Rice landraces of Tamil Nadu –a review
India being a floristically diverse and genetically rich nation is endowed with huge rice germplasm collections. As per the vedic evidences, in olden days about 400 landraces of paddy had been in cultivation in Tamil Nadu which is an agrarian state of India. But due to the introduction of high yielding cultivars these landraces went out of cultivation leading to genetic erosion. However, a few hundreds of landraces are in cultivation in small pockets in Tamil Nadu. So it is our bound duty to conserve the available landraces, sort out the duplications and maintain the identity of the cultivars by the way of precise morphological, biochemical and molecular characterization for the valuable traits possessed by these landraces. According to ancient Tamil literature, some of these landraces are resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses while some others are known for their nutritional and therapeutic values in rice. Landraces of Tamil Nadu origin were extensively studied for their tolerance against abiotic stresses whereas the clinical validation of several of the landraces with nutritional and medicinal value is gaining importance in view of the growing interest of the consumers for a health conscious diet. In this context, traditional knowledge about the indigenous cultivars will help to explore the scientific basis of the nutraceutical values of the traditional cultivars by the plant breeders for sustaining food as well as the nutritional security and for overcoming the future challenges
Biotic stresses, Indigenous landraces, Nutritional value, Rice, Tamil literature, Traditional knowledge
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