Our future fruiters
Artocarpus lakoocha Roxb., Moraceae, is a valuable tropical tree species native to India and used for fruit, furniture, wood and animal feed. Lakoocha fruits are generally eaten fresh. Each fruit contains 20-30 seeds that are fleshy with a thin integument. The edible fruit pulp is thought to act as a tonic for the liver. Raw fruits and spikes of male flowers (acids and astringents) are used in gherkins and chutney (sauce). Lakoocha is also popular for food and wood. Hard wood sold as lakuch is comparable to the famous teak wood. Lakuch, which is durable both outdoors and under water, is used for construction, furnishing, boat making and cabinet making. Tree bark containing 8.5% tannin is chewed like betel nut and is also used to treat skin conditions. It gives a durable fiber good for stringing. The wood and the roots give a sumptuous coloring. Lakoocha seeds and milky latex are purgative.
Seeds contain artocarpines (ALA I and ALA II), isolectins with high haemagglutination activity (Wongkham 1995). However, the agglutinin (ALA) of Artocarpus lakoocha is not organ specific. In addition, the haemagglutination activity of ALA has been demonstrated in various organs of the plant, with the exception of fruit flesh. The highest and lowest activities were found in the seeds (14,400 units / g body weight) and in the leaves (5 units / g body weight), respectively.
BOTANY AND DISTRIBUTION
The genus Artocarpus, Moraceae, consists of jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), lakoocha or monkey (A. lakoocha), chempedak (A. integer), breadfruit or nut tree (A. altilis) and marang ( A. odoratissima), comprises more than 50 distinct species of monoecious evergreen trees (Drew 1997). The compound fruits are derived from inflated capitulas. The species of Artocarpus have high levels of genetic variability, both between and within species. This is evident from the wide range of locally distributed Artocarpus genotypes. The cultivars of the breadfruit are triploid and seedless. Planting Lakoocha takes five years to go into production. The orange-yellow male flowers and the reddish lakoocha female flowers are borne separately on the same trees. The fruits are almost round or irregular, 5 to 12 cm in diameter and have a velvety surface (Figure 1). Lakoocha fruits are dull yellow with a pink hue and a sweet and sour pulp. The fruit yield can be up to 80 kg / tree with a fruit weight ranging from 200 to 350 g
The regeneration and spread of Lakoocha pose a number of important problems: the Lakoocha tree population is gradually decreasing due to low seed viability and extensive exploitation of food, timber and other uses; the seeds, once extracted from the fruit, quickly lose their viability in a week or sometimes even in a few days; and vegetative propagation methods such as the rooting of hardwood or hardwood cuttings have not been successful (Napier and Robbins 1989).