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A field study conducted for two years (1995-96 and 1996-97) at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi on a sandy clay loam soil showed that the application of NP increased the total grain production of a rice-wheat-mungbean cropping system by 0.5-0.6 t ha -1 , NK by 0.3-0.5 t ha -1 and NPK by 0.8-0.9 t ha -1 compared to N alone, indicating that the balanced use of primary nutrients was more advantageous than their imbalanced application. The application of farmyard manure (FYM) along with NPK further increased the total productivity of the rice-wheat-mungbean cropping system by 0.3-0.6 t ha -1 , the organic C by 0.13%, the available N by 10.7 kg ha -1 , the available P by 4.7 kg ha -1 and the available K by 15 kg ha -1 compared to NPK after two crop cycles of the system. The results of the present study thus indicate that integrated nutrient management involving FYM and NPK fertilizers is a must for the sustainability of a cropping system.

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A greenhouse experiment was conducted to study the impact of premethanation (PREME) and postmethanation (POME) distillery effluent applied as pre-sowing irrigation (PSI) along with graded levels of inorganic fertilizers on the grain and straw yield and nutrient content of a rice crop (var. PR 116). Maximum grain yield (29.4 g pot −1 ) was recorded with the application of 100% recommended NPK along with one pre-sowing irrigation (PSI) through POME and the lowest yield (7.4 g pot −1 ) was obtained with 2 PSI applied through PREME without any inorganic fertilizers. The application of POME equivalent to 1 PSI was more effective in increasing the grain and straw yield of rice than no POME application or POME application equivalent to 2 PSI. A significant decrease in yield occurred with the application of 2 PSI of either effluent, and beyond 2 PSI the rice seedlings did not grow.In comparison to POME, the application of PREME increased the content of K (5%), Cu (10%), Fe (17%) and Mo (21%), but decreased that of P (12%), S (5%) and Mg (11%) in rice grain. In rice straw an increase was only observed in K (9%) and Mo (14%), while the contents of other nutrients (P, S, Zn, Cu, Mn) decreased by 8 to 21%. An increase in the level of effluent from 0 to 2 PSI significantly increased the content of N (by 21%), K (11%), S (10%), Zn (9%), Cu (21%) and Mo (8%), but decreased that of P (16%) and Mg (19%) in rice grain. In the case of rice straw, an increase in K (28%), S (32%), Cu (65%) and Mo (45%) content was recorded. Effluent application, inorganic fertilizers and their interactions had a significant effect on both the grain and straw yields and on the nutrient concentration in the plants.

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In the present investigation, expression of genes related to Na+ exclusion such as salt overly sensitive (TaSOS1) and Na+/H+ antiporter (TaNHX1) and proline accumulation such as pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase (P5CR) and glutamate synthase (GOGAT) was studied in seedlings of Kharchia 65 (Kh 65, salt tolerant) and HD 2009 (sensitive) under salt stress (ECe, 12 dSm–1) and controlled conditions. As compared to HD 2009, Kh 65 showed significantly lower accumulation of Na+ (p < 0.01) and higher accumulation of proline (p < 0.05) in leaf blade under salt stress. The relative expression of TaSOS1 increased significantly (p < 0.001) in roots of Kh 65 (4.31-fold) while it decreased in HD 2009. There was significantly higher (p < 0.01) relative expression of TaNHX1 (27.57-fold) in leaf and 3.07-fold in roots of Kh 65 as compared to 3.65- and 0.87-fold increase in leaf and roots of HD 2009, respectively, under salt stress. There was significantly (p < 0.05) higher accumulation of proline as compared to HD 2009 in leaf tissues. There was significantly higher (p < 0.01) expression of P5CR (5.23-fold in leaf and 8.77-fold in the root) and glutamate synthase (6.0- fold in roots) in Kh 65 as compared to HD 2009. The study demonstrated that upregulation of genes for Na+ exclusion in root and compartmentation in leaf and increased proline concentration are associated with tolerance to salinity stress in wheat. The information will be useful for improving wheat genotypes for salt tolerance.

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Effects of salinity on correlation, path and stress indices, yield and its components were studied in a set of 34 promising rice genotypes collected from various national and international organizations. These genotypes were evaluated in a randomized complete block design with three replications during the wet seasons (kharif) of 2009 and 2010 in normal (ECiw ∼ 1.2 dS/m) and salinity stress (ECiw ∼ 10 dS/m) environments in micro plots at Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), Karnal, India. Grain yield per plant showed positive significant association with plant height, total tillers, productive tillers, panicle length, and biological yield per plant and harvest index under normal environment, whereas grain yield showed positive significant association with biological yield and harvest index under salinity stress. These results clearly indicate that selection of high yielding genotypes would be entirely different under normal and saline environments. The stress susceptibility index (SSI) values for grain yield ranged from 0.35 (HKR 127) to 1.55 (TR-2000-008), whereas the stress tolerance index (STI) values for grain yield ranged from 0.07 (PR 118) to 1.09 (HKR 120). The genotypes HKR 120, HKR 47 and CSR-RIL-197 exhibited higher values of stress tolerance index (STI) in salinity. Under salinity, negative and significant association was shown by SSI and grain yield in contrast to positive and significant association shown by STI and grain yield. These associations could be useful in identifying salt tolerant and sensitive high yielding genotypes. The stress susceptible and stress tolerance indices suggest that the genotypes developed for salinity tolerance could exhibit higher tolerance, adaptability and suitability. Harvest index and biological yield traits emerged as the ideal traits for improvement through selection and could be used to increase the rice productivity under saline stress environments.

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Combining ability analysis in spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L. em. Thell) involving 10 diverse parents and their 45 F1 and F2 progenies indicated significant differences between the parents for GCA and between the crosses for SCA for all the characters studied. The GCA and SCA components of variance were significant for all the traits. However, the GCA component of variance was predominant, indicating the predominance of additive gene effects for the traits studied. Among the parents HD 2329, Raj 1972, HD 2285 and HD 2428 were the best general combiners for grain yield and average to high combiners for other important traits. The best specific crosses for grain yield were CPAN 3004 × Durgapura 65, Sonalika × HD 2329, Raj 3077 × CPAN 3004, Raj 3077 × HD 2428 and HD 2428 × WH 157.The parent Raj 1972 was the best general combiner for grain yield and protein content, while Raj 3077 and Lok-1 were the best general combiners for protein content. The most suitable specific crosses for protein content were HD 2329 x HD 2285, HD 2428 × Raj 1972 and CPAN 3004 × WH 157. Most of the specific crosses for grain yield and protein content involved high × average, average × average or average × poor general combiners. To ensure a further increase in grain yield along with high protein, combinations of desirable yield components are advocated. The exploitation of additive and non-additive gene actions through bi-parental mating and/or diallel selective mating systems are suggested for a tangible advance in grain yield coupled with high protein in spring wheat.

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A study was conducted during 2008–2010, to estimate heterosis for yield component traits and protein content in bread wheat under normal and heat-stress environment by utilizing a set of 45 half diallel cross combinations, involving 10 diverse parents. Analysis of variance revealed significant differences for the two environements, whereas differences over the years were non-significant for all the traits. The pooled data over the years, exhibited highly significant differences for all the traits under both normal and heat-stress environments. The number of tillers/plant exhibited maximum degree of standard heterosis under normal and heat-stress environment (with value of 12.62% and 53.75%), respectively. In general, spike length (16.02%) and number of grains/spike (52.10%), showed higher magnitude of standard heterosis under normal environment than heat-stress environment, whereas number of tillers/plant (53.75%) and gain filling duration (43.68%) showed higher standard heterosis in heat-stress environment than the normal one. For grain yield/plant, 1000-grain weight and protein content, the number of cross combination showing standard heterosis were almost same in both the environments. The ten crosses, out of forty-five crosses, namely HD 2733/WH 542; PBW 343/UP 2425; HD 2687/PBW 343; PBW 343/UP 2382; PBW 343/HD 2285; WH 542/UP 2425; PBW 343/PBW 226; UP 2382/HUW 468; PBW 343/WH 542 and PBW 226/HD 2285 can be used to select transgressive segregants for normal as well warmer wheat growing areas. These ten combinations can be used by involving, the trait grain filling duration, tillers per plant, spike length, grains per spike, 1000-grain weight to improve grain yield for warmer areas. In all 45 cross combinations, six cross combinations were identified for better per se performance for grain yield as well as protein content under heat-stress environment. These combinations may thus be used for developing superior genotypes through fixation of heterosis are also supported by high SCA. Besides, results of present study also revealed ample scope for developing transgressive segregants involving some of these parents to develop high yielding genotypes in wheat suitable for heat stress environments.

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Cereal Research Communications
Authors: S. L. Krishnamurthy, S. K. Sharma, D. K. Sharma, P. C. Sharma, Y. P. Singh, V. K. Mishra, D. Burman, B. Maji, B. K. Bandyopadhyay, S. Mandal, S. K. Sarangi, R. K. Gautam, P. K. Singh, K. K. Manohara, B. C. Marandi, D. P. Singh, G. Padmavathi, P. B. Vanve, K. D. Patil, S. Thirumeni, O. P. Verma, A. H. Khan, S. Tiwari, M. Shakila, A. M. Ismail, G. B. Gregorio, and R. K. Singh

Genotype × environment (G × E) interaction effects are of special interest for identifying the most suitable genotypes with respect to target environments, representative locations and other specific stresses. Twenty-two advanced breeding lines contributed by the national partners of the Salinity Tolerance Breeding Network (STBN) along with four checks were evaluated across 12 different salt affected sites comprising five coastal saline and seven alkaline environments in India. The study was conducted to assess the G × E interaction and stability of advanced breeding lines for yield and yield components using additive main effects and multiplicative interaction (AMMI) model. In the AMMI1 biplot, there were two mega-environments (ME) includes ME-A as CARI, KARAIKAL, TRICHY and NDUAT with winning genotype CSR 2K 262; and ME-B as KARSO, LUCKN, KARSA, GOA, CRRI, DRR, BIHAR and PANVE with winning genotypes CSR 36. Genotypes CSR 2K 262, CSR 27, NDRK 11-4, NDRK 11-3, NDRK 11-2, CSR 2K 255 and PNL 1-1-1-6-7-1 were identified as specifically adapted to favorable locations. The stability and adaptability of AMMI indicated that the best yielding genotypes were CSR 2K 262 for both coastal saline and alkaline environments and CSR 36 for alkaline environment. CARI and PANVEL were found as the most discernible environments for genotypic performance because of the greatest GE interaction. The genotype CSR 36 is specifically adapted to coastal saline environments GOA, KARSO, DRR, CRRI and BIHAR and while genotype CSR 2K 262 adapted to alkaline environments LUCKN, NDUAT, TRICH and KARAI. Use of most adapted lines could be used directly as varieties. Using them as donors for wide or specific adaptability with selection in the target environment offers the best opportunity for widening the genetic base of coastal salinity and alkalinity stress tolerance and development of adapted genotypes. Highly stable genotypes can improve the rice productivity in salt-affected areas and ensure livelihood of the resource poor farming communities.

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The introduction of new crop varieties is important to improve farm productivity and increase food security in developing countries. This study was conducted to determine the performance of improved varieties of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), rice (Oryza sativa L.), mungbean [(Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek] and potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) in comparison to local varieties through farmers’ participatory evaluation. The study was conducted during three years (2006 to 2008) with 948 farmers’ participatory field trials across 18 districts in three Eastern provinces (Nangarhar, Laghman and Kunar) of Afghanistan. One or more improved varieties of wheat, rice, mungbean and potato were compared to the most popular local variety. Data were recorded on the grain yield of wheat, rice and mungbean, and the tuber yield of potato. On average, the improved varieties outyielded local varieties by 69, 57, 70 and 65% for wheat, rice, mungbean, and potato, respectively. Economic analysis in terms of net benefit demonstrated that the adoption of improved varieties resulted in additional incomes of US$ 1840, 1299, 574 and 790 ha-1 for wheat, rice, mungbean and potato, respectively. These findings underline the importance of on-farm farmers’ participatory technology evaluation in developing countries to disseminate new crop varieties to improve farm productivity.

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