the straw is fully impregnated and covered with white mushroom mycelium and the beds become quite compact, so that they maintain their shape even after they are taken out of the polybag, or polythene covering etc., and kept on a shelf made of bamboo or wooden beadings or iron in a well-ventilated growing room. If maintained in a humid and well-ventilated condition and free from insects and moulds, the beds come to fruiting within a week or so. The pin-heads grow into oyster-shaped fruit-bodies, which are harvested before they mature and shed spores. Within a week, the same beds fruit again to give the second flush. In all, 3–4 flushes are harvested to obtain 70–80% conversion, which proves highly profitable in view of the low-cost of cultivation and very fast return of the investment.

Paddy straw mushrooms

This is the first edible mushroom cultivated in India. It is a tropical mushroom with a temperature requirement as high as 35°C. It is, therefore, highly suitable for northern plains, coastal and plateau areas of south India. In India, 3 species of this mushroom— Volvariella volvacea, V. diplasia and V. esculenta —are under cultivation. Among these, V. displasia being most popular. Although, this mushroom can be cultivated on a variety of substrates, it is mostly cultivated on straw of rice, wheat, barley and oat, the most common being rice-straw, which is used as unfermented substrate but with poor productivity.

In traditional cultivation uncut straw is made into bundles of half to 1kg tied at the butt-ends. These bundles are soaked in cold water for 16–18hr. Then these are placed on a slope to drain excess water, and retain about 70% moisture. These bundles are placed side-by-side and in layers to make a bed of 4 layers. Spawn and supplements like gram floor, SPP, chicken manure, rice bran etc. are added at each layer. Beds of various shapes and sizes are in practice, but one with a central hole provides more surface area and better ventilation. Low-cost huts are generally used for its cultivation, although it is possible to cultivate it outdoors also, particularly during rainy season on a raised bamboo platform. However in improved, method a wooden frame (100cm × 25cm × 50cm) is used for laying the bed made of 60–70 bundles (25cm × 10cm) in 6 layers. At least 2 or 3 such frames are kept one above the other for efficient use of space. Smaller size of the bundles and the vertical orientation of the bed provide much greater surface area in relation to straw quantity in a bed, and hence give higher conversion rate. The small-sized bundles are also amenable to treatment in hot-water or in Bavistin + formalin solution, which prevents the pests and diseases to a considerable extent. As compared to 7–8% conversion in traditional method, this improved method gives about 15–18% conversion. However, as high as 30% conversion is obtained, when this mushroom is cultivated on a compost made of cotton waste, but that technology is yet to be adopted by the Indian farmers.

Shiitake mushroom

This mushroom (Lentinula edodes) is not popular in India, although at the global level it ranks second after button mushroom. Initially it was tried on chestnut wood logs using Japanese method of cultivation but without much success. Recent attempts have been made to grow this mushroom on synthetic logs made of saw-dust supplemented with various additives like rice bran, wheat bran etc. and 20–30% conversion rates have been achieved.

Black ear mushroom

Recently cultivation of black ear mushroom ( Auricularia polytricha ) has shown phenomenal rise at the global level. Its cultivation is rather simple and similar to oyster mushroom. In its improved cultivation technique wheat straw with 2–4%, rice or wheat bran is used, which after soaking in water need to be sterilized before spawning. Polypropylene bags are suitable for its cultivation. It requires a temperature of 22°–28°C for spawn run which takes about 2 weeks. Slits are made or bags are removed to facilitate fruiting almost at the same temperature with about 80–100% biological efficiency. Other substrates like sugarcane bagasse, saw -dust and mixture of straws are also useful for its cultivation.

Milky mushroom

Milky mushroom (Colocybe indica) is characterized by a milky large sporophore with delicious flavour. It can be grown at 25°–30°C. There is a good scope for its cultivation in tropical areas with a biological efficiency of 60–70%. It is grown on wheat or rice straw in polypropylene bags with supplements like maize-meal, wheat bran and rice husk @ 5–7% both during spawning and casing. After 8–10 days of mycelial run casing with 2-year-old cowdung patties up to a thickness of 2.5cm has been recommended. Mixture of garden soil and sand (1:1) or soil/sand mixture supplemented with calcium carbonate is also used as casing. The first flush of mushroom is ready for harvesting within 3–4 weeks from spawning at 25°–30°C, high humidity, defused light and good aeration. Fruiting bodies harvested before shedding of spores are required to be packed in perforated polythene bags as whole or in pieces for fresh marketing. For drying mushrooms are cut as chips and dried under the sun or in oven at 40°–50°C without change in colour.

Giant mushroom

Giant mushroom ( Stropharia ruguso-annulata ) has a large fruiting body and is one of the 10 widely cultivated mushrooms in the world. Collected from the forests in Himachal Pradesh, it is successfully cultivated on wheat and rice straw. The substrate needs to be partially composed or dipped in hot water before inoculating with spawn prepared on wheat grain or straw at the rate of 1%. At spawning the substrate should have 55–60% moisture content. In polybag cultivation spawn run takes 20–30 days at 22°–26°C. Casing is done with forest litter or the mixture of farmyard manure and moss (1:1), which is followed by lowering of the temperature to 16°–20°C, good aeration and maintenance of 80–90% relative humidity. Its first flush becomes ready for harvesting one month after casing. In 3–4 flushes biological efficiency is achieved up to 100%

Nutritional Value
 
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Chromosome Number: 24
Taxonomic Classification
Class
:
Magnoliopsida
Order
:
Violales
Family
:
Cucurbitaceae
Genus
:
Cucumis
 
Muskmelon is primarily used as fresh fruit. The unripe fruit may be cooked as vegetable by the village folk. Rich in vitamin A, B and C, and calcium, phosphorus and iron, muskmelon provides a wholesome food. Seed kernels are edible, tasty and nutritious, since they are rich in oils and energy.
   
Climate and soil  

Muskmelon flourishes well under warm climate and cannot tolerate frost. The optimum temperature for germination of seeds is 27°–30°C. With increase in temperature, the plants complete their vegetative growth earlier. Stormy weather particularly dust-storm during flowering reduces fruit setting. Dry weather with clear sunshine during ripening ensures a high sugar content, better flavour and high percentage of marketable fruits. High humidity increases the incidence of diseases, particularly those affecting foliage. Cool nights and warm days are ideal for accumulation of sugars in fruits.
A well-drained, loamy soil is ideal. Lighter soils which warm up quickly in spring are usually utilized for early crop. In heavier soils, vine growth is more and fruit maturity is delayed. On sandy river-beds, alluvial substrata and subterranean moisture of river streams support its growth. In river-beds, its long tap root system is adapted to growth. It is necessary that soils should be fertile well provided with organic matter. Muskmelon is sensitive to acid soils. The crop cannot be grown successfully below a pH of 5.5. A soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 is ideal. Alkaline soils with high salt concentration are not suitable.

 
Varieties

The improved open-pollinated varieties and F1 hybrids are:
Arka Jeet
The fruits are small, round with flat ends, weighing 300–500g each, skin smooth and orange to orange-brown; flesh white with medium soft-textured, excellent flavour, juicy, very sweet (15–17% TSS); rich in vitamin C. An early-maturing variety, its average yield is 15 tonnes/ha.
Arka Rajhans
An early-maturing variety, its fruits are round to slightly oval, weighing about 1kg each. Rind is creamy-white and netted; flesh white, thick, firm and sweet (11–14% TSS); shelf-life and transport qualities are good. The average yield is 28.5 tonnes/ha.
Durgapura Madhu
It is an early-maturing variety. Its fruits are oblong, weighting 500–600g each; rind pale-green; flesh light green, non-juicy and very sweet (13–14% TSS); seed cavity big.
Hara Madhu
it is a late-maturing variety. Its fruits are round, tapering towards stalk-end, weighing about 1kg each; flesh light green, juicy and very sweet (13% TSS); keeping quality poor; average yield 12.5 tonnes/ha.
Hisar Madhur
Its vines are long, providing round fruits; rind brownish-yellow with green sutures; flesh orange, juicy and sweet. The average yield is 10.0 tonnes/ha.
Hisar Saras
With short vines, Hisar Saras matures early with round fruits; skin netted; flesh greenish-white and sweet. It is tolerant to down mildew. The average yield is 8–10 tonnes/ha.
MH 10
With medium-long vines, it matures early. The fruits nearly round or oval, weighing 915g; rind brown, netted and sutureless; flesh orange, medium juicy, flavoursome, thick and sweet (9–10% TSS); shelf-life and transport qualities excellent. The average yield is 24 tonnes/ha.
Punjab Hybrid
Its vines are vigorous and long, providing fruits early. Fruits are round, weighing 800g; rind netted, light yellow and quite thick, flesh thick, juicy, orange flavoured and sweet (12% TSS). Its average yield is 16.0 tonnes/ha.
Pusa Madhuras
A mid-season variety, its fruits are roundish-flat, weighing a kg or more; skin pale-green, sparsely netted with dark green stripes; flesh salmon-orange, juicy and sweet (12–14% TSS); keeping quality poor. The average yield is 15.0tonnes/ha.
Pusa Rasraj
An early-maturing hybrid, fruits oval; rind greenish-yellow, smooth and sutureless; flesh green. The average yield is 17.3 tonnes/ha.
Punjab Rasila
An early-maturing variety. Its fruits are nearly round with sutures, rind light yellow with medium netting; flesh green, thick, juicy and sweet (10% or more TSS). It is highly resistant to powdery mildew and tolerant to downy mildew. On an average its yield is 16 tonnes/ha.
Pusa Sharbati
An early-maturing variety, its fruits are round; skin netted; flesh salmon-orange, firm, thick and moderately sweet (11–12% TSS); seed cavity small, keeping quality good, suitable for river-bed cultivation and northern India. The average yield is 15.0 tonnes/ha.
Punjab Sunehri
An early-maturing variety, its fruits are round to elliptical, devoid of sutures; skin light brown, netted and thick; flesh salmon-orange, thick and sweet (11% TSS); shelf-life and transport quality excellent; average yield 16 tonnes/ha.

   
Cultivation  

Sowing
Muskmelon is propagated by seed. In north India, early sowing is done in river-beds from November to January. In northern plains, sowing is done in February while in December–January in southern plains. Optimum temperature for seed germination is 24°–29°C. To get an early crop, seeds, can be sown in polythene bags under protected cover. The seedlings become ready for transplanting at 2–4 true leaf stage. This practice is prevalent in Punjab, where sowing is done in last week of January or first week of February. The seedlings become ready for transplanting by February-end or first week of March.
The seed rate of 1kg/ha is optimum for sowing in field by dibbling method, or in polythene bags. Sow 2–3 seeds/ hill. For direct sowing by kera or pora method, a seed rate of 2.50–3.75kg/ha is adequate. The seed rate of 1.50–2.0kg/ha may also be practised.
Land preparation
Soil should be worked with a disc-harrow 2–3 times followed by cultivation and planking 4 times. To reduce the soil to a well-pulverized condition, it should be worked only when it is in the optimum-moisture condition. Seeds should be sown on raised beds. The width of bed depends upon crop and the variety to be planted. Generally 4m wide raised beds are prepared for muskmelon Hara Madhu. For medium-long varieties, 3m wide beds are prepared. The row-to-row spacing of 3.50m for Durgapura Madhu is optimum. Planting is done on both sides of the beds. Hill-to-hill distance of 50–60cm should be kept. The planting can also be successfully done in long water channels. The channels can be prepared either with a tractor or with manual labour. The distance between 2 channel should be according to width of the bed. Subsequently, the vines should be raised to grow in between the cannels.
Transplanted crop matures 15–20 days earlier than the direct-seeded one. For raising seedlings, take polythene bags of 15cm × 10cm size and of 100 gauge thickness. Fill them with a mixture of well-rotten farmyard manure, field soil and silt in equal proportion. For raising nursery for 1 hectare, 12.5–15kg polythene bags are required. Seeds should be sown 1.5cm deep. Watering of the bags should be done daily with a sprinkling can. Stop watering the bags 2 days before transplanting. Cut and remove polythene bags before transplanting the seedlings. Take care that the earth-ball containing seedling does not break. Place the earth-balls in the pits in the field, put the soil all around and irrigate the channels immediately after transplanting.
Manuring and fertilization
Add 25–40 tonnes farmyard manure and 125kg N, 62kg P and 62kg K/ha. Nirtogenous fertilizers encourage vegetative growth and increase female and perfect flowers. The addition of nitrogen narrows down the sex ratio. The farmyard manure should be incorporated in soil 10–15 days before sowing. Whole P and K and one-third of N should be applied in 2 parallel bands 45cm apart on both sides of the bed mark. Prepare channels in between fertilizer bands. Rest of the N should be applied to the vines 3–4 weeks after germination prior to earthing-up.
Keep row-to-row and plant-to-plant distance same as for directly sown crop. Dig 15–20cm deep pits at the sites where seedlings are to be transplanted. Fill each pit with a mixture of 1 kg of farmyard manure, 10–15g of calcium ammonium nitrate, 40g of superphosphate and 10g muriate of potash before planting. Apply another dose of 10–15g of CAN to each plant after one month.
Hoeing and weeding
Hoeing keeps soil loose and free from weeds. In beginning, cultivation can be fairly close to the plants and shallow (5–10cm). The growth of lateral roots often equals or exceeds that of the above ground parts. Therefore, later hoeing should be relatively shallow. When vines cover the ground, cultivation should be stopped and only weeds should be pulled out by hand. During April–June severe dust storms not only hamper vegetative growth but also roll them up and in some cases even uproot the vines, if the fields are kept clear of weeds. There is then poor fruit setting. It is, therefore, advisable to keep the area near the roots free from weeds but allow them to grow on the beds away from root zone, so that the vines during growth can get hold of them and are disturbed the least by fast winds.
Irrigation
Maintaining sufficient moisture is essential. However, frequency of irrigation should be reduced during maturity period to get sweeter fruits. The irrigation should be as light as possible. The light sandy soils need more frequent irrigation than heavier ones. The flooding of the field should be avoided, particularly when fruits are reaching maturity. During dry summer, irrigate the crop at 5–7 days intervals.

   
Harvesting & Postharvest management
Fruits maturing on vine, without becoming overripe, are superior in quality to those harvested immature, or left on vine after they have become mature. Harvesting at the proper stage is of major importance in marketing good quality produce. The fruits for distant markets should be harvested as they reach the half-slip maturity, to avoid losses from the over-ripeness and decay. For local markets, harvesting should be done at ‘full-slip’ stage. Hara Madhu however, never reaches the full-slip stage and colour of the rind can be taken as the criteria of maturity. Flavour and texture of the flesh improve for a few days after harvesting and attain highest quality if the fruits are harvested when they have developed their maximum sugar content. Fruits harvested when immature as yet, never attain these desirable characteristics. The soluble solids are considerably affected by the environment, the incidence of diseases and the vigour of the plant.
 
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Mushroom
Muskmelon
Agathi, Amaranth, Ash gourd , Beet root , Bitter gourd , Bottle gourd , Brinjal, Broccoli, Brussels sprout, Cabbage, Capsicum, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery , Chilli, Cowpea, Cucumber , Curry leaf , Drumstick, French bean , Garlic, Kale, Knol-khol , Lablab bean , Lettuce, Muskmelon, Okra , Onion, Indian spinach , Parsley, Pea, Pointed gourd, Pumpkin, Radish, Ridge gourd , Round melon , Snake gourd, Spinach, Sponge gourd , Tomato, Turnip , Watermelon, Potato, Arrow root, Cassava, Coleus, Colocasia, Amorphophallus, Sweet potato , Xanthosoma, Yam bean , Yams, Mushroom, Annual flowers, Anthurium, Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Gladiolus, Jasmine, Orchids, Rose, Asgand, Dill, Guggal, Black henbane , Isabgol, Khasi kateri , Liquorice, Opium poppy , Periwinkle, Pipali, Sarpagandha, Senna, Almond, Annonaceous fruits, Aonla, Apple , Apricot, Avocado, Bael, Banana, Ber, Bread fruit , Carambola , Cherry, Date palm , Durian, Egg fruit , Fig , Grape, Guava, Jackfruit, Jamun, Karonda, Kiwi fruit , Limes, Litchi, Loquat, Macadamia, Mahua, Mandarin orange , Mango, Mangosteen , Olive , Papaya, Passion fruit, Peach, Pear, Pecan, Persimmon, Phalsa , Pineapple, Plum, Pomegranate , Rambutan , Sapota, Strawberry, Citrus, Walnut , Ambrette, Chamomile, Davana , French jasmine, Indian basil , Java citronella , Kewada, Lemon grass, Japanese mint, Peppermint, Spearmint, Bergamot mint, Palmarosa oil grass , Patchouli, Rose geranium , Scented rose , Arecanut, Cashew, Cocoa, Coconut, Coffee, Oil palm , Palmyrah palm tree , Rubber, Tea, Betelvine, Black pepper , Cardamom, Large cardamom , Clove, Coriander, Cumin, Fennel, Fenugreek, Ginger, Nutmeg, Tamarind