Morphophysiological Seed Variability in Mahua Trees from Western Ghats and Its Impact on Tribal Life


Madhuca longifolia (Koen.) Mac Bride. var. latifolia (Roxb.) Chev. commonly known as Mahua is an important tree borne oil seeds harnessed in most of the tribal areas in India, especially for its rich oil content. The present study was an attempt to investigate the morphophysiological variability in seeds of Mahua trees along with its oil content and fatty acids compositions, which will help to identify the high oil yielding genotypes from Western Ghats of India. During the study, 71 accessions were collected in June 2016 from five different districts of Western Ghats showing ecological variation. The emphasis was on variability and difference in length, breadth, thickness, color, weight and oil content of seeds. Fatty acids present in oil were identified using GCMS. Accessions ML47 and ML50 from Nashik region represented maximum and minimum oil percent, respectively (57.53 and 32.92%). The highest 100 seed weight was observed in ML33 (519.42 g) and the lowest in ML39 (110.92 g) both from Palghar district. Major fatty acids detected in its oil were Oleic > Palmitic > Stearic > and Linoleic acids. Based on quality and quantity of oil yield, accession ML47 (Nashik region) may be probable tree/promising germplasm for future and mass multiplication of this with the help of grafting techniques would pave ways for better tribal livelihood. This screening may serve as the selection tool while planting Mahua saplings in tribal areas of Western Ghats, helping to enrich their economic importance.

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This study was funded by the Board of College and University Development (BCUD), Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune for which authors are thankful to authorities of BCUD.

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Correspondence to Digambar Nabhu Mokat.

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Significance Statement

We undertook the study on seed variability and diversity of M. longifolia var. latifolia for identification of elite clone based on oil percent, oil quality and fatty acid profiling from Western Ghats of Maharashtra. The elite clone will provide the Quality Planting Materials (QPMs) for propagations in tribal areas, which could intern enhance employment opportunities in Western Ghats of India.

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Suryawanshi, Y.C., Mokat, D.N. Morphophysiological Seed Variability in Mahua Trees from Western Ghats and Its Impact on Tribal Life. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., India, Sect. B Biol. Sci. 91, 227–239 (2021).

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  • Fatty acids
  • GCMS
  • Madhuca longifolia var. latifolia
  • Oil
  • Variability