INVESTIGATION OF RESPONSE OF AMARANTHS (Amaranthus hybridus) VARIETIES TO DIFFERENT RATES OF COCONUT MILK FOLIAR APPLICATION

By

Halliru Sanusi

Department of Agricultural Education,

Federal College of Education (Technical)

Bichi, Kano

 

Abstract

The effect of coconut milk on the development of vegetable amaranths was tested at the college farm of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Bichi, during dry seasons. The research was aimed at harnessing the potentials of the coconut milk as a constituent of some phytohormones, such as; zeatin and cytokinin, required in identifying responsive growth rates and productivity of the vegetable amaranths. The treatments consisted of two varieties of amaranths (Improved and local), with five rates of coconut milk (0, 15, 30, 45 and 60%). These were factorially combined and laid out in a randomized complete block design with ten treatment combinations. This was replicated three times. Data was collected on the plant height, number of leaves per plant, number of branches per plant, total fresh weight, total dry matter and marketable yield. The data were subjected to analysis of variance. Significantly, different means were ranked using Duncan Multiple Range Test (DMRT). Results of the study showed that Coconut milk had significant influence on all the characters tested with 15% foliar application producing plants with more desirable traits. Similarly, the improved variety always surpassed the local variety in vegetable output and other desirable traits. In view of this therefore, the potentials of coconut milk application of 15% in amaranths for improved productivity. More research is thus advocated in more leafy vegetables with a view to optimize the usefulness of this important commodity in crop production.

 

Introduction

Amaranths is one of the most important vegetables consumed in Nigeria. It is usually cultivated by people in farms and gardens. Two classes of amaranths are common the grain and the vegetable amaranths. The vegetable type is clearly distinguished from the grain type. It has succulent leaves with high moisture content, small inflorescense, short stems with broad leaves. It produces less seeds as compared to the grain type (Bashir, 2004).  Amaranths species are ancient, cultivated by the western agriculturalists. It originated from the tropical America and was later distributed to the Tropics, Mexico, India and China (Encarta, 2005). Amaranths leaves are rich in protein and are also very good source of carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, iron, calcium and many micro nutrients. The leaves also have nitrate and oxalate levels similar to other green leave vegetables (Norman, 1992). Coconut water contains a variety of nutrients. These include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and other phytonutrients (Bruce, 2013). The organic compounds present in coconut milk makes it useful as physiologic buffer. Coconut milk has a high level of nitrogen in form of amino acids, phytohormones in adequate balance of plant requirements (Krikorian, 1991). These indicate the use of coconut water as a component of culture medium which can also be used as substitute to expensive organic compound, zeatin (Piexe, etal, 2007). Coconut water combined with BAP was reported to be used in the micro propagation protocols of many economically important crops. Foliar spray with 15% coconut milk was reported to significantly enhance the productivity of lettuce (Bashir, et al, 2004., Abba, 1991).

It is pertinent to say that increased human population demands a corresponding increase in food production. This is obvious as it relates to important vegetables like amaranths. In view of this, there is the need for an improved technology to enhance quality production of such food items. Amaranths is one of the important vegetables needed all year round, owing to its diverse way of utilization and their requirements in the diets of the populace. However, the current production practices limits its supply to some parts of the year thereby making it a scarce commodity.   In view of the aforementioned, it is worthy to harness the potentials of coconut water as rich source of phytohormones, so that the growing season could be maximized to increase overturn in the harvest of the commodity with minimal input.

 

Objectives of the study

This research is aimed at:

  1. Assessing the efficacy of coconut milk foliar application on the productivity of vegetable amaranths.
  2. Comparing the two varieties among others in terms of marketable leafy yield.
  3. Identifying the best rate of coconut milk that could be used to improve productivity of vegetable amaranths.

 

Origin and Distribution of Amaranths

Amaranths is distributed worldwide in warm and humid regions. It is also important in the culture, diet and agricultural economy of the people of mexico, central and south America, African and Northern india (Mcgraw, 1997)  Amaranthus species originated from low land humid and at higher altitude of the world. However, there are some species of  amaranths common to both regions (Rice et al, 1987). Amaranths are grown mainly in East-Asia, Caribbean and Africa like; A. Caudatus_2 and A. Hypochandriacus_L (Kochhar, 1981). Also, Amaranthus species are grown in Africa and in South East Asia for soup or boiled for salad. The crop is widely cultivated for its leaves in many parts of Nigeria (Omidiji, 1978).

 

Importance of Amaranths

Chadha (2007) revealed that amaranths is very nutritive and that rapid growth as well as high yield of edible matter were valuable source for combating under-nutriton and malnutrition. Leaf amaranths are rich in provitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium and protein with lysine constituting as much as 5.9% of protein (equal to soyameal, and more than some of the best maize strains); glutomic acid constitutes as much as 10.8% of protein (Mcgraw, 1997).

There is an increasing awareness of the value of leafy vegetable in contributing to a balanced diet particularly in area where animal protein is deficient. Amaranths contribute significant amounts of vitamin C, protein, minerals (particularly calcium) and carbohydrate, (Rice et al, 1987).

Amaranth is also a useful as a forage crop for feeding livestock. Leaf protein concentrates can be extracted from amaranth and used for feeding young children and other persons with high protein, vitamin A and iron deficiencies (Carlsson, 1984). Nutritionally, amaranth is similar to other leaf vegetables. The dry matter content is often high (about 13%) and the nutritional value of its products are excellent because of its high content of mineral (calcium and iron) and vitamins (Oyenuga and Fetuga, 1975).

 

Ecological Requirements for Amaranthus Production

Amaranths can be grown on a wide variety of soil. However, sandy loam soil is best suited for its successful cultivation. It is also a C – 4 plant which can make efficient use of carbon II oxide (CO2) and suppresses its photorespiratory loss (Chadha 2007).  A C – 4 plant is any plant that possesses the C4 pathway of carbon dioxide fixation. In such plants, metabolic pathways concerned with photosynthesis are comparted between  mesophyll cells and bundle sheath cell in the leaf. Soil with high organic content are required for optimum yields in amaranths production. Some species are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions; optimum pit range is 5.5 – 7.5 seeds sown direct on raised beds or broadcast on seed beds and transplant to permanent beds, (Rice et al, 1987).

The crop is grown in areas with an annual rainfall of 3000mm. During the dry season, it can be grown under irrigation. It adapts to many environmental conditions and tolerate adversities such as low fertility, high temperature, bright sunlight and dry conditions (NRC, 1984). Amaranths require well moistened soil for proper growth and development. However, once seedling are established, grain amaranths do well with limited water, infact they are known to grow best under warm conditions (Cambell and Foy, 1984).

 

Plant Growth Substances/Regulators

Coconut (Cocoss nucifera) milk enhances growth and development in vegetable crops. It is one of the groups of hormones that influences the growth of plants. They greatly accelerate the development of plant embryos and promote the growth of isolated tissues and cells (Peter et al, 1992). Foliar spray with coconut milk on lettuce weekly at 15% dilution resulted in increased leaves number, plant height and yield (Bashir, 2004).  Chawla (2005) revealed that hormones are organic compounds naturally synthesized in higher plants which influences growth and development. There are two main classes of growth regulators that are of special importance in plant tissue culture. These are the auxins and cytokinins, while others such as  gibberellins, abscisic acid, ethylene etc. are of minor importance. Cytokinns induces or promotes the production of DNA, RNA protein synthesis cthiamine synthesis. They are involved in the stimulation of organ formation (e.g. formation of leaf, fruit, buds and branches) and are also useful in the preservation of flowers, fruits and leafy vegetables (Philip et al, 2006).

            Cytokinins are also known as anti-aging hormones, regulates cell division and influences the rate at which plants age. Depending on the amount of cytokinins present, the aging process in plants can be either accelerated or retarded (Bruce, 2013).

           

Study Area

The study area for the research is the Federal College of Education (Technical), Bichi Kano State. This is located at 80 141 – 120 141E latitude and 120141 – 141 – 151N  longitude and 570m above sea level.  Bichi lies in the Sudan Savanna agro ecological zone of Nigeria. Soils of the experimental area are characterized by sandy loam texture. (Abdul’azeez, 2008)

 

Treatments and Experimental Design

The study is a two factor experiment (Coconut milk and Amaranths varieties). It consisted of two varieties of amaranths (improved and local), and five rates of coconut milk (0, 15, 30, 45, & 60%). These were factorially combined to have ten treatment combinations, and laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications.

 

Material and Method

            Materials include: coconut, sprayers, water, measuring tapes, rulers, weighing scale, envelopes (bag), amaranthus seeds, cow dungs. The land was cleared from debris, wetted and ploughed using manual hoe. Ten plots of 3 x 3.6m = 10.8m2 were ear-marked with pegs in each replicate. The plots were separated by 0.5m in between, while 1.0m border was earmarked to separate each replicate and the next. The total field size was 441.6m2. Two amaranths varieties (improved and local) were raised in a nursery bed for two weeks. These were later transplanted to the prepared bed/plots at an intra row spacing of 30cm and inter row spacing of 60cm.  Each plot comprises of ten stands per row and 6 rows per plot. This brings about a total of 60 stands per plot and 1358.69 stands per hectare as the plant population.

            Plants were hoe weeded twice at two (2) and five (5) weeks after transplanting to keep it weed free. Ten tons/ha of cow dung manure was incorporated to the soil during land preparation as suggested by Norman (1992) as the standard practice in Amaranths production.

 

Preparation and Application of the Coconut Milk Rates

            Code’ivore Coconut were procured from Yanlemo market, Kano. These were broken, split open to collect the milk. From the stock solution, 15, 30, 45 and 60% concentration were prepared by simple serial dilution technique using 100ml measuring cylinder. These were applied foliar applied (sprayed) to the designated amaranths plots at 3 weeks after planting (TWAT). Designated plants were however, sprayed with equivalent amount of ordinary water as  control.

 

Sampling and Data Collection

Five randomly selected stands were tagged in each plot. Data on plant height, number of  leaves per plant, leaf area/plant, total fresh weight and total dry matter were monitored and collected from the randomly tagged plants, across 1 – 4 weeks after transplanting.

 

Analysis of Data

Data collected on the above parameters were subjected to analysis of variance using (Snedecor and Cochran, 1967). Where significant difference was observed among the treatments, their means were ranked using Duncan multiple range test (DMRT) (Duncan, 1955).

 

Results and Discussion

Plant Height

Results of the plant height of amaranths sampled across 1- 4 weeks after transplanting as affected by variety and coconut milk foliar application is presented in Table 1. This showed a significant effect with the improved variety which presented significantly taller plants in all the samples. This might be due to genotype differences, as the improved variety had already been modified with potential traits for enhanced productivity. Significantly taller plants were recorded from the 15% and 20% coconut milk treated plants at 1, 2 and 3 weeks after transplanting. At the three weeks after transplanting (3 WAT), however, the 15 and 30% coconut milk treated plants were at par, while shortest plants were recorded from the control and 60% treated plants. Similar results were reported by Abba (1991) who suggested the 15% coconut milk foliar application enhanced amaranths productivity during rainy season.

 

Number of Leaves per Plant

The improved and local amaranths cultivars differed significantly in their number of leaves across 1 – 4 WAT (Table 2). The improved variety presented significantly higher number of leaves in all the sampling periods of the study. This is expected due to genotypic differences with the improved variety having genetic traits for enhanced productivity.

Plants with significantly higher number of leaves were also obtained from the 15% coconut milk treated plants. These were followed by the 30% with the control and 60% treatments having the least number of leaves all of which were not significantly different in all the sampling periods. The interactions of the varietal and coconut milk rates were however, not significant in all the samples.

 

Table 1: Plant height of Amaranths as affected by variety and coconut milk rates across 1 – 4 weeks after transplanting in 2013 dry season.

Treatment                                      Weeks after transplanting (WAT)

                                                    1                     2                    3                       4

 

Variety

Improved                     29.00a             39.50a             63.20a             79.00a

Local                           23.00b             35.20b             50.30b             72.30b

SE +                               0.03                 0.09                 0.11                 0.14

Coconut milk rate (%)

Control                        26.5c               40.7c               49.1c               63.7b

15                                31.00a             51.2a               63.7a               80.9a

30                                30.71a             50.7a               61.2b               79.3a

45                                28.0b               44.1b               49.0c               61.4c

60                                24.1d               41.7c               43.1d               55.0d

SE +                             0.01                 0.05                 0.11                 0.17

Interaction (v x r)       NS                   NS                   NS                   NS

Means followed by the same letter (s) within columns are not significantly different 5 % level of probability (DMRT)

Key: SE +  = Standard Error; V = Variety, r =  Replication

 

Table 2: Number of leaves per plant of Amaranths as affected by variety and coconut milk rates  across 1 – 4  weeks after transplanting in 2013 dry season.

Treatment                                  Weeks After Transplanting (WAT)

                                       1                      2                      3                      4

Variety

Improved                     23.00a             29.50a             73.20a             77.00a

Local                           20.00b             24.00b             50.00b             57.00b

SE +                             0.001               0.007               0.010               0.011

Coconut milk rate (%)

Control                        18.00c             21.00c             51.00c             57.00b

15                                23.00a             28.00a             74.00a             81.00a

30                                21.00b             28.00a             71.00b             80.00ab

45                                18.00c             22.00b             53.00bc                       71.00c

60                                17.00cd                       21.00c             50.00c             56.00d

SE +                             0.01                 0.11                 0.17                 0.23

Interaction (v x r)       NS                   NS                   NS                   NS

Means followed by the same letter (s) within columns are not significantly different 5 % level of probability (DMRT)

Key: SE +  = Standard Error; V = Variety; r =  Replication

Leaf Area (Cm2) per Plant (LApP)

Varietal difference had a significant effect on the leaf area of amaranths in this study (Table 3). Results showed that the improved variety manifested leafs with a wider surface area. However, coconut milk foliar application did not have any significant effect on the leaf area of the amaranths. This justified the role of genotype as controlling these traits.

 

Leaf Area Index (LAI)

The leaf area index of the amaranths tested as influenced by variety and coconut milk foliar application is presented in table 4. Results indicated that the improved variety also produced significantly higher leaf area index. There was however, conflicting results as opposed to the leaf area. This is because as the 15% and 30% treated plants produced significantly higher LAI at 1, 2 & 4 WAT, all of which were not significantly different. The 15 & 60% treated plants were however at par during the 1, 2 and 3 WAT.

 

Total Fresh Weight (g)

Varietal difference had a significant effect on the total fresh weight of the amaranths tested in this study (Table 5). Results of the study showed that the improved variety had plants with significantly higher total fresh weight in all the sampling periods. Similarly, the 15% coconut milk treated plants produced significantly higher total fresh weight in all the sampling periods. These were following by the 30% while the least total fresh weight was obtained from the control in all the samples. This signified the role of coconut milk as having some vital ingredients such as cytokinins that provide apical growth as reported by Bruce (2013).

 

 

 

 

Table 3: Leaf area per plant (cm2) of Amaranths as affected by variety and coconut milk rates  across 1 – 4  weeks after transplanting in 2013 dry season.

Treatment                               Weeks After Transplanting (WAT)

                                        1                     2                      3                     4

Variety

Improved                     5.73a               32.33a             113.75a                       233.23a

Local                           4.57b               29.75b             101.23b                       211.11b

SE +                             0.02                 0.07                 0.10                 0.14

Coconut milk rate (%)

Control                        4.75                 29.11               117.63             235.33

15                                5.00                 30.79               112.33             245.75

30                                5.15                 31.23               113.00             243.66

45                                5.11                 29.75               110.00             232.11

60                                4.75                 29.23               111.11             237.75

SE +                             0.11                 0.17                 0.21                 0.32

Interaction (v x r)       NS                   NS                   NS                   NS

Means followed by the same letter (s) within columns are not significantly different 5 % level of probability (DMRT)

 

Table 4: Leaf area index of Amaranths as affected by variety and coconut milk rates 

              across 1 – 4  weeks after transplanting in 2013 dry season.

Treatment                             Weeks After Transplanting (WAT)

                                      1                       2                     3                       4

Variety

Improved                     0.02a               0.07a               0.79a               0.98a

Local                           0.01b               0.05b               0.66b               0.79b

SE +                             0.001               0.003               0.005               0.013

Coconut milk rate (%)

Control                        0.03b               0.05c               0.53c               0.61b

15                                0.07a               0.10a               0.69a               0.92a  

30                                0.06a               0.09a               0.57b               0.91a

45                                0.04ab             0.06b               0.49cd             0.57c

60                                0.03b               0.05c               0.47d               0.55d

SE +                             0.001               0.004cd                       0.007               0.014

Interaction (v x r)       NS                   NS                   NS                   NS

Means followed by the same letter (s) with in columns are not significantly different 5 % level of probability (DMRT)

Key: SE +  = Standard Error, V  = Variety, r =  Replication

 

 

Table 5: Total Fresh weight (g) of Amaranths as affected by variety and coconut milk rates  across 1 – 4  weeks after transplanting in 2013 dry season.

Treatment                                   Weeks After Transplanting (WAT)

                                       1                      2                     3                    4

Variety

Improved                     16.11a             36.22a             42.33a             107.11a

Local                           12.67b             25.37b             38.21b             97.61b

SE +                             0.10                 0.17                 0.19                 0.21

Coconut milk rate (%)

Control                        11.17d             22.73d             36.21c             91.23d

15                                17.11a             36.33a             47.23a             111.73a          

30                                15.23ab                       35.12ab                       46.19ab                       99.23b

45                                12.67b             29.12b             39.22b             77.11c

60                                12.11bc                       26.13c             38.77bc                       76.77cd

SE +                             0.11                 0.17                 0.23                 0.37

Interaction (v x r)       NS                   NS                   NS                   NS

Means followed by the same letter (s) within columns are not significantly different 5 % level of probability (DMRT)

Key: SE +  = Standard Error; V = Variety; r =  Replication

 

Total Dry Matter (g)

The improved variety also produced significantly higher total dry matter (g) in all the sampling periods (Table 6). Similarly, the foliar application of coconut milk had significantly affected the total dry matter of the plants during the period under study. Results showed that 15% coconut milk treated plants produced significantly higher total dry matter in all the sampling periods. These were followed by the 30% treated plants all of which were at par, while the least plant dry matter was recorded from the control treatment. Similar findings was reported by Abba (1991) in which the 15% coconut milk treated plants surpassed the local variety in vegetable output and other desirable traits. This also emphasizes on the significance of coconut milk as a growth booster.

 

Marketable Yield (Tonne/ Ha)

Varietal difference also had significant effect on the marketable yield of amaranths in the period under study (Table 7). Results showed that the improved variety surpass the local variety. This is owing to the genotype differences as the improved variety has in it, inherent desirable traits for better yield. Similarly, the 15% coconut milk treated plants produced significantly higher marketable yields than all other treatment. These were followed by 30, and 45% treated plants, while the lowest marketable yield was obtained from the control and 60% treated plants, all of which were not significantly different. Abba (1991) reported similar observation.

 

Table 6: Total Dry Matter (g) of Amaranths as affected by variety and coconut milk rates  across 1 – 4  weeks after transplanting in 2013 dry season.

Treatment                                Weeks After Transplanting (WAT)

                                        1                     2                      3                       4

Variety

Improved                     7.13a               13.77a             37.23a             59.11a

Local                           4.12b               10.11b             25.13b             47.77b

SE +                             0.01                 0.05                 0.09                 0.12

Coconut milk rate (%)

Control                        4.55d               11.75c             27.11c             57.33c

15                                8.19a               15.77a             51.23a             114.23a          

30                                7.23ab             15.21a             49.11ab                       109.27ab

45                                5.11b               12.67b             43.12b             100.11b

60                                5.00c               11.07c             26.01c             49.37c

SE +                             0.11                 0.17                 0.23                 0.37

Interaction (v x r)       NS                   NS                   NS                   NS

Means followed by the same letter (s) within columns are not significantly different 5 % level of probability (DMRT)

Key: SE +  = Standard Error, V  = Variety, r =  Replication

 

Table 7: Marketable Yield (ton/ha)) of Amaranths as affected by variety and coconut milk rates across 1 – 4  weeks after transplanting in 2013 dry season.

Treatment                             Leafy Marketable Yield

Variety

Improved                                             30.13a            

Local                                                   21.41b

SE +                                                     0.17

Coconut milk rate (%)

Control                                                22.13d

15                                                        31.77a            

30                                                        29.91b

45                                                        26.11c            

60                                                        22.77d            

SE +                                                     0.71                

Interaction (v x r)                               NS                  

Mean followed by the same letter within column are not significantly different at 5 % level of probability (DMRT)

Key: SE +  = Standard Error; V= Variety; r =  Replication

 

Conclusion and Recommendations

In conclusion treatment 15% concentration of coconut milk has the best effect on both growth and yield performances of amaranths. It is also more economical as higher concentrations produced reduced performance than the control. The study wish to recommend carrying out same research using other vegetable plants.

 

References

Abba, A. M. (1991). Effect of indole acetic acid and coconut milk on the morphology and chlorophyll content of amaranths hybridus. A Bsc unpublished project of Biological Science Department of Bayero University, Kano.

 

Abdul’azeez, A. (2008) Relative Response of two Maize varieties to types, levels and combinations of animal manure applied as organic fertilizer in Northern Nigeria. A P.hd unpublished Thesis of Biological Sciences Department  Bayero University, Kano.

 

Bashir, Y.U. Ibrahim,  A. A., Mohammed, L.K. and Sani, U. (2004) The effect of coconut milk foliar application on the morphology of lettuce (Lactuca Sativa L.) An unpublished N.D. project of Audu Bako College of Agriculture, Danbatta. 20pp.

 

Bruce, N. C. (2013), Coconut water. Dew from heaven File://f:/ coconut water, htm

 

Cambell, K. and Foy, C. (1984). Amaranths: Modern prospect for an Ancient Crop. National Academy Press. Washintong D.C. 60pp.

 

Chadha, K. L. (2007) Hand book of Horticulture. ICAR, Pusa, New Delhi. 341 – 343 pp.

 

Carlsson, T. R., (1984). Amaranth: Modern prospect for an Ancient Crop. National Academy Press. Washintong D.C. 81pp.

 

Chawla, H.S. (2005). Introduction to Plant Bio-technology. Second edition. Oxford and IBH publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi. Pp 17 -18.

 

Encarta encyclopedia (2005)

 

Kochhar, S.L. (1981) Tropical crops, a text book of economic botany. Macmillian, London, pp 255 – 256.

 

Krikorian, A.D. Medios de culture, in: Raco, W.M mrofinski, L.A (edu) (1991): Culture de tejido em la agriculture.centro international de agricultural tropical, 1991 p. 41-77.

 

McGraw, H. (1997) Encyclopedia of science and Technology 8th Edition Vol. 1 R. R. Honnelley and Sons Company, New York. Pp 536 – 537.

 

National research Council, (1984) Amaranth: Modern prospect for an Ancient Crop. National Academy Press. Washintong D.C. 81pp.

 

Norman, J. C. (1992): Tropical Vegetable Crops. Agric pp 187-194

 

Omidiji, M.O. (1978). Tropical Leafy and Fruit vegetables in Nigeria. Vegetables for the Humid tropics.

 

Oyenuga, V.A. and Fetuga, B.L. (1975) Dietary Importance of Fruits and Vegetables. Proceedings of the first National Seminar on fruits and vegetables. University press, Ibadan, 122 – 131pp.

 

Peter, H.R., Ray, F. E. and Susan, E.E. (1992) Biology of plants. Fifths Edition. Worth Publishers, Irving place, New York pp. 551 – 555.

 

Philip, O. A., Kehinde, A.O. and Ganiyu, O.O. (2006) Principles and practices of crop production. BIIM (Nigeria) Limited pp 84 – 87

 

Piexe, A. (2007): Coconut water and BAB successfully replaced  zeatin in olive  (Olea europea L.) micro propagation. Scientific horticulture 113: 1-7.

 

Rice, R.P., Rice, L.W. and Tindall, H.D. (1987) Fruit and vegetable production in Africa. Macmillian Publishers Ltd., Hong Kong. Pp 185 – 188

 

 

Leave a Reply