Generally the flowers lose their value if they get spoilt either due to rain or delay in harvest. But the new variety of marigold developed by the Hessarghatta-based Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) are of value even if they get spoilt after full bloom as they can be used for extraction of crude carotene.
“All marigolds have carotene content that ranges up to a maximum of 1.4%. However, the Arka Shubha variety of marigold has high carotene content of 2.8% which is the highest content from plant source,” said Dr. Tejaswini P., principal scientist in the IIHR’s Division of Floriculture and Medicinal Plants, who led the team of scientists that developed this variety.
These flowers could be sold for ornamental purpose too like other marigold varieties. But there is also an option of using them for extracting crude carotene, she pointed out. As carotene is mainly used in pharmaceutical sector, there is always a high demand for it. Presently, India imports most of its carotene from other countries, including China. Dr. Tejaswini suggested that farmers consider this variety purely for extraction of carotene. However, it is better to take up the venture through farmers’ groups as it needed a large area for cultivation and investments on extraction, she pointed out. This also provides scope for exports, she said.
Arka Shubha variety is used in the poultry sector. Its petals could be used as poultry feed to get quality yolk, she said.