Demand for peanut oil in India is increasing and a dependable supply of quality seed of varieties that combine both high oil and high oleic traits are highly desirable for increased shelf life and consumer health benefits, said Mr Tushar Tumar from Kedut Foods and Feeds at a recent virtual industry interface meeting hosted by ICAR – Directorate of Groundnut Research. At the same meet, scientists, traders, seed producers and processors discussed the importance of having seed production guidelines in place to ensure high genetic purity in the high-oleic seed value chain.
Addressing peanut industry, traders, and exporters virtually, Dr T Radhakrishnan, Director, ICAR-DGR sought their feedback on the opportunities and limitations in domestic and export markets to identify researchable issues that can strengthen the peanut value chain in India. Key issues from the feedback include –
For the confectionery and chocolate industry, high-oleic peanut is high priority and a high standard of genetic purity in seed and commodity value chain, and food safety are critical for businesses.
Unlike high-oleic peanuts that have longer shelf life owing to 10-times low oxidation of oleic acid compared to linoleic fatty acid, peanuts with normal oleic content quickly become rancid and have low shelf life. Contamination of high-oleic commodity even with a few kernels of peanuts with normal oleic content results in quality deterioration of the confectionary product.
The group identified the need for commercialization of more high-oleic varieties to cater to the specifications of various market segments in India, for example, large-seeded and high-oleic peanuts for the confectionery industry.
High-oleic peanut varieties with good blanchability and uniform kernel size (higher percent of Grade 1 and 2 kernels) were key traits needed by the processors that could be targeted in the Groundnut Product Profiles.
In her presentation on Global Scenario of High-oleic Peanuts, Dr Janila Pasupuleti, Principal Scientist from ICRISAT, emphasized on the need to have ‘high-oleic peanut seed production guidelines’. She noted that the use of cost-effective robust tools such as bench-top or portable Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS) is desirable. China, with about 30% of peanut area under high-oleic varieties, extensively uses portable NIRS in the seed production chain to ensure genetic purity. Her presentation was in line with the proceedings of the workshop on Seed Production Guidelines held in October under the chairpersonship of Dr K Yadav, Additional Director General (Seeds), ICAR that had participants from public seed producing agencies, State Agricultural Universities (SAUs), ICAR-DGR and ICRISAT.
It may be recalled that in response to the demand for high-oleic peanuts, ICRISAT in collaboration with ICAR-DGR and SAUs lead the development of high- oleic peanut cultivars, resulting in notification of first two high-oleic varieties, Girnar 4 (ICGV 15083) and Girnar 5 (ICGV 15090) in 2020.
Enhancing the capacities of all the stakeholders engaged along the high-oleic seed and commodity value chain was seen as critical for sustaining a high-oleic value chain in the country. The immense potential of high-oleic peanuts for processing renewed the interest of the domestic and export peanut industry in India.
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