In most plants, light is a very essential nutrient or the catalyst for producing food for the plant by photosynthesis – splitting one molecule of carbon dioxide ( CO2), retaining the carbon atom and releasing the two oxygen molecules into the atmosphere. The energy to do so is light. Less light – less energy – less photosynthesis, less biomass creation and less oxygen released back into the atmosphere.
Some plants have evolved to manage with less light [shade loving plants] with lesser biomass output. The coconut tree has evolved on the beaches of the tropical world to be the most effective converter of energy into biomass of any in the world. Also, daylight hours are maximum on both sides of the equator and the light intensity too!
The high yielding coconut hybrid palms of today require maximum light for them to produce the maximum biomass. The quality of the biomass is also the best due to its high oil content. More calories are required to produce oil. Carbohydrates have approx. 2000 calories in one kilogram. Sugars have approx. 4000 kilocals and oils and fats have approx. 8000 kilocals. The coconut palm’s biomass and oil production are among the highest in the world. The average coconut palm produces 1.25 tonnes of oil per ha. per annum and sequesters approx.15 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Deejay’s focused research to breed a better palm over 35 years has resulted in the Sampoorna Hybrid. This hybrid produces 6200 kgs of oil p.ha. and sequesters 57 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere p.a.
How was this achieved?
Deejay Research has several parameters in its selection program. One important area is the number of leaves and the number, the length and the breadth of the leaflets produced every year. Today the Sampoorna grows every year 18 – 22 leaves [compared to 12-13] and the breadth of its leaflet is between 6 to 7 cms compared to 3 to 4 cms. Therefore it is capable of far higher productivity provided it gets adequate light!