Modernization of the breeding pipeline, use of molecular markers, robust phenotyping to enhance selection efficiency, and need for partnerships with industry were identified as key areas of collaboration between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research – Directorate of Groundnut Research (ICAR-DGR) and ICRISAT.
Past collaborative research work between the two organizations since 2011 led to the delivery of three key products:
- Identification of ‘High Oil’ groundnut varieties for release in India;
- Development of ‘High Oleic’ lines in Spanish and Virginia variety;
- Near-isogenic lines (NIL) that combine early maturity and foliar fungal disease resistance identified for release.
- The partnership enabled targeted improvement of traits to meet end-use needs, besides focusing on yield and agronomic performance requirements to meet production challenges.
‘High Oil’ groundnuts
These varieties enhance the milling efficiency and value chain studies showed that buyers are willing to pay a premium price for high oil content. To fast-track their adoption, Dr KL Dobariya, Research Scientist (Groundnut), Junagadh Agricultural University, is bulk producing the seeds to ensure sufficient availability of Breeder Seed at the time of release.
‘High Oleic’ trait groundnuts
For food and confectionery uses, ‘High Oleic’ trait is a priority trait as it is good for health and benefits the industry as it enhances the shelf-life. The Spanish variety of groundnut is best suited for breeding with ‘High Oleic’ traits as they have the preferred market traits, mature early and are suitable for cultivation in major production ecologies of Africa and Asia.
The increasing demand for ‘High Oleic’ groundnuts in international markets can be translated into economic
benefits along the value chain. Industry partnerships for commercializing these varieties is necessary to enhance profitability of farmers. In this direction, ICRISAT has partnered with Mars Chocolate North America, LLC, for testing and commercialization of ‘High Oleic’ groundnut varieties.
NIL lines (combining early maturity and foliar fungal disease resistance)
ICRISAT’s groundnut improvement program has shared 57 introgression lines with six centers to conduct multi-location evaluation leading to recommendation of 16 lines based on pod yield performance and foliar fungal disease resistance to NIL trials. Dr AL Rathnakumar, Coordinator All India Coordinated Research Program-Groundnut, and Principal Scientist, DGR, apprised about the first-ever ‘NIL trials’ at the national level. The NIL trials followed systematic multi-location evaluations conducted in partnership with four state agricultural universities (SAUs) of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, DGR and ICRISAT. Earlier at ICRISAT, genotyping in early generations followed by extensive phenotyping in disease nurseries and disease hotspots led to the development of introgression lines in the three varieties: JL 24, TAG 24 and ICGV 91114.
Read more about the visit at http://dgblog.icrisat.org/