Black pepper

Black pepper
Black Pepper – Piper nigrum
Family: Piperaceae
  • Black pepper, christened as “King of spice” and “Black gold” is the most important and the most widely used spice in the world occupying a position that is supreme and unique. It was the lure of Indian pepper that brought the western world to Indian subcontinent. Apart from black pepper the genus also includes economically important species like
  • P.longum – long pepper, P. betle – betel leaf, P.chaba – Java long pepper and P.cubeba – Cubeb, Tailed pepper.
  • The main objectives of pepper breeding are higher yields, resistance to diseases (mainly foot rot and virus diseases), higher quality(piperine and piperidine content), tolerance to abiotic stresses and evolving low input responsive varieties.
  • Pepper being a vegetatively propagated in addition to viable seed reproduction offer much scope for crop improvement work, especially for selection, breeding and exploitation of hybrid vigour.
  • Existing genetic variability can be exploited through clonal selection, as there are more than 100 pepper cultivars known to exist in India with substantial amount of inter and intra cultivar variability.
  • Diversity of pepper is great in evergreen forests of Western Ghats. Out of 17 species of Piper occurring, 11 are endemic.
  • Through the process of natural evolution, domestication and selection, a lot of cultivars originated in its centre of origin. Cultivar diversity is the richest in Kerala, followed by Karnataka. Most of the cultivars are bisexual.
Selection in OP progenies
  • Pepper being heterozygous and propagated mainly through cuttings, there exist segregation in open pollinated and selfed progenies. Selection in OP progenies was carried out at Pepper Research Station, Panniyur. Two varieties Paniyur-2 and Panniyur -5 were developed through selection from OP progenies of cvs. Balankotta and Perumkodi respectively.
  • Great variability that exists among cultivars is utilized in hybridization.
  • Hybridization work in pepper was started at Pepper Research Station, Panniyur as early as 1959 and the first ever hybrid pepper variety in the world Panniyur-1 was released in 1971. It is a selection from F1 of a cross between cv. Uthirankotta x Cheriyakaniakkadan. The average yield of the variety is 1242kg/ha of dry berries. Interspecific hybridization was reported between P. nigrum x P. attenuatum and P. nigrum x P.barberi.
Breeding for quality
  • In pepper quality is mainly decided by content of piperine, essential oil and oleoresin. Piperine is responsible for pungency. Piperine content varies from 2- 7.4% among the cultivars. Essential oil ranges from 0.4-7 %. The property of piperine as bioavailability enhancing agent is being exploited by pharmaceutical industry.
  • Diversification of value added products from pepper also demands high quality varieties. The existing cultivar diversity can be utilized for locating high quality varieties which can be subjected to selection as well as intercultivar hybridization.
Resistance breeding
  • The main objective is to evolve black pepper variety resistant/ tolerant to Phytophthora foot rot disease.
  • Polyploidy & mutation breeding
  • Poly ploidy plays an important role in crop improvement. However, the success is very much limited in black pepper. A natural triploid (2n(3x) = 78), Vadakkan having bold fruits and less fruit setting and large leaves was identified.
  • The progenies of the cultivar exhibited wide morphological variations and varying chromosome numbers, however none of these exhibited horticulturally useful traits. The plants produced through mutation breeding were slow in growth.

Last modified: Monday, 30 January 2012, 9:38 PM