Tobacco Research in India: Trends and Developments
Received Date: Jun 20, 2013 / Accepted Date: Sep 26, 2013 / Published Date: Oct 03, 2013
Tobacco is a leading commercial crop valued for its leaf containing several important phyto-chemicals including nicotine. Conventionally, tobacco is used in the manufacture of cigarettes, bidis, scented chewing mixtures, cigars, cheroots, zarda, hookah, hookah tobacco paste, snuff, gutka, quiwam etc. Tobacco research in India, aimed at improving tobacco plant for higher leaf biomass with desirable leaf quality suitable for its conventional uses of smoking, chewing and snuffing. As a result of sustained research efforts, the productivity potential of tobacco increased to 3.0 t/ha in FCV and 4.0 t/ha in non-FCV with commensurate leaf quality so as to meet trade preferences. In view of the perceived health hazards associated with the traditional form of tobacco consumption, research efforts are intensified towards exploiting tobacco for its non-conventional and economically viable alternative uses.
The research work done in this direction brought out tremendous scope for exploiting the crop for extraction of many valuable phytochemicals. Tobacco is an excellent source of phytochemicals viz. nicotine, solanesol, seed oil, edible proteins (green leaf) and organic acids (malic and citric) having pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial uses. Realizing the potential of tobacco for its alternative uses, research priorities are fine tuned towards increasing the seed/seed oil content and concentration of various phytochemicals in the tobacco plant, development of efficient methods for the extraction of phyto-chemicals, studying the suitability of seed oil for human consumption etc. Tobacco plants can also be used for molecular farming of important biomolecules viz., antibiotics, vaccines, cancer treating, other medicines, blood substitutes, biodegradable plastics, industrial enzymes and solvents through genetic engineering.
Developing economically viable and eco-friendly agro-technologies for enhancing productivity & quality, reducing harmful substances and developing value-added products from tobacco are the key issues, requiring innovative scientific interventions. In view of the apprehensions about tobacco use, there is a need to exploit the tobacco crop for alternative uses through policy initiatives, re-orientation of research efforts and forging effective collaboration with the industry.
Keywords: Tobacco; Research; Alternative uses; R&D approaches
Citation: Sarala K, Murthy TGK, Prabhakara Rao K, Ravisankar H (2013) Tobacco Research in India: Trends and Developments. Agrotechnol 2: 113. Doi: 10.4172/2168-9881.1000113
Copyright: ©2013 Sarala K, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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