Prospects of American Oil Palm (Elaeis oleifera, HBK) Germplasm and Interspecific Hybrids in India
Author:Murugesan P, Rethinam P, Masilamani P
Unlike African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis, Jacq.), American oil palm(Elaeis oleifera, HBK) has unique traits such as reduced height increment,palm oil with significantly high oleic acid, carotene and tocotrienols. However,a pure stand of oleifera is not cultivated and has inherent abnormalitiesin reproductive structures, which lead to poor fruit set. To overcomethese, oleifera is backcrossed to guineensis (O×G) through interspecifichybridization (IS). Genetic diversity studies indicated that there are fourgeographically distinct populations of a pure stand of oleifera distributed inBrazil, Peru, Central America/North Colombia, and Surinam/French Guiana.Oleifera germplasm has been collected from above natural palm grooves andconserved in the field gene banks of oil palm growing countries. AdvancedO×G hybrids were developed with a major breeding objective of improvingpalm oil quality and high-density planting. Some advanced O × G hybridsare reported to produce high oil yields close to that of tenera of African oilpalm. The interspecific hybrids namely, BRS Manicore, PS4, AA Hybrida IS,#S (& #D), Amazon, Taisha, Sinu-Coari × Coari from EMBRAPA (Brazil),Malaysian Palm Oil Board (Malaysia), Applied Agricultural Resources(Malaysia), Palmelite (Formerly CIRAD, France), Agricultural Servicesand Development (Costa Rica), Instituto Nacional de InvestigacionesAgropecuarias (INIAP), Ecuador and Peru, respectively are importantexamples for O×G hybrids. There are four oleifera accessions, namely,DOPR22, DOPR23, DOPR24, and DOPR25 available in India. Four geneticstocks viz., Palm no.45 of Surinam of DOPR22, Palm No.6 of DOPR23,Palm No 48 of DOPR23, and Palm No.6 of DOPR25 were developed forimprovement and introgression into Indian breeding programme. Oleiferagenetic resources and O×G hybrids have good prospects for achieving high oilquality, disease tolerance/resistance, and suitable for high-density planting.India has a very narrow genetic base, and there is an urgent need to collectnew materials from centers of origin by exploration and exchange throughunilateral and multilateral collaborative research programmes.
Key words : Elaeis oleifera, germplasm, interspecific hybrids, palm oil quality, India