Staff Reporter

COIMBATORE: The Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, New Delhi, has sanctioned a project on palmyrah mass multiplication to Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU).

According to D. Veeraragavathatham, Dean (Horticulture), the project titled “Macro and Micro-propagation for Mass Multiplication in Selected High Neera Yielding Palmyrah Types of Different Palmyrah Growing Regions of India” will be handled by the university for three years.He said the species was ecologically and economically important for its tolerance to drought and salinity; besides it was valued for the highly nutritious neera and other edible by-products. With a wide range of genetic variability and vegetative propagation, it assumed importance for mass multiplication and clonal propagation with true-to-type nature.

V. Ponnuswami, Professor of Horticulture, will be the principal investigator. His team undertook a survey on palmyrah growing tracts of India and identified elite palms of dwarf stature with high neera yielding potential. These palms would be propagated and mass multiplied by vegetative means and tissue culture techniques.