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Sugarcane Improvement Through Tissue Culture Technology

Sugarcane is one of the most important cash crop of Pakistan. Our entire sugar need and multibillion-sugar industry is solely dependent on the fate of this crop. Although Pakistan is the fifth largest sugarcane growing country of the world but our per acre yield of this crop is lowest all over the world. Average production of sugarcane in different countries of the world is about 800 -1000 mound per acre while in Pakistan it is only 458 mound per acre which is the real cause of the high cost of production. There are many reasons for that but the most important one is non availability of disease free elite stock for seeding.

 A significant part of the crop is lost each year due to different diseases caused by virus, bacteria and fungi. It is estimated that different diseases of sugarcane can cause 10-77% decrease in the production of sugarcane.


 Similarly seed cutting and seed handling methods of our farmers is also the main source of regular transmission of infection in plants. Lack of advanced technologies in sugarcane propagation and lack of multiplication procedure has long been a serious problem in sugarcane breeding program. Usually, after 10 to 15 years of work to complete a selection cycle, an improved variety can be planted commercially several years later, when enough seed canes will have been produced.

Therefore there is a dire need to introduce modern technologies along with conventional agricultural practices in order to uplift our agricultural system. Introduction of new and innovative technologies like tissue culture in plant propagation has opened tremendous opportunities to develop the healthy, disease free and vigorous planting material.

Keeping in view the importance and spectacular applications of plant tissue culture, AgriBiotech has established a state of art plant tissue culture laboratory for cloning of sugarcane.

Agri Buotech is a multi disciplinary orgnisation set up by a fine blend of professionals and technocrats well versed with practical application of agriculture biotechnologies and its future potentialities in development of agriculture as an industry

In sugarcane after a long pursuance and hectic experimentation we successfully developed protocols for tissue culture propagation of almost all the popular sugarcane varieties in Pakistan . tissue cultured plants are available from September 2001. Monno seeds are the authorized distributor of AgriBiotech,s tissue cultured sugarcane .this seed will be available at all the sale points of Monno seeds. The Prospective growers are requested to register their demand at Monno seeds By July 2001

Tissue culture:

Tissue culture is the cloning of plants from mother plant. Tissues from mother plant are taken out and grown in nutrient media following the protocol. A protocol for a particular variety is a detailed procedure to multiply it. Development of protocol is an iterative and research oriented process. The process involves selection of a mother plant, developing the mother plant into plantlets under controlled conditions, development of roots of these plantlets
and finally hardening the plant in the greenhouse.

Major Advantages of Tissue culture Seed:

1. Plants are vigorous, healthy, disease free and of a premium quality.

2. Yield increases from 50 - 100 % depending upon environmental conditions.

3. Sugar recovery increase by 1 - 2 %

4. Four ratoon crops can be achieved successfully.

5. Seed sets germination is almost 100% which reduces the seed requirement to (one third).

6. Vigorous growth tendency due to profuse root system development which normally results healthy growth and no lodging.

7. Average tillerage observed was 20 - 40 tillers per plant

8. Reduce lodging which will also decrease the infestation of insects and pests.

9. Lower production cost due to high sugar and cane yield per unit area.

10. Vigorous growth and development results greater disease resistance.

11. Availability of high quality vigorous and |. disease free seed at affordable price round the year.

12 Every bud sprouts at least thrice

Available Sugarcane Tissue Cultured Varieties:

1.   CP-43-33
2.   CP- 77-400
3.   CP 81-1435
4.   ABT super
5.   BF - 162
6.   SPSG - 26
7.   SPF - 234
8.   BL - 4
9.   T - 10

Preparation of commercial seed:

Zero Generation Seed :

Mericlones are multiplied only with contract growing arrangements to closely monitor the quality and standard of seed.

 First Generation Seed:

Seed developed from mericlones is considered as first generation seed.

Seed Cutting:

This seed is developed through aseptic mechanical cutter to avoid the possibility of infestation of disease and re-infection.

 Seed Treatment:

Cuts seeds are treated with plant protection material and growth promoter to get the highest and earliest germination.

 Seed Packing:

Treated seeds are properly packed.

Land Preparation for Sugarcane Cultivation:

Sugarcane remains in the field for about 2 to 3 years due to the practice of raising one to two ratoon crops. Therefore a thorough soil preparation once in 3 to 3 years is essential. About 45 cm depth of the soil should be well prepared because about 75% of the sugarcane root system is present at this soil layer. An ideal soil condition is that where there is 50% soil particles (45% mineral matter and 5 % organic matter), 25 % air and 25 % water,

Land preparation for sugarcane starts with the preceeding crop residues If the remains of previous crop are there in the field rotavator is used so that the stubble get incorporated with the soil. Then the field is left for 8-10 days in for

Then cross ploughing is done which may be followed by harrowing. Before last ploughing farm Yard Manure or 3 10 tonnes of pressmud ( according to soil conditions) per acre may be applied. Use of organic matter is very important because beside providing plant nutrients organic matter helps in improving soil structure, water holding capacity and microbial activity. They also help in the release of some of the plant nutrients such as phosphorous and micronutrients. Lastly ridges are formed with tractor at the distance of 3.5 feet.( lane to lane distance should be 3.5 feet)

Recommended planting Pattern:

Ridges and furrow method is more useful for sugarcane planting. In this system first basal manure (Phospahte fertilizer) is placed in the furrow bottom and mixed slightly with the soil, The treated setre are placed at the distance of 3 feet from each other. Then the setts are covered with soil and irrigated.


Sugarcane is long duration crop and requires large quantity of water. It is mostly grown as an irrigated crop. A 12
month crop receives about 16 to 20 irrigations For good yield in sugarcane availability of adequate amount of water
is extremely important. Shortage of water adversely effect growth, size and weight of sugarcane. The water demand varies according to climatic conditions, temperature and rain fall.. According to our environmental conditions usually in April 12 -14 days interval is recommended for sugarcane irrigation. In May and June 10 days interval, in July and August 12 -15 days and in September and October 15- 20 days interval is ideal. While in November, December, January and February only one irrigation per month is advisable.

Fertilizer Application

Soil Type  Urea + DAP OR Urea + SSP & Potash
  (Bags per Acre)   (Bags per Acre)     (Bags per Acre)
Weak  4 + 2 OR 5 + 5 & 2
Weak 3 + 2 OR 5 + 4 & 1
Weak 2 + 1 OR 2.5 + 2.5 & 1

Basal: Full phosphorous and potash applied in the furrow bottom  before Sowing Planting right below the root zone.

At 30 days: 1/3 N + applied as band placement, close to the rows And partially earthen up.

After 60 days: 1/3 N applied to the base and slightly earthen up.

After 90 days: 1/3 N applied to the base and fully earthen up given.

Each manuring should be done after weeding and manuring should be followed by irrigation. Ratoon crop needs 25 % more fertilizer.

Pre Harvest Fertilizer :

To obtain healthy setts with more moisture, more reducing sugars and with higher nutrient content prefertilizing the nursery crop about 6 to 8 weeks prior to harvest is suggested. A dosage of 25 kg N: 10 kg P : 10 kg K per acre
may be applied.

For Further Information Contact:

Dr Fayyaz Ahmad Siddiqui
Chief executive, AgriBiotech, 14-Km Multan Road Lahore, Pakistan
Ph# 7511506, 0300-8440216 Fax # 7511844


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