The use of ozone-tolerant cultivars can enhance the food security of India, suggests a new University of Eastern study.
The study highlighted the current status of ozone research in the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP), which have been classified as a "hot spot" for air pollution, that is agriculturally important and densely populated. To study adverse effects of ozone, field experiments were conducted with local crop cultivars of mustard (Brassica campestris L.) and rice (Oryza sativa L.).
Various growth, physiological (gas-exchange), biochemical and yield parameters were studied throughout the growing season. Ethylenediurea (EDU) was used as a chemical protectant against ozone induced damages.
The results of the study show the importance of ozone research in the IGP region of India, because both the mustard and the rice cultivars showed sensitivity to prevailing ozone concentrations suffering yield losses.
Only seven out of the 18 rice cultivars tested showed a good adaptability to high-ozone environments in terms of grain yield, suggesting that the selection of ozone-tolerant cultivars is a useful strategy for food security in India. The study is published in Science of the Total Environment