Oil Palm

  • K. SureshEmail author
  • R. K. Mathur
  • S. K. Behera


Oil palm is the highest oil-yielding perennial crop, which produces palm oil and palm kernel oil, being used for cooking and industrial purposes. The palm oil is extracted from the mesocarp of sessile drupe fruit, which contains around 50 % oil. Palm oil is derived from the fleshy mesocarp of the fruit, which contains about 45–55 % of oil. The yield of oil palm varies with genotype, management and environmental factors. Water and fertilizer management holds the key factors in successful management of the crop. The important environmental factors that influence yield are temperature, vapour pressure deficit, relative humidity and rainfall. Breeding for drought and salinity tolerance along with dwarfness and higher oil yield are the key traits for oil palm improvement. As water is the critical factor for successful growth of oil palm, any deficit will act as a signal for repression of female sex expression leading to the production of a large number of male flowers coupled with slow growth leading to poor productivity. Hence a thorough understanding of the morphological, physiological and biochemical basis for drought tolerance is vital for the successful growth of the crop. Drought tolerance phenomenon is complex, since it involves varied mechanisms, which are often antagonistic to each other. These different factors lead to a balance that enables the plant to withstand water stress to varying degrees. Under the Indian context, agronomic techniques for achieving better water reserves at plantation level (through irrigation and erosion control), ensuring more effective distribution of available water to oil palm (by reducing competition with weeds, bare soil cropping, antitranspirants, cropping with other palms) and lessening water consumption of palms during dry seasons through ablation of bunches are effective, but become limited due to technical or economic reasons. The new research options should primarily concentrate on the knowledge of responses of adult oil palm and seedlings under water stress. The research on drought tolerance should integrate factors like photosynthetic capacity, assimilate partitioning (source–sink relationship), stomatal regulation and resistance or rigidity of cell membrane integrity in the seedlings and field stages for the same planting materials in order to develop performance tests. The research on the above aspects should lead to new strategies for developing planting materials more closely adapted to the respective agroclimatic conditions.


Water Stress Drought Tolerance Relative Water Content Vapour Pressure Deficit Leaf Water Potential 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Adiahossou F, Silva VD (1978) Soluble glucide and starch contents and resistance to drought in the oil palm. Oleagineux 33:603–604Google Scholar
  2. Adiahossou DF, Louguet P, da Silva JBV (1984) Correlations between stomatal resistance of various crosses of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) and drought resistance. Acta Oecol 5:163–178Google Scholar
  3. Asemota O, Isenmila AE, Okwuagwu CO (1996) Screening oil palm genotypes for stress tolerance using polyethylene glycol 6000. Proceedings of the 1996 PORIM International Palm Oil Congress (Agriculture)Google Scholar
  4. Cha-um S, Yamada N, Takabe T, Kirdmanee C (2011) Mannitol-induced water deficit stress in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) seedlings. J Oil Palm Res 23:1194–1202Google Scholar
  5. Cha-um S, Takabe T, Kirdmanee C (2012) Physio-biochemical responses of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) seedlings to mannitol and polyethylene glycol induced isoosmotic stress. Plant Prod Sci 15:65–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cochard B, Amblard P, Durand-Gasselin T (2005) Oil palm genetic improvement and sustainable development. OCL 12:141–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cornaire B, Houssou MS, Meunier J (1989) Breeding of drought resistance in oil palm. 2. Kinetics of stomatal opening and protoplasmic resistance. Paper presented at International conference on palms and palm products, 21–25 Nov., Nigerian Inst Oil Palm Res, Benin CityGoogle Scholar
  8. Cornaire B, Daniel C, Zuily-Fodil Y, Lamade E (1994) Oil palm performance under water stress, background to the problem, first results and research approaches. Oleagineux 49:1–11Google Scholar
  9. Foo SF (1998) Impact of moisture on oil palm yield. Kemajuan Penyelidikan 32:5–17Google Scholar
  10. Harun MH (1997) Proline accumulation in the leaves of water stressed oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) seedlings. Elaeis 9:93–99Google Scholar
  11. Hemptinne J, Ferwerda JD (1961) Influence des précipitations sur les productions du palmier á huile (Elais guineensis Jacq.). Oléagineaux 16:431–437Google Scholar
  12. Henson IE, Harun MH (2005) The influence of climatic conditions on gas and energy exchanges above a young oil palm stand in north Kedah, Malaysia. J Oil Palm Res 17:73–91Google Scholar
  13. Houssou M, Omore AS, Meunier J (1989) Breeding of drought resistance in oil palm. 1. Variability of some crosses for their productivity and their mortality. Paper presented at International conference on palms and palm products, 21–25 Nov., Nigerian Inst. Oil Palm Res., Benin CityGoogle Scholar
  14. Houssou M, Cornaire B, Omore A, Adje J (1992) Selection pour la résistance á la sécheresse du palmier á huile. ISOPB, MontpellierGoogle Scholar
  15. Jones LH (1997) The effect of leaf pruning and other stresses on sex determination in the oil palm and their representation by a computer simulation. J Theor Biol 187:241–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kalaji HM, Bosa K, Calatayud A, Guidi L, Schansker G, Ladle RJ, Allakhverdiev SI, Da Browski P, Hogewoning SW, Nebauer SG, Pollastrini M, Seroˆdio J, Pancaldi S, Goltsev V, Brestic M, Elsheery NI, Jajoo A, Bussotti F, Ferroni L, Misra AN, Penella C, Romanowska-Duda ZB, Kancherla S, Yanniccari M, Zivcak M, Szulc W, Poli DB, Rutkowska B, Tambussi E (2014) Frequently asked questions about in vivo chlorophyll fluorescence: practical issues. Photosynth Res 122:121–158CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. Lamade E, Satiyo IE, Muluck CS, Hakim M (1989b) Physiological study of three contrasting clones in Lampung (Indonesia) under drought in 1997. Paper presented at International conference on developments in oil palm plantation industry for the 21st century, 21–22 Sept., BaliGoogle Scholar
  18. Lei X, Xiao Y, Xia W, Mason AS, Yang Y, Ma Z (2014) Peng M (2014) RNA-seq analysis of oil palm under cold stress reveals a different C-repeat binding factor (CBF) mediated gene expression pattern in Elaeis guineensis compared to other species. PLoS One 9(12):e114482. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114482. eCollection 2014 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Lubis AU, Syamsuddin E, Pamin K (1993) Effect of long dry season on oil palm yield at some plantations in Indonesia. Paper presented at PORIM International palm oil congress, 20–25 Sept., Kuala LumpurGoogle Scholar
  20. Maillard G, Daniel C, Ochs R (1974) Analyse des effets de la sécheresse sur le palmier a huile. Oléagineaux 29(8-9):397–404Google Scholar
  21. Mathur RK, Suresh K, Nair S, Parimala K, Sivaramakrishna VNP (2001) Evaluation of exotic dura germplasm for water use efficiency in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.). Indian J Plant Genet Resour 14:257–259Google Scholar
  22. Nouy B, Baudouin L, Djegui N, Omore A (1999) Oil palm under limiting water supply conditions. Plant Rech Dev 6:31–45Google Scholar
  23. Ollagnier M (1985) Ionic reactions and fertilizer management in relation to drought resistance of perennial oil crops (oil palm and coconut). Oleagineux 40:1–10Google Scholar
  24. Rees AR (1990) Mid day closure of stomata in the oil palm. J Exp Bot 12:129–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Smith BG (1993) Correlations between vegetative and yield characteristics and photosynthetic rate and stomatal conductance in the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.). Elaeis 5:12–26Google Scholar
  26. Suresh K, Nagamani C (2005) Stomatal characteristics of different African dura germplasm. Paper presented in the national seminar on research and development of oil palm in India at Pedavegi during 19–20th Feb 2005Google Scholar
  27. Suresh K, Nagamani C (2006) Variations in photosynthetic rate and associated parameters with age of oil palm leaves under irrigation. Photosynthesis 44:309–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Suresh K, Nagamani C (2007) Partitioning of water flux in oil palm plantations – seasonal variations in sap flow under irrigated conditions. Paper published in proceedings of Asiaflux workshop held during 19–21 Oct 2007 at TaoyuanGoogle Scholar
  29. Suresh K, Nagamani C, Reddy VM (2006) Measurement of transpiration using sap flux probes in Oil Palm grown under irrigated conditions. Paper presented in national seminar held at Hyderabad during 29–31 Jan 2007Google Scholar
  30. Suresh K, Mathur RK, Kochu Babu M (2008) Screening of oil palm duras for drought tolerance – stomatal responses, gas exchange and water relations. J Plant Crop 36:270–275Google Scholar
  31. Suresh K, Nagamani C, Ramachandrudu K, Mathur RK (2010) Gas exchange characteristics, leaf water potential and chlorophyll a fluorescence in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) seedlings under water stress and recovery. Photosynthesis 48:430–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Suresh K, Nagamani C, Kantha DL, Kumar MK (2012) Changes in photosynthetic activity in five common hybrids of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) seedlings under water deficit. Photosynthesis 50:549–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tarmizi AH, Marziah M (1995) The influence of low temperature treatment on growth and proline accumulation in polyembryogenic cultures of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.). J Oil Palm Res 7:107–117Google Scholar
  34. Umaña C, Chinchilla C (1989) Sintomatología asociada al déficit hídrico en palma aceitera. Bol Tec OPO-UB 3:50–54Google Scholar
  35. Villalobos E, Rodriguez W (1998) Evaluación de la capacidad de asimilación del carbón, de la eficiencia en el uso del agua y de la resistencia a la sequía, en progenies de palmas aceitera (Elaeis aguineensis Jacq.) en Costa Rica. Universidad de Costa Rica, Informe de Proyecto VI-734-97-16, CIGRAS, 1998. p 32Google Scholar
  36. Villalobos E, Chinchilla C, Echandi C, Fernandez O (1991) Short term responses of the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) to water deficit in Costa Rica. PORIM Int Conf Kuala LumpurGoogle Scholar
  37. Villalobos E, Umana CH, Chinchilla C (1992) Water status of oil palm in response to drought in Costa Rica. Oleagineux 47:1–7Google Scholar
  38. Yamada N, Cha-Um S, Kageyama H, Promden W, Tanaka Y, Kirdmanee C, Takabe T, Peter G (2011) Isolation and characterization of proline/betaine transporter gene from oil palm. Tree Physiol 31:462–468CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICAR-Directorate of Oil Palm ResearchPedavegiIndia

Personalised recommendations