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Pollination can be described as the transfer of pollen from anther to the stigma of the same or different flower. Pollination plays an important role in the agricultural production of fruit crops and vegetables. Pollination is done by different agents like water, wind, and various types of insects, birds and bats. Sometimes numerous reasons like agents of pollination, diseases in plants, overuse of pesticides, and climatic conditions cause insufficient pollination which affects the production of crops. Due to inadequate pollination, there is low productivity of fruits and crops. Common examples are citrus fruits, bananas, some figs, and most fruit trees. Overcoming these artificial pollinations is considered to be the most affecting factor for the production of crops vegetables and fruits. Artificial pollination is the most effective in comparison to natural pollination
Artificial pollination proves very important as it reduces the chances of uncertainty which we are facing in natural pollution. Artificial pollination involves the mechanical application of compatible pollens which have been collected before and have been carried out by humans. Artificial pollination is also known as mass pollination as it is used to increase the number of fruits of different crops where natural pollination is limited. Artificial pollination is practised for decades. Kiwifruit, almond pistachio, hazelnut, and date palm are the most common examples of plants where artificial pollination has been used to boost the production the fruits.
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Steps involved in artificial pollination
Artificial pollination involved four steps which are described as follows.
The first step is to collect large quantities of mature and fertile pollen at a low cost
The collection method is mechanical or manual but it should always ensure that pollen should be in good condition and not be damaged
Pollen storage condition is varied from one species to another.
Pollens are preserved in a refrigerator between 0oC and 4OC for a short period and humidity plays an important role in it
For a long time, pollen storage requires a temperature below 0oC sometimes combining low relative humidity
Viability determination is checked in pollens after storage where the capacity of pollens to fertilize ovules is tested. It is involved four steps
In vitro pollen germination
In vivo pollen germination
Pollen tube growth
The ultimate goal of pollen application is to reproduce the highest number of natural pollen transfers. Pollens are usually applied to the stigma by following methods
Different methods of artificial pollination
Artificial pollination involves three methods that are illustrated as
Deciduous plants (male and female flowers are different plants) used in this method
First, we have to collect a male flower from the plant but ensure that pollen transfer should not happen while plucking the flower
The next step is to contact the stamen to the stigma of a female flower in which petals are pushed back.
Then gently roll them eventually so that pollen is distributed to the stigma and pollination occurs
First, collect as many pollen grains as possible.
The next step is we have to move cotton over the male flowers
Then spread the pollen over the female flower's stigma
The self-pollinating plants are suitable for this method
Common examples of self-pollinating plants are tomatoes, beans, and peppers
For pollination place fans over their branches to shake the stems and allow pollen grains to settle over the stigma
Advantages and disadvantages
The advantage of artificial pollination are−
When natural pollination is slow or nonexistent artificial pollination is useful
It is fixed and stable as does not depend upon any factors
It produces a large number of hybrid fruit
The size of the fruits and the number of seeds can be enhanced.
The artificial pollination disadvantages are that
It is time-consuming, and fertilization is not guaranteed
It can be done by a trained person
Small mistakes lead to failure in producing a pot
In delicious fruit crops artificial pollination is used and pollination by humans with the desired pollen source, to improvise various fruiting traits. The selection of the pollen source greatly determines the desired success in the artificial pollination programs. Artificial pollination in some pollen parents’ increases yield, whereas some improve the fruit quality, disease resistance, and physiological maturity period. In the present unpredictable and highly fluctuating climatic context, the alteration in the time of fruit maturity can be of great use. Artificial pollination is the most effective way to crop production. Humans judiciously cultivated plants to create a large number of hybrid disease-free improved crops. Hybrid plants exhibit larger and flashier flowers than their parent species. It is greatly used for commercial purposes
Pollination is an important part of flowering plants in terms of crop production. Due to several factors, natural pollination becomes unreliable. To get rid of this situation artificial pollination becomes commercially successful. To reduce the uncertainty in natural pollination artificial pollination technique is implemented. But while implementing artificial pollination always keep in mind there should always use an effective method of pollen harvesting, storage, and application at low cost.
Especially for wind-pollination crops such as olives, artificial pollination is a feasible alternative to pollination designs. Some firms can develop easy affordable user-friendly kits to look over pollen viability. The Discovery and design of new mechanical devices will surely improve the success of artificial pollination to a great extent.
Q1. Why application of pollen using a pollen sprayer is successful?
Ans. Application of pollen using a pollen spray is successful as we can spray in the appropriate area with a humid climate during blossoming. Moreover, it is an easy and fast mechanized method. This application is used for kiwifruit cultivation in South Africa.
Q2. What is the histochemical test?
Ans. The histochemical test consists of an enzymatic activity test, sustainability test, and fluorochromatic reaction procedure. Stainability tests are used to stain selective vegetative cells while enzymatic activity tests enzyme activity in the pollen grain. Fluorochromatic reaction tests evaluate the properties of pollen.
Q3. Why producing a large number of hybrid plants considered an advantage of artificial pollination?
Ans. Hybrid plants are usually faster in growth and development, disease resistance, and produce bigger bloomy flowers, fruits, and higher yields. So producing a large number of hybrid plants is considered an advantage of artificial pollination.
Q4. Why pollen storage is important?
Ans. Pollen storage is useful for plant breeders, biotechnology, artificial pollination, and self-incompatibility. Various techniques are used to maintain the viability of pollen in pollen storage.
Q5. How is artificial pollination useful for agriculture?
Ans. Artificial pollination is practised by plant breeders for developing new varieties. The breeders select two different varieties of a crop plant with desired characteristics and then pollinate them with the pollen from the desired plant variety. It produces a large number of hybrid fruits size of the fruits and the number of seeds can be enhanced.
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