Effect of Gamma Irradiation on Growth and Post-harvest Storage of Vegetables
Keywords:Ionizing radiation, Mutation, Molecular techniques, Hormesis, Lethal dose, QTLs
Gamma irradiation is the process of exposing subject materials to gamma rays – a type of highly energetic electromagnetic rays – which have extraordinary potentials of penetrating deep into subject materials. Owing to its high penetrability, gamma irradiation is generally used in agriculture for possible healthy mutations in plants and for control of microbial spoilage of agricultural products. Growth, production and post-harvest storage of vegetables- which serve important source of human diet- need to be improved for provision of healthier diets to the increasing population of humankind. Pre-sowing treatment of vegetable seeds (or other propagating organs) with mutating agents such as gamma irradiation may cause a reshuffling of genes associated with quality and quantity controlling traits in both positive and negative directions. These genetic changes give rise to mutant progenies which may exhibit superiority or inferiority in characters over their parent plants. Similarly, post-harvest rot of vegetables during storage due to microbial attack results in losses which may be effectively controlled by the use of gamma irradiation. The aim of this review is to evaluate vegetative growth response of different cultivated plants particularly vegetables to gamma irradiation. Radiation treatment as post-harvest controlling technique of fresh produce is also discussed.