SUGARCANE CROSSING AT SUGAR RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF FIJI – 2009 CROSSES AND SEED SETT
Singh A.R, Sattar S.S, Soli. N, Gawander J. S. and Prasad, N. Sugar Research Institute of Fiji, Lautoka, Republic of Fiji Islands.
Keywords: fuzz, nobilization, pollen, inter-generic, inter-specific
Sugarcane breeding at Sugar Research Institute of Fiji has undergone major changes during the past few years. Crossing objective was shifted towards improving fuzz germination through effective pollination and adopting a selection method for improved sugar, high cane yield, disease resistance and adaptation to adverse environments. The second objective was to develop parental lines with wider genetic base through the use of inter-generic and inter-specific hybridization with Erianthus arundinaceous and Saccharum robustum from Indonesian Collection (Berding and Koike 1976). Extensive effort was made to obtain seedlings from polycrosses and a limited number of bi-parental combinations. A total of 818 crosses were set in 2009 out of which 561 were polycrosses, 180 bi-parental and 77 experimental (inter-generic) crosses. The results of pollen viability was recorded and compared with the seedling numbers from the fuzz sown in 2010. It was found that although a positive correlation existed; it was not the sole factor in obtaining the seedling numbers. The pollen viability of Erianthus spp. pollen collected during 5:30 am to 6:30am and S. robustum collected at 8:00am showed high viability. The tests showed that the pollen remained viable up to 3.0 hours with 50-60% of the pollen still viable. The pollen collected from Erianthus at 5:30am to 6:15am under Dobuilevu condition yielded the best results. S.robustum sheds pollen between 8:00am to 8:30am and 12:30 pm with good viability. Similar results were recorded in Bangalore, India. The above findings will be examined further in the coming crossing seasons with more details and data collected on other factors such as temperature, humidity and valid conclusions derived.