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Pollination Improve Physico-Chemical Properties of Litchi Fruit (Litchi chinensis)

Pollination Improve Physico-Chemical Properties of Litchi Fruit (Litchi chinensis)

Qasim Ali1, Mudssar Ali1*, Muhammad Awais Ahmad1, Asif Sajjad2 and Shafqat Saeed

1Institute of Plant Protection, Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture Multan, Pakistan; 2Department of Entomology, Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan.

 
*Correspondence | Mudssar Ali, Institute of Plant Protection, Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture Multan, Pakistan; Email: mudssar.ali@mnsuam.edu.pk

ABSTRACT

Litchi holds significant importance as a global fruit crop due to its rich content of essential vitamins such as C, B-complex, and flavonoids, which play a crucial role in maintaining a balanced human diet. The process of pollination, a vital ecosystem service, substantially contributes to enhancing the nutritional quality and yield of cross-pollinated fruits and vegetables. To evaluate the impact of bees and syrphid flies on enhancing the physical and biochemical characteristics of litchi fruit, an experimental investigation was conducted in a Litchi orchard situated in Multan, Pakistan. The study encompassed an examination of pollinator diversity and abundance, as well as their foraging behavior, including the time spent and rate of visits. Additionally, diverse pollination treatments were compared, pitting instances of unguided insect visits against scenarios where insects were excluded. This comparison encompassed both physical attributes (such as fruit dimensions, weight, pulp content, and seed count per fruit) and biochemical parameters (including Total Soluble Solids (TSS), Titrable Acidity (TA), pH, and Vitamin C). The pollinator community observed consisted of two species of bees and eight species of flies. Among these, Episyrphis balteatus emerged as the most prevalent insect pollinator, closely followed by Apis florea and Calliphora sp. The highest visitation rate was recorded for Apis dorsata, followed by E. balteatus and Ischiodon scutellaris. Comparative analysis revealed that fruit dimensions, weight, pulp content, and seed count per fruit were notably improved in instances where insect pollination was facilitated, in contrast to cases where no insect visits were allowed. Furthermore, chemical properties were also found to be superior in scenarios involving free insect visits. The study underscored the efficacy of A. dorsata and syrphid flies (E. balteatus and I. scutellaris) in terms of visitation rates. Thus, conserving these insect pollinators bears the potential to significantly augment litchi fruit yield in the Punjab region of Pakistan.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

February

Pakistan J. Zool., Vol. 56, Iss. 1, pp. 01-501

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