A promising new variety belongs to Pisang Awak group similar to Karpuravalli banana. The production and productivity of the local Karpuravalli banana can be increased by planting the new variety Udhayam released by NRC Banana. The average yield is 37 kg. with a potential to yield upto 45 kg which is 40 per cent higher than local Karpuravalli. The plants are comparatively dwarf in stature with a duration of 15-16 months. It has cylindrical bunch with 13-15 hands and 15 - 20 fruits per hand. Fruits are elongated with 14 -16 cm in length and 10-13 cm in circumference. Suitable for long distance transportation and are less prone to fruit damage during transit. The fruits have high sugar content with 30 - 32oB and suitable for processing into value added products like figs, banana juice, wine etc. It is field tolerant to Sigatoka leaf spot and nematode incidence.
Mineral nutritional deficiencies and imbalances are emerging as major threats now-a-days in the Indian banana production scenario. Lack of awareness among the farmers about the importance of balanced fertilization has led to indiscriminate application of certain nutrients which has caused deficiency of micronutrients. In addition, non-availability of good quality organic manures is also one of the factors for poor soil health. Particularly, the micronutrients are very much neglected among the banana farming community in India and essentiality of micronutrients in banana production is gaining importance. Keeping this as a challenge, the National Research Centre for Banana, Trichy, Tamil Nadu under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi has focused its research programme on micronutrient requirements of banana. Based on the various research findings enunciated from different soils and locations, it has formulated a micronutrient mixture named Banana Shakti, in 2007. Now, this mixture has been widely accepted by the farmers in many banana growing regions like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and gained popularity among the banana farming community.
In banana and plantain cultivation, four major nematodes cause extensive damage to the root system there by affecting the uptake of water and nutrients from the soil. Due to that 30-40% yield loss has been reported. Indiscriminate use of nematicides has proved disastrous to the environment and human health. Hence, effective bio-control agents like Paecilomyces lilacinus, Pseudomonas fluorescens have been identified at NRC Banana for the management of major nematodes in banana. These bio-control agents are found to be very effective in controlling these nematodes and increasing the growth and yield of banana.
Banana weevil attack has been reported to interfere with root initiation, kill existing roots, limit nutrient uptake, reduce plant vigour, delay flowering and increase susceptibility to other pests and diseases. Yield reductions are caused by both plant loss (plant death, rhizome snapping, toppling) and lower bunch weights. Toppling, more commonly attributed to nematodes, has been observed under conditions of high weevil attack in the absence of nematodes. The NRCB isolate of Endophytic entomopathogenic (insect killing) fungus Beauveria bassiana can be prepared under farm house conditions. The conidiospores of Beauveria bassiana is prepared in a nutrient solution which helps the fungi to survive for a longer period and enhances the shelf life and sustains the conidiospores without any loss over a period of two years to control banana weevils (Banana corm weevil and Banana stem weevil) infesting on banana and plantains.
Bananas are affected by four major viruses such as Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV), Banana Streak Virus (BSV), Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) and Banana Bract Mosaic Virus (BBrMV). These viruses cause serious diseases and are a major constraint to banana tissue culture industry. In quality production of tissue culture banana plants, virus indexing plays a major role to ensure the plants are free from viruses.
Molecular Plant Virology lab, NRC for Banana, Tiruchirappalli has been Accredited for testing tissue culture raised plants for major virus diseases of banana as Accredited Test Laboratory (ATL) under National Certification System for Tissue Culture Raised Plants (NCS-TCP) by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), GOI .
Detection of four banana viruses by simplex, duplex and multiplex -PCR Lane M: 1Kb ladder Plus; Lane 1: BBTV (500bp) and BSV (480bp); Lane 2: BBrMV (300bp) and CMV (657bp); Lane 3: BBTV (500bp), BSV (480bp), BBrMV (300bp) and CMV (657bp); Lane 4: Negative control.
Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) and Banana Bract Mosaic Virus (BBrMV) cause serious losses in banana leading to reduction in productivity. Early detection of these two viral pathogens through ELISA based tools would pave a way for the production of healthy planting material through Tissue Culture.
Banana wilt disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense is one of the most important disease threats to banana production, causing disease incidence of 30% in main crop and upto 85% in ratoon crop. The disease is serious in Tamil Nadu,Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and Bihar states. Severe disease incidence has been noticed in cultivars like Rasthali (AAB), Karpuravalli (ABB), Monthan (Cooking bananas-ABB), Virupakshi (Hill banana AAB) and Neypoovan (AB).
A potential strain Trichoderma viride NRCB-1 isolated from Wayanad area of Kerala has the capacity to arrest the mycelial growth of the wilt pathogen. The strain can be multiplied either in rice chaffy grain or using dried banana leaves to a population of 6 X 1031cfu/g. The product can be stored under room temperature (30 deg. C) for 6 months.
India is the largest producer of banana in the world, contributing 25 per cent to the global production. During the market glut, the excess production of banana can be converted into value added byproduct flour that would form raw material for other value added products like Banana Baby food, Health drink and Soup mix which could fetch a premium price in the market. Moreover, male bud, a waste material can also be utilized as an ingredient in soup making, and it also has medicinal values. Banana flour prepared from matured fruits is fortified with milk, green gram and sugar for baby food preparation, while in health drink preparation, chocolate powder, barley powders and sugar are added with banana flour. Soup mix involves mixing of banana flour, corn flour, dried vegetable and spices in various proportions. The Baby food is suitable for growing children and the Health drink and Soup mix is for all age groups. The products can be stored up to six months.
The banana male bud is a waste material produced during crop production with less economic value. It is converted into a high value added product by making pickle (Thokku). The process involves removal of pistil, blanching, grinding and addition of spices and oil. The protocol and recipe was standardized. The product is tasty and stable for a year at room temperature. The technology can be adoptable to banana growing regions of the country. The product is suitable for all the age groups.
India is the largest producer of banana in the world, contributing 25 per cent to the global production. During the market glut, the excess production of banana can be converted into value added product to get more profit. Banana fig is a dehydrated fruit, prepared by artificially ripening the immature or matured unmarketable fruits of banana. Figs are prepared by peeling, disinfection and dehydration in hot air oven or solar dryer. The product is tasty, nutritious and stable up to 3 months at room temperature.
The figs are highly nutritious and helps in nutritional security by providing all the nutrients in banana fruits in concentrated form. It can be adopted by small and medium scale entrepreneurs/ industries and can create rural employment opportunities. It is ready made energy food suitable for children, sports persons, army personnel and mountaineers.
India is the largest producer of banana in the world, contributing 25 per cent to the global production. During the market glut, the excess production of banana can be converted into value added product. Banana is a pulpy fruit with high pectin content and difficult to convert into a clear beverage. To effect, a process was standardized for conversion of pulpy banana into a clarified juice through enzyme liquefaction and protocol for different beverages was developed. It can be adopted by food processing industries for commercial manufacture of banana beverage. When served chill it is a good thirst quencher and gives instant energy. It can provide good source of employment as well as back ward support to farmers by providing remunerative price to the raw material.