Central Institute for Arid Horticulture, India
Title: Assessment of morphological diversity in Ber (Zizyphus mauritiana Lamk.)
Hare Krishna completed his PhD from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. He has got an outstanding academic career. With his experience and vision, he contributed significantly to address the major obstacles of commercial micropropagation. In his initial years of career, so far he has published research papers in more than 10 international and 20 national journals. Recently, he has submitted the draft DUS descriptor for Indian jujube (Ziziphus mauritiana), which would be first such descriptor in world in line with the UPOV guidelines. Besides, he serves an editorial board member of repute.
Ber (Zizyphus mauritiana Lamk.) is a multipurpose tree fruit crop of the hot arid regions, which holds high economic value in terms of nutritious fruits, medicinal properties, and fodder for the cattle. A large number of varieties of ber are being grown in different parts of the country. However, there is a considerable confusion in ber cultivars nomenclature as they have unique local names and name variants. In addition, information on genetic diversity of plants is vital, from the perspective of breeding, for efficient choice of parents for hybridization. At Central Institute for Arid Horticulture, Bikaner the morphological diversity in ber has been noticed for growth habit; foliage characteristics such as leaf apex and base, leaf size, leaf curving, leaf shape, leaf pubescence and thorn characteristics like thorniness and thorn shape. Likewise, variation had also been noted in fruit characteristics such as presence or absence of anthocyanin blush on immature fruits, fruit surface, fruit apex, fruit shape, fruit size, fruit weight, mature fruit colour, pulp texture, pulp cavity, stone apex, stone shape, stone size, stone weight, pulp: stone ration and quality attributes such as soluble solid contents, acidity and ascorbic acid contents in as many as 314 varieties available in germplasm block. This study would help identification & characterization of ber varieties and elucidation of their morphological relationships based on the mentioned traits following the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) guidelines. In the future this data may be used for the purpose of registration.