Why artificial pollination industry is blooming?

Decline in bee population, forcing some farmers to pollinate crops by hand.

Pollination is the main mode of reproduction in plant’. It’s a method of transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma, later enabling fertilisation and the production of seeds and a pollinator is an animal that moves pollen from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma of a flower, Majority of the flower’s plants rely on pollinators move pollen from plant to plant. Honey bee is the most widely knows pollinator. Without pollinators we won’t be able to grow the crops necessary for food, majority of our staple crops and food crops requires pollinators. Increasing air pollution, climate change, loss of habitat and over- development, pollinators are pollinating less. To overcome this problem artificial techniques have been developed.

In artificial pollination the plants are hand pollinated. In this method pollination is done by manually transferring pollen from the stamen of one plant to the pistil of another and for pollinating tall trees mechanical devices have been developed. The devices used in mechanical pollination is generally made of long telescopic light metal or plastic tubing to reach the target. The existing methods for mechanical pollination are difficult, uneconomical and time consuming also.

Recent studies revealed that electrostatic forces play an important role in pollination. Electrostatic is a scientific study and application of electric charges which accumulate on a surface. Electrostatic devices can be used for both non-contact detachment as well as electro-deposition of pollen. The biggest advantage of non detachment method using electrostatic forces is that it reduces physical damage to the pollen grains and flowers, enables safe and healthy pollination which ensures higher field, better quality and expected market rates. Electrostatic pollination is very important, it could reduce the pollen requirement to one third of conventional artificial pollination and could double the full seed percentage without reduction in viability. It is the need of the hour to bring in expertise from both plant breeding and agricultural engineering fraternity to develop a versatile and cost-effective electrostatic artificial pollination technology system. AS the population of natural pollinators in the world is declining so the Electrostatic pollination technique seems to be the saviour of the global food security and food-supply chain.

In conventional hand pollination method, there is a high wastage of pollen grains that need to be produced to ensure fertilization occurs, which greatly raises production costs. On the other hand, the process of artificial pollination using electrostatic charging would scatter lesser pollen mass to pollinate similar number of plants. The concept of electrostatic non contact detachment and deposition of charged pollens in plant pollination ensures less physical damage to pollen therefore, it has better potential to increase the fruit set and its quality. Moreover, the Electrostatics in artificial pollination is reliable, economic and much convenient while dealing with pollination of larger tress which is a very tedious job while working with manual method.

At present, electrostatic pollination method is routinely used for date palms in Arab countries, for larch in forestry and pistachio pollination, etc.

Categories: Education, environment, Science