Research Achievements 2015-16

  1. A. Genetic Resources
  2. B. Cultivar Development
  3. C. Biotechnology
  4. D. Seed Science
  5. E. Crop Health
  6. F. Crop production
  7. G. Bio-chemistry
  8. H. Basic Research
  9. I. Value-addition and Commercialization
  10. J. Extension Research
  11. K. Institutional Services


Genetic Resources
A total of 112 accessions involving Sorghum (43 acc.), Pearl millet (6), Finger millet (13), Foxtail millet (22), Barnyard millet (23), Kodo millet (3), Little millet (1) and Proso millet (1) were collected from the north-western part of Maharashtra. Additionally, 5244 accessions of sorghum were augmented from NBPGR, New Delhi. Around 5000 sorghum germplasm lines in two sets of 2500 lines were evaluated. About 160 foxtail millet and 175 Kodo millet accessions including some released varieties and core collection accessions were characterized for grain yield and related traits. Two CMS lines namely SL19A/B (as IC0612155/IC0621156) and CMS 29A/B (as IC0612157/IC0612158) were registered with PGRC, NBPGR, New Delhi.

B. Cultivar Development Sorghum

1. Grain sorghum- Kharif

Varietal development: The genotype PVT5-15 was the highest yielder with 4177kg/ha which is more than 10% improvement over the check, CSV27 (3751 kg/ha). PVT9-15 and PVT10-15 recorded more than 5% increase in grain yield over CSV27. IIMR1464 and IIMR1463 out yielded the best check, CSV27. Seven advance lines had grain yield advantage of 9-51% over CSV20.

Hybrid development: Three hybrids, 1111A x CB43, 2714A x CB11 AND 4114A x CB11 recorded 20% increase in grain yield over the check, CSH 25. The hybrids 4114A x CB11 (GMS-5.25 score) and 2414A x CB11 (GMS-5.5) exhibited better grain mold tolerance than CSH 25 (GMS-7 score).

Parental lines: R lines, DSR-14-R15, DSR-14-R4, DSR-14-R23, DSR-14-R30, DSR-14-R24, DSR-14-R25 and DSR-14-R28 performed better than the best check, CSV20.Three B lines, viz., DSR-14-B3, DSR-14-B6 and DSR-14-B11 were statistically on par with the resistant check, IS18551 in terms of shoot fly dead heart percentage.


2. Grain sorghum-Rabi
Varietal development:
Thirty-one promising genotypes (12 in shallow-medium and 19 in deep soils) with significant superior over checks M35-1/Maulee and CSV22 were identified. Based on their grain, fodder yields, grain quality and resistance to insect-pests and diseases, SLV-34, 40, 43, 50, 73, 91, 97, 100, 101, 111, 123 and 135 were identified for shallow-medium soils while SLV-90, 98, 101, 109, 111, 132, 133, 135, 151, 106, 123, 130, 131, 134, 80, 100, 102, 116 and 145 were promising for deep soils.
Hybrid development: The hybrids SPH1741 and SPH1742 were consistently superior by 10.59% and 9.47% for grain yield and were also superior for fodder yield by 7.39% and 6.62% over the check, CSH15R. The new hybrids mature in about 115 days.
Parental lines: Twelve new CMS lines (SLA9, 19, 29, 35, 45, 46, 56, 59, 60, 73, 82, and 150) better than the 104A in respect of grain quality with resistance to insect-pests and diseases have been stabilized. Selected R lines were SLR13, 31, 57, 67, 68, 70, 82, 84, 87, 92, 136, 137 and 143.

3. Sweet sorghum
The sweet sorghum hybrids ICSA 38 x [(RSCN 2103 x SSV84)-2-1]-1 and IMS9A x [(RSCN2103 x SSV84)-2-1]-1 recorded the highest fresh biomass of 80 t/ha and 78 t/ha respectively and exhibited significant superiority of more than 40% over the check CSH22 SS. The varieties [(SSV84 x (SPV 462 x IS21891)-3-1-1)]-1-1 recorded the highest fresh biomass of 91 t/ha and was 18% superior to the check CSV24 SS. Of the 18 bmr sorghum derivatives evaluated, derivatives (SSV84 x EC582508)-2-1, BM15NP-28 and [{BN111 x (CSV15 x IS 21891)-6-7-1}-1-1-2]-1 manifested highest fresh biomass of 76 t/ha, 73 t/ha and 64 t/ha with significant superiority of 116%, 110% and 83 % over the check SPV2018 (35 t/ha).

Pearl Millet
Hybrid development:
Fifty eight hybrids were evaluated. The hybrids 97111A x R13, 02555A × R13, 03999A × R13, 03999A × R3 and 02555A × R20 flowered early (43-49 days) and were on par with the best early maturing checks RHB177 (43 days) and HHB67 (48 days). Hybrids 02555A × R13, 02555A × R30 and 11222A × R23, 04999A x R22 and 10222A x 07222R recorded high grain yield (5-6 t/ha) were on par with the best performing check 86M86 with a grain yield of 7.1 t/ha. Hybrid 97111A x 13666R had high number of productive tillers (9) and 03333A x R13, 10222A x 07222R had a good grain size of 5.3 to 5.8 g/500 grains.

Finger Millet
Of the 16 genotypes of finger millet evaluated for their grain yield and other agronomic traits, three genotypes E&M5 (4.61kg/plot), E&M10 (4.08kg/plot) and E&M7 (4.04 kg/plot) recorded highest grain yield. The genotypes E&M4 (50.67 d) followed by E&M6 (56.6 d) were earliest to flower. Of the 118 germplasm lines evaluated for yield and related traits, IE6165, IE3133, IE4795, IE6322 and IE3470 were promising and are useful in hybridization programme.

  1. C. Biotechnology


Genetic mapping of Rf locus: Fertility restoration locus, Rf2, was fine mapped involving two F2 populations (296A x RS29 and 296A x DSV1) between newly developed SSR markers to a region delimited to 3.633 kb region on chromosome 2. The Rf2 locus was tightly linked with two new SSRs, MS-SB02-3460 (0.14 cM) and MS-SB02-37912 (0.37cM) on both sides and hosted only one gene Sobic.002G057050 of PPR gene family. The marker, MS-SB02-37912 forms the part of PPR gene and could act as a perfect marker in marker-assisted breeding for fertility restoration involving Rf2 in sorghum breeding.

Mapping population development: Two F7 recombinant inbred line (RIL) mapping populations (SPV1758 × EA10 - contrasting for Cyanogen, Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity, Trypsin Inhibitor; IS8525 × POP52 - contrasting for Phytate, Polyphenol, Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity) were developed for identifying QTL/genes controlling the expression of these anti-nutritional factors.

Association mapping: A sorghum association panel of 200 accessions (including landraces, germplasm lines, popular cultivars and parental lines) with substantial genetic diversity for grain protein, grain iron and zinc was evaluated. Analysis for grain protein content revealed grain protein content was in the range of 8 (CSV18)-18% (ERS32). Forty-eight SSRs distributed uniformly across the sorghum genome were used for genotyping. Ten candidate genes of rice, barley, wheat and maize with > 85% homology with sorghum genome were selected and primers were designed for use in candidate gene-based association mapping.
Stay green QTL introgression: Foreground selection in BC3F1s was completed with 15 stay green QTL linked markers and 26 BC4F1s of CRS4 and 33 BC4F1s of RSLG262 were developed.

Finger Millet

Expressed sequence tag (EST) sequences of defense related genes of finger millet and rice were downloaded from NCBI. Primers were designed for the following genes: (i) pathogenesis-related proteins; PR1a, PR1b and PR4 (chitinase), (ii) anti-oxidant enzyme genes; Cu-Zn Superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase, glutathione peroxidase, class III peroxidase and lipoxygenase and (iii) chalcone synthase gene involved in cell wall fortification during infection along with the house keeping gene, actin, from finger millet. The amplification of the primers was confirmed in DNA of variety, GPU67 and germplasm line, IE2911 of finger millet.


  1. D. Seed Science

Synchronization of parental lines

The Synchronization studies indicated that the CMS parent 104A was late by 3 days for 50% flowering than male parents SLR84, SLR92 and RS585 of hybrids SPH1741, SPH1742 and CSH15R respectively. Staggered sowing in all hybrids and N-supplementation in two hybrids (SPH1741 and SPH 1742) could reduce the gap in flowering time much better between two parents.

  1. E. Crop Health

Pest management

Shoot fly resistance: The range of shoot fly dead hearts was 36.7 to 88.1% among the breeding lines. The entries 296B x IS 18551, PBMR3, PBMR7, PBMR8, BMR23375, BMR23150, DSRBMR1 (BMR lines) and (RS4007 x IS3691)-1-1-1-1, (279B x11B2)-ab5 pl 1-1-1-1, (11B2 x RS2309-1B2)-1-1-1-1, (ICSB51 X 11B2)-2-1-1-1-1 from R lines recorded lower dead hearts (<45%) and were on par with resistant check IS18551(38-44%) dead hearts. Chittapur Local, EP33, PS54, PS164, PS219, RSSV9, NRCSFR09-3, GMR309, BS8586, and ICSV700, ICSV93046, IC2123, IS2146 were on par with IS18551.

Sugarcane aphid: Aphids population ranged from 16.9 to 96.3 aphids/cm2/leaf with an average of 35.9 aphids/cm2/leaf. Long SPS43 and SLR37 were on par with resistant check TAM428. Genotypes, SLB81, KR191, Long SPS43 and SLR37 recorded lowest damage rating (< 3.5) against the susceptible check C43 (7.27).

Sorghum seed weevil: Highest weevil mortality was recorded in the sorghum germplasm, IS920 whereas least mortality was noticed in IS120. Highest and least seed damage and weight loss were observed in IS3006, and IS920 and IS253 respectively. The highest inhibition of α- amylase was recorded for IS920 and lowest for IS120.

Entomo-fungal formulations : formulations of Metarhizium, Ma35, M36 and M52 were effective against the spotted stem borer, causing 48.6 %, 51.4 %  reduction  in deadhearts and stem tunneling over the untreated control, and  the results were on par with whorl application of carbofuran3G @ 8kg/ha.

  1. Disease management

Pokkah boeng: For the first time, it was demonstrated that artificial inoculation of sorghum plants with virulent isolate of Fusarium subglutinans at 30 DAE by stem injection technique could produce high amount of disease under field conditions. This technique could be utilized for screening genotypes for pokkah boeng resistance.


  1. F. Crop production

 Crop Management

Summer Sorghum cultivation: kharif hybrids CSH14 and CSH16 produced more than 7.0 tons grain per hectare and were significantly superior to all other sorghum cultivars. Kharif varieties CSV17 (4.6 tons/ha) and CSV27 (4.4 tons/ha) produced double the grain yield over rabi cultivars Phule Revati (2.0 tons) and Phule Anuradha (2.2 tons).  The green fodder yield among the sorghum cultivars ranged from 34 tons in CSV17 to 123 tons per hectare in CSH13.

Finger millet cultivars: Grain yield of finger millet ranged from 1.6 to 3.3 tons ha-1, while the fodder yield ranged from 9 to 14 tons ha-1. VL352 yielded the highest grain yield of more than 3 tons ha-1, while PR202 yielded the highest fodder yield of nearly 14 tons ha-1. A high harvest index of 26% in VL352 contributed to higher grain yield.

  1. Crop Physiology

Pre- and post-flowering stresses in kharif

Positive relationship between leaf area index at soft-dough stage and total biomass at maturity (r=0.695**, 0.562*, under dry land and irrigated conditions respectively) was observed.  Pre-and post-flowering drought stress increased the specific leaf weight by 18.0% over irrigated.  Genotypes Indore12, 2077B, C43, and CS3541 showed significant increase (44-128%) in specific leaf weight than others.  Germplasm lines, IS23579, IS4698, SPSSV30, IS9108, IS9113, and IS29187 have maintained higher visual stay green rating (4.0-4.63) under drought stress and were on par with check B35 (4.23). SPV1671 (CRS4), CSH30, SPV462, CSV17, and Indore12 showed lower membrane injury under moisture stress and non-stress conditions and genotypes 27B, CSH 30, CS3541, and SPV 1671 showed stability in per day grain production across stress and non-stress conditions. Key  selectable, and reliable traits to be used for screening germplasm and parents for pre-and post-flowering drought and heat stress include higher stay green, specific leaf weight, relative water content, membrane stability index, total chlorophyll content, grain number m-2, per day grain productivity and drought susceptibility index.

Post-flowering stresses in rabi

Drought tolerance

Thirty-two genotypes were evaluated in lysimeter for the key physiological drought adaptive traits. For Pattern of water use, water extraction in pre-anthesis period was negatively correlated to the water extracted in the post-anthesis period under both well watered and water stressed conditions. The genotypes like IC392140, IC 343586, CRS 20 and Phule Maulee recorded highest ability to extract the water from the soil profile. Similarly, for transpiration efficiency, a two-fold variations (3.5 to 7.7 g kg-1 water transpired) in transpiration efficiency indicate that there is large scope for improving the TE of rabi sorghum to adapt to water scarcity during the post-flowering growth period. The genotypes which recorded the higher TE under the WS conditions are Phule chitra, CRS20, IC392140, Phule maule, Phule suchitra and IC343586.

Salinity tolerance

The range of decrease in biomass productions under salinity was from 27 to 62%. Genotypes DHBM4, SSV74, SSV27, N610 and ICSSH86 showed least decrease. Brix content was increased in 15 genotypes under salinity with a magnitude of 0.33% to 19.4%. Genotypes (NSSV258 x DSSV 13)-3-1-2-1 and DHBM4 were promising. No relationship between proportion of biomass production and proportion of brix content under salinity was observed.

  1. G. Bio-chemistry

Sweet sorghum

Biomass, green cane was higher in sweet sorghum genotypes than in forage genotypes. The variation of mean biomass in kharif was 29.67 (boot leaf) to 25.28 (maturity), in rabi 30.99 (boot leaf) to 23.61 (maturity) and in summer 39.95 (boot leaf) to 32.85 (maturity). At boot leaf stage, during kharif and rabi seasons, maximum biomass and green cane was obtained in SSV74 but in summer Urja recorded highest biomass and green cane. Juice volume and extraction observed to be higher in sweet sorghum genotypes. At boot leaf stage, CSH22SS, SSV74 and Urja recorded maximum juice yield during kharif (24.63), rabi (14.85) and summer (21.08) respectively. At boot leaf stage, Urja, CSV19SS, CSH 22SS recorded maximum percent juice extraction during kharif (65.98), rabi (58.53) and summer (51.17) respectively.

Juice fermentation

Among the strains tested for fermentation efficiency and maximum ethanol yield from sweet sorghum juice, S. pombe var. pombe strain MTCC 2665 (0.432), S. cerevisiae strain IARI (0.426) and K. marxianus var. marxianus MTCC 1389(0.411) showed highest ethanol yield (in g/g consumed sugar). S. pombe MTCC 2665 and S. cerevisiae strain IARI showed highest fermentation efficiency (84.6 % and 83.3 % respectively) over the other strains. The organism Kluveromyces marxianus has produced maximum biomass and used the sugars for its growth.

Fatty acid profiles

Fatty acid profiles in sorghum and pearl millet grains assessed. Wide variation in the fatty acid composition observed. Sorghum is having Nervonic acid content of 0.2 to 1.0 % in different germplasm lines while it is absent or negligible in pearl millet. Nervonic acid is an important fatty acid required for myelin growth in nervous system. In pearl millet, it was found that floor contains 45-48 % of Linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid with a potential for easy oxidation and development of rancidity.
Grain micronutrient

Though sorghum grains are considered as nutritionally superior compared to fine cereals, the precise information on the contents of grain micronutrients like Iron, copper, zinc and manganese and trace elements like Selenium is lacking. The iron content in the tested sorghum genotypes varied from 14 to 76 mg/kg and zinc from 12 to 40 mg/kg. Grain iron and zinc content was high in CSV15, CSV17, CSV20, CSV18R, CSV22R, PVK801 and Phule Revati among the varieties, and CSH16, CSH23 and CSH30 among the hybrids. Among the parental lines CB11, RS585, C43 and 415B had higher grain iron and zinc content.

  1. H. Basic Research

 Inter-specific hybridization: Inter-specific hybrids of Sorghum bicolor with S.hewisonii, S.versicolor, S. purpureosericeum, S. australiense and S.usumberance species were obtained through intervention of pollen treatment during pollination.

Shoot fly Mutants: Evaluation of the sorghum mutants over multi-locations for their reaction to shoot fly insect indicated that the performance of the mutants (SFM-49, SFM-93, SFM-19, SFM-33, SFM-8 and SFM-41; DH <25%) were better over the control, IS18551 (DH=39%) for seedling vigour, glossiness, oviposition, and dead hearts. Three mutant lines (SFM-45, SFM-68 and SFM-85) were susceptible than the check IS18551.

Chlorophyll mutant: Chloroplast variegated mutant of M35-1 developed. The line is useful in understanding the genes involved in chloroplast biogenesis.

Bloomless mutant: In order to understand the role of epicuticular wax in sorghum, chemical mutation was induced in M35-1. Of the several mutants obtained, some plants were devoid of epicuticular wax load (bloomless) on their leaf and culm surface.  The lines are useful in understanding the genetics of bloom (epicuticular wax) synthesis and genes involved in wax biosynthesis.

Albino mutant: RIL progeny heterozygous for albino gene locus developed. The inhertitance indicates monogenic control of albino phenotype.

  1. I. Value-addition and Commercialization

Sorghum biscuits: CSH13R and M35-1 were the best suitable cultivars for the development of composite biscuits when compared with 100 % wheat. Composite biscuits can be developed with sorghum and wheat combination of 70:30 with acceptable quality. The biscuits prepared with sorghum cultivar CSH13R and M35-1 showed desirable qualities, the CSH13R being a hybrid offers a better choice to the industry in terms of lower cost of production to the tune of 15-25 %.

Shelf life studies: Millet formulation requires moisture of minimum 12%. Semolina of sorghum from 60 mesh (idli rawa) was found suitable for extruder snacks. The organoleptic properties of the extruded snack were found to be stable even at the end of sixth months and hence storage stability and shelf life was up to six months.

  1. J. Extension Research

 Economics of pearl millet and finger millet cultivation :The cost of cultivation of kharif bajra was studied for sample farmers in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan, a major ragi growing state of India. The gross revenue from bajra cultivation was Rs. 19,062/ha while the cost of cultivation was around Rs 17,769/ha. So the net revenue was Rs. 1,117/ha. In general, the gross margin was found to be Rs.  4,142/ha. Similarly, the cost of cultivation of kharif ragi was studied for sample farmers in Tumkur district of Karnataka, a major ragi growing state of India. The gross revenue from ragi cultivation was Rs. 34,000/ha while the cost of cultivation was around Rs. 33,316/ha. So the net revenue was Rs. 684/ha.

  1. K. Institutional Services

 DUS Testing

During kharif 2015, 13 candidate varieties were tested for DUS traits along with 19 reference varieties under 1st year testing. Out of 13 new candidate varieties (279B, 279A, CSH30, CB33, CSV27, CB11, 415B, 415A, DGJ 022, GK 950, GK952, GK951, HTJH3206), eight were from Public sector and five were by Private sector. Under 2nd year testing six candidate varieties (PMS28A, PMS28B, DGJ027, GK4009, CSH27, CSV28) (four from Public and two from Private sector) were tested along with 15 reference varieties.

During rabi 2015-16, under 1st year testing, a total of four farmers’ varieties (Bagdal Peeli Jawar, Mogal Goal Jawar, Barsi Jawar, Kodamurka Jola) were characterized along with M35-1 as reference variety. Under 2nd year testing three new candidate varieties (CSV26, CSV29R, DGJ025) were characterized for DUS traits along with four reference varieties.

 Front-line Demonstrations

During 2015-16, 377 frontline demonstrations on rabi sorghum were organized across the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana. Sorghum varieties viz., CSV29R, CSV26R, Phule Suchitra, Phule Revati and Parbhani Moti were demonstrated along with locally popular cultivar like Maldhandi, Lakadi, Dagadi, Halijola, Budda Mallelu (Dagdi type), Udgir local and Tandur as checks in farmers’ fields at different locations. The demonstrated sorghum varieties gave 52 % higher grain and 38 % fodder yields than the local checks. On an average, the demonstrated varieties could earn net returns of Rs. 35,946/- on the cost of Rs.15,860/- per ha, which is  65 % more than the local check.

Sorghum in rice-fallows: Fifty field demonstrations were organized on 20 ha in rice-fallows under zero-tillage in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh during 2014-15. Results revealed that CSH16 (7.73 t ha-1) yielded significantly better than the popular hybrid Mahalaxmi296 (6.64 t ha-1) with 77% higher net returns.

Socio-economic upliftment of tribal farmers: In order to empower the tribal farmers of different sorghum growing areas of the country, field demonstrations on improved sorghum cultivation involving dual purpose sorghum cultivars and new technology practices to increase productivity were organized in tribal farmer’s fields. It was observed that the tribal farmers were benefitted by obtaining more than double grain (183%) and 67% higher fodder yields with an additional monetary return of 64% to the tribal farmers.