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Okra (Abelmoschus spp.) in West and Central Africa: Potential and progress on its improvement

  • West Africa Seed Program (WASP)

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Okra (Abelmoschus spp.) is a traditional vegetable crop with considerable area under cultivation in Africa and Asia with huge socio-economic potential in West and Central Africa. It has been called "a perfect villager's vegetable" because of its robust nature, dietary fibers and distinct seed protein balanced in both lysine and tryptophan amino acids (unlike the proteins of cereals and pulses) it provides. However, okra has been considered a minor crop and no attention was paid to its improvement in the international research program in past. This review describes a general overview of okra's nutritional and economic potential with special reference to its past and recent progress on germplasm regeneration, genetic studies and efforts on genetic improvement in West and Central Africa.
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African Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 5(25), pp. 3590-3598, December 2010 Special Review
Available online at
ISSN 1991-637X ©2010 Academic Journals
Okra (Abelmoschus spp.) in West and Central Africa:
Potential and progress on its improvement
Sanjeet Kumar1*, Sokona Dagnoko2, Adamou Haougui3, Alain Ratnadass4, Dov Pasternak5
and Christophe Kouame6
1AVRDC-The World Vegetable Center/ICRISAT Project, Niamey, Niger.
2AVRDC-The World Vegetable Center, Sub-Regional Station for West Africa, Samanko, Mali.
3 Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN), Niamey, Niger.
4 Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement ICRISAT, Niamey, Niger.
5International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Niamey, Niger.
6AVRDC-The World Vegetable Center, Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Accepted 26 November, 2010
Okra (Abelmoschus spp.) is a traditional vegetable crop with considerable area under cultivation in
Africa and Asia with huge socio-economic potential in West and Central Africa. It has been called “a
perfect villager’s vegetable” because of its robust nature, dietary fibers and distinct seed protein
balanced in both lysine and tryptophan amino acids (unlike the proteins of cereals and pulses) it
provides. However, okra has been considered a minor crop and no attention was paid to its
improvement in the international research program in past. This review describes a general overview of
okra’s nutritional and economic potential with special reference to its past and recent progress on
germplasm regeneration, genetic studies and efforts on genetic improvement in West and Central
Key words: Abelmoschus, genetic improvement, germplasm, okra, West and Central Africa.
To meet demand for nutritionally balanced food for the
world’s increasing population and relieve the intense
pressure on land use and natural resources, plant
species used as food must be diversified (Hughes, 2009).
Inclusion of a wide array of indigenous vegetable species
in cereals-, tubers- and livestock-based agriculture will be
crucial to contribute to food/nutritional security and
income diversification for stakeholders in the subsistence
farming system that predominate in the underdeveloped
and developing world. Therefore, improving the genetic
potential of indigenous vegetables like okra
(Abelmoschus spp.) is of paramount importance. Okra
*Corresponding author. E-mail:, Fax: 227-20734329.
has considerable area under cultivation in Africa and Asia
with huge socioeconomic potential. In West and Central
Africa (WCA), okra is called Gombo (French), Miyan-gro
(Hausa), La (Djerma), Layre (Fulani), Gan (Bambara),
Kandia (Manding), Nkruma (Akan), Fetri (Ewe) and is
among the most frequently and popularly consumed
traditional vegetables. In the African context, okra has
been called as “a perfect villager’s vegetable” because of
its robust nature, dietary fibers and distinct seed protein
balanced in both lysine and tryptophan amino acids
(unlike the proteins of cereals and pulses) it provides to
diet (NAP, 2006). However, okra has been considered a
minor crop and until recently no attention was paid to its
improvement in the international research program
(Duzyaman, 1997). This review presents a general
overview of okra’s nutritional and economic potential with
special reference to past and recent progress on its
Kumar et al. 3591
Burkina Faso
te d'
Figure 1. Okra production (tonnes) in some West Africa countries.
progress on its improvement in WCA region.
Home to about 100 million of the world’s poorest people,
WCA has world’s most fragile ecosystem for agriculture,
yet about 80% population depend on agriculture for their
livelihoods. The WCA region accounts for more than 75%
of okra produced in Africa, but the average productivity in
region is very low (2.5 t/ha) compared to East (6.2 t/ha)
and North Africa (8.8 t/ha) (FAOSTAT, 2006). Nigeria is
the largest producer (1,039,000 t) followed by Cote
d’Ivoire, Ghana and others (Figure 1) (FAOSTAT, 2008).
In the region, okra is traditionally cultivated as a rainy
season crop by women, often on most marginalized lands
easily accessible to them. The region’s soil is low in
organic matter and land degradation is a crucial
challenge to be addressed. With the rapid urbanization
and population growth, market-oriented okra production
is increasing in peri-urban zones. Okra is now cultivated
as an irrigated crop during the dry season, where it is
often produced in mixed cropping with onion and other
crops. On the degraded land, okra has proved to be an
important rain-fed crop along with roselle (Hibiscus
sabdariffa) (Pasternak et al., 2009). A common
intercropping combination in southwest Nigeria is
maize/okra relay cropping followed by watermelon or
bush greens and jute mallow or fodder crop of sweet
potato. Okra is suitable for intercropping with papaya
(Adelana, 1986; Aiyelaagbe and Jolaoso, 1992). In the
peri-urban areas of Abidjan, year-round intensive okra
production is dominated by men, who produce and
supply up to 30% of the market demand (Kouame,
personnel communication).
There are four known domesticated species of
Abelmoschus. Among these, A. esculentus (common
okra) is most widely cultivated in South and East Asia,
Africa, and the southern USA. In the humid zone of WCA,
A. caillei (West African okra) with a longer production
cycle, is also cultivated (Siemonsma, 1982). Plants of A.
manihot sometimes fail to flower and this species is
extensively cultivated for leaves in Papua New Guinea
(Hamon and Sloten, 1995), Solomon Islands and other
South Pacific Islands (Keatinge, 2009). The fourth
domesticated species, namely, A. moschatus, is
cultivated for its seed, which is used for ambretee in India
and several animism practices in South Togo and Benin
(Hamon and Sloten, 1995).
Okra was previously included in the genus Hibiscus.
Later, it was designated to Abelmoschus, which is
distinguished from the genus Hibiscus by the
characteristics of the calyx: spatulate, with five short
teeth, connate to the corolla and caduceus after flowering
(Kundu and Biswas, 1973; Terrell and Winters 1974).
Although about 50 species have been described, eight
are most widely accepted (Borssum, 1966; IBPGR,
1990). There is significant variation in the chromosome
numbers and ploidy levels in Abelmoschus. The lowest
chromosome number known is 2n = 56 for A. angulosus
(Ford, 1938) and the highest are close to 200 for A. caillei
(Siemonsma, 1982). Even within A. esculentus,
chromosome numbers 2n = 72, 108, 120, 132 and 144
are in regular series of polyploids with n = 12 (Dutta and
Naug, 1968).
3592 Afr. J. Agric. Res.
Table 1. Okra’s potential for research and contribution to enhanced livelihoods.
Criterion Potential
General knowledge Okra offers many production possibilities, however, there are limited studies
conducted on okra biology and production due to limited resources devoted to the
species by national and international research institutes.
Citation in literature Out of 100 species described in a popular vegetable textbook of Africa, only three
were important and indigenous; okra was among these three.
Indigenous and general
adaptation Early domestication took place in Africa because of its wider adaptation in the region.
Specific adaptation
(breeding) Fast maturing types would be well-suited to tropical heat, humidity and also to dry
(rain-fed) and hot (Sudano-Sahelian) conditions.
Food and nutritional
Pods contain high amounts of dietary fiber and they are often dried, stored, and
consumed as soup/souse much like a staple food. Half a cup of the cooked pods
(fresh) provides about 10% of the recommended levels of vitamin B6, folic acid and
vitamins A and C. The seed (usually consumed with pods) protein is distinct from
both cereals and legumes.
Market/income security Because it can easily be dried, mould (powder) and stored for long periods (unlike
perishable vegetables), producers, and processors are better able to add value and
take advantage of seasonal fluctuations in price.
Biomass for fuel
Besides pod yield, the foliage and stems can weigh up to 27 t/ha. This biomass is
likely to become useful with fuel prices increasing worldwide and new technologies
promising efficient conversion to liquid fuels. It is worth mentioning that okra stems
generate considerable heat without sparks, excessive smoke, or bad odors.
Others industrial uses The potential for non-vegetable use are: paper pulp, like its close relative kenaf, oil
seed, mucilage, sacks and ropes, bioabsorbent, medicine etc.
*Mostly synthesized from National Academies Press, 2006.
Contradicting evidence exists on the geographical
origin of A. esculentus. One putative ancestor (A.
tuberculatus) is native to Uttar Pradesh in North India,
suggesting that A. esculentus originated in India. The
other evidence is based on the plants cultivation in
ancient times, and the presence of another putative
ancestor (A. ficulneus) in East Africa, suggesting northern
Egypt or Ethiopia as the geographical origin of A.
esculentus. So far A. caillei (2n = 196 to 200) has been
located only in WCA, so this region can be recognized as
its origin and is believed to be amphipolyploids between
A. esculentus (2n = 130 to 140) and A. manihot (2n = 60
to 68).
Potential for enhancing livelihoods
Okra has huge potential for enhancing livelihoods in
urban and rural areas and to several stakeholders (Table
1) (NAP, 2006). It offers a possible route to prosperity for
small-scale and large-scale producers alike and all those
involved in the okra value chain, including women
producers and traders.
Nutritional potential
K, Na, Mg and Ca are the principal elements in pods,
which contain about 17% seeds. Presence of Fe, Zn, Mn
and Ni also has been reported (Moyin-Jesu, 2007). Fresh
pods are low in calories (20 per 100 g), practically no fat,
high in fiber, and have several valuable nutrients,
including about 30% of the recommended levels of
vitamin C (16 to 29 mg), 10 to 20% of folate (46 to 88 µg)
and about 5% of vitamin A (14 to 20 RAE) (NAP, 2006).
Both pod skin (mesocarp) and seeds are excellent source
of zinc (80 µg/g) (Glew, 1997; Cook et al., 2000). Okra
seed is mainly composed of oligomeric catechins (2.5
mg/g of seeds) and flavonol derivatives (3.4 mg/g of
seeds), while the mesocarp is mainly composed of
hydroxycinnamic and quercetin derivatives (0.2 and 0.3
mg/g of skins). Pods and seeds are rich in phenolic
compounds with important biological properties like
quartering derivatives, catechin oligomers and
hydroxycinnamic derivatives (Arapitsas, 2008). These
properties, along with the high content of carbohydrates,
proteins, glycol-protein, and other dietary elements
enhance the importance of this foodstuff in the human
diet (Manach et al., 2005; Arapitsas, 2008). Dried okra
sauce (pods mixed with other ingredients and regularly
consumed in West Africa) does not provide any beta
carotene (vitamin A) or retinol (Avallone et al., 2008).
However, fresh okra pods are the most important
vegetable source of viscous fiber, an important dietary
component to lower cholesterol (Kendall and Jenkins,
2004). Seven-days-old fresh okra pods have the highest
concentration of nutrients (Agbo et al., 2008).
Seed as potential edible oil and flour source
Like soybean oil, okra seed oil is rich (60 to 70%) in
unsaturated fatty acids (Crossly and Hilditech, 1951;
Savello et al., 1980; Rao, 1985). Seed protein is rich in
tryptophan (94 mg/g N) and also contains adequate
amounts of sulfur-containing amino acid (189 mg/g N)
a rare combination that makes okra seeds exceptionally
useful in reducing human malnutrition (NAP, 2006). Okra
seed protein with good protein efficiency ratio (PER) and
net protein utilization (NPU) values is comparable to
many cereals (except wheat) and its oil yield is
comparable to most oil seed crops except oil palm and
soybean (Rao, 1985). Moreover, okra seed oil has
potential hypocholesterolemic effect (Rao et al., 1991).
The potential for wide cultivation of okra for edible oil as
well as for cake is very high (Rao, 1985). Okra seed flour
could also be used to fortify cereal flour (Adelakun et al.,
2008). For example, supplementing maize ogi with okra
meal increases protein, ash, oil and fiber content
(Akingbala et al., 2003). Okra seed flour has been used
to supplement corn flour for a very long time in countries
like Egypt to make better quality dough (Taha el-Katib,
1947). However, long-term rodent/animal feeding trials
would be pertinent before making final recommendations
for wider consumption of okra seed flour.
Mucilage and its potential
Okra mucilage refers to the thick and slimy substance
found in fresh as well as dried pods. Mucilaginous
substances are usually concentrated in the pod walls (not
in seeds) and are chemically acidic polysaccharides
associated with proteins and minerals (Woolfe et al.,
1977). Although nature of the polysaccharides varies
greatly, neutral sugars rhamnose, galactose and
galacturonic acid have been reported often (Hirose et al.,
Kumar et al. 3593
2004; Sengkhamparn et al., 2009). The okra mucilage
can be extracted as a viscous gum using various
procedures. Such diversity in the extraction procedures
seems to contribute to the observed variability in the
mucilage chemical composition (Ndjouenkeu et al.,
1996). Okra mucilage is a renewable and inexpensive
source of biodegradable material. Its physical and
chemical properties include high water solubility,
plasticity, elasticity and viscosity (BeMiller et al., 1993).
Most physical and chemical properties are influenced by
factors such as temperature, pH, sugar and salt contents,
and storage time (Woolfe et al., 1977; Baht and
Tharanathan, 1987). Okra mucilage has potential for use
as food, non-food products, and medicine. Food
applications include use as a whipping agent for
reconstituted egg whites, as an additive in the formulation
of flour-based adhesives, and as an additive in India for
clarifying sugarcane juice. Non-food applications include
brightening agents in electro deposition of metals, as a
deflocculant in paper and fabric production, and as a
protectant to reduce friction in pipe-flow (BeMiller et al.,
1993; Ndjouenkeu et al., 1996). Polysaccharides can be
combined with acrylamide to develop new biodegradable
polymeric materials (Mishra et al., 2008). Potential of
mucilage for medicinal applications includes uses as an
extender of serum albumin (BeMiller et al., 1993), as
tablet binder (Ofoefule et al., 2001) and as suspending
agent in formulations (Kumar et al., 2009). Okra mucilage
is used in Asian medicine as a protective food additive
against irritating and inflammatory gastric diseases
(Lengsfelf et al., 2004).
Germplasm management
The Bioversity International in collaboration with the
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD,
formerly ORSTOM) conducted okra germplasm explo-
ration in several WCA countries from 1982 to 1986. Along
with Asian and African collections, a core collection at
ORSTOM in Montpellier, France was established.
However, active collections from this core are no longer
available for the breeding use. More than 3000
collections along with collections from Asia are
maintained and distributed by National Plant Germplasm
System (NPGS), United States. Nevertheless, the West
African accessions under-represent collections from
countries like Niger (3) and Chad (5). AVRDC – The
World Vegetable Center, in collaboration with its partners,
has initiated countrywide explorations and would like to
continue exploring in un-explored regions. For instance
between 2008–2009, 102 new accessions from Mali,
Senegal, Niger and Guinea have been collected and
regenerated for public use. Varietal data collected and
3594 Afr. J. Agric. Res.
Table 2. List of selected popular okra cultivars in some of WCA countries.
Country Name of cultivar
Senegal Lolli, Indiana, POP-11 (Emerald), Volta, Lima (F
), PoP-12 (landrace)
Mali Yelen, Clemson Spineless, Sabalibougou, Keleya
Cote d’Ivoire Hire, Perkins Long Pod, Koto, Tomi (A. caillei)
Cameroon Clemson Spineless, Volta, Emerald; Gombo Paysan, Gombo Cafeier
Togo Konni (purified landrace), Local (A. caillei)
Ghana Indiana, Saloni (F
), Asontem, Torkor
Nigeria LD 88, Clemsion, Spineless, Lady’s Finger, V-35, White Velvet, Ex-Borno
Niger Konni, Terra (purified landrace), Volta
analyzed on landraces (traditional variety) and improved
cultivars used by farmers from Burkina Faso has
revealed that considerable genetic diversity in the form of
on-farm richness and community evenness is maintained
in landraces (Jarvis et al., 2008).
Genetic improvement
In countries like USA and India, a number of okra
varieties have been developed through breeding efforts.
Many of these were introduced in WCA countries and are
still popular (Table 2). There is a series of very good
reports on genetic studies in okra, especially from Nigeria
by Ariyo and associates. Multivariate analysis of 14
characters (pod yield, branch per plant, leaves per plant,
days to flowering, plant height at flowering and maturity,
pods per plant, edible pod length and width, mature pod
length, duration of flowering, life span, seeds per pod,
100 seed weight) of 30 genotypes collected from different
geographical areas revealed no relationship between
clustering pattern and geographical distribution of okra
genotypes (Ariyo, 1987). Pod yield and several yield-
contributing characters lack stability due to strong
environmental influence, suggesting the need for
breeding for specific environment (Ariyo, 1990). Diversity
in pod shape/size and flowering behavior account for
most of the variation between the genotypes of WCA
origin (Duzyaman, 1997) and scope for further gain in
pod yield per plant is limited because of low phenotypic
and genotypic variability (Ariyo, 1990). To break the yield
barrier in existing genotypes of common okra (A.
esculentus) and breed for different market types, a
hybridization-based breeding strategy would be
Although some of the WCA national agricultural
research system (NARS) and private seed companies
have ongoing okra improvement projects, they have
never been supported through international okra
research. Despite okra’s recognized potential and
significant area and consumption in the developing world
in general and in West Africa in particular, it has been
considered an economically minor crop (Duzyaman,
1997). Commercial okra cultivation in the region
faces many challenges including photoperiod sensitivity
and cold temperatures that limit year-round availability of
fresh pods; shelf-life, fiber/mucilage content, and pest
resistance, especially root-knot nematodes, tomato fruit
worm and begomoviruses. To overcome these
challenges, a long term breeding project was warranted.
Since, 2003, AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center
and its partners, have been introducing, testing and
promoting new cultivars. Efforts are sustained through
pure line selection for high yielding cultivars with high
mucilage content. Three promising lines (Sasilon,
Batoumambe and Safi) are currently being promoted in
Mali and The Gambia. In 2007, okra improvement
activities were initiated at center’s outreach office that
execute AVRDC/ICRISAT joint vegetable breeding
project at Sadore, Niger. In the first phase, about 250
okra accessions representing collections from most parts
of the world were introduced, regenerated, and
characterized for morphological data. The regenerated
species include: common okra (A. esculentus; 175), West
African okra (A. caillei; 45) and other Albemoschus
species like A. ficulneus, A. manihot, A. manihot var.
tetraphyllus, A. moschatus and A. tuberculatus. Although
these accessions mostly represent previous collections
from WCA and South Asia, a few representative
accessions from the Middle East, USA and East Africa
were also introduced and maintained. These germplasm
lines, along with recycled inbreds derived from a popular
hybrid (Lima) in the region are available for use. As okra
has large acreage under rain-fed conditions, our breeding
goal is focused on developing okra lines for both rain-fed
and irrigated production systems. Efforts are being made
to screen germplasm against root knot nematode.
Considering the potential of West African (A. caillei) okra,
we are also developing inter-specific crosses and efforts
to overcome hybrid breakdown barriers is underway, to
facilitate pre-breeding and broadening of genetic base. A
short duration Konni variety selected from a local
population in Niger has been proven to be the “best bet”
so far; it is being mass disseminated in the Sudano-Sahel
under both rain-fed and irrigated conditions (Pasternak,et
al. 2009). Selection and cross-breeding efforts by the
Center have laid out a full-fledged okra improvement plan
for WCA with potential to expand it to Asia. However,
Kumar et al. 3595
Table 3. Potential of recombination breeding involving two Abelmoschus spp.
Species Cytogenetics Contrasting traits
A. esculentus
(common okra)
95% cultivated
Amphidiploid (2n=130-140):
A. tuberculatus or A.
ficulneus (2n-58-60) x
Poor adaptation in humid zone, more susceptible to biotic stresses, less
vigorous, short life cycle (suitable for short rainy season areas), usually day
neutral, cultivated in both rainy (rain fed) and dry (irrigated) seasons
A. caillei (West
African okra)
5% cultivated
Amphipolyploid (2n = 196-
200): A. esculentus (2n=130-
140) x A. manihot (2n = 60-
Better adaptation in humid zone, tolerant/ resistant to biotic stresses, more
vigorous, longer life cycle, mostly photoperiod sensitive, cultivated mainly in dry
achievements made and platforms set up so far need
follow-up to ensure significant and sustained progress.
West African okra (A. caillei) as potential donor
West African okra (A. caillei, also known as Guinean
type) accounts for only 5% of the total world production of
okra (Siemonsma and Kouame, 2004), but it is a very
important crop in tropical areas of Cote d’Ivoire, Benin,
Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana and Togo. This relatively
newly identified amphipolyploid species (Siemonsma,
1982) is known for possessing a gene pool of variation
that may be useful for okra improvement of both
temperate and tropical types (Table 3) (Martin et al.,
1981). A. caillei is gradually replacing common okra in
the tropical-humid region because of its better adaptation
under humid zone and tolerance to biotic stresses
(Siemonsma, 1982). Indeed under very limited and erratic
rainfall in the Sudano-Sahel, earliness of A. esculentus
(being amphidiploid) as compared to A. caillei (being
amphipolyploid) was preferred during early
domestication. In Asia, A. caillei has been utilized as a
resistant source to breed Yellow vein mosaic virus
resistant common okra variety (Nerkar and Jambhale,
1985). The inter-specific cross between A. caillei and A.
esculentus is successful with the possibility of gene
transfer, although the partial hybrid breakdown barrier
must be overcome (Fatokun, 1987). The study on
geographical distribution and extent of natural
outcrossing in Benin and Togo suggests that genetic
integrity of these two species is not threatened (Hamon
and Hamon, 1991).
Molecular markers
Reports on marker development in okra are very scanty
and have been limited to characterization of cultivars. An
agreement between clustering patterns obtained from
morphological traits and molecular markers in
Abelmoschus spp. has been demonstrated (Mortinello et
al., 2001). Ninety-three accessions of common (A.
esculentus) and West African (A. caillei) could be
distinguished using random amplified polymorphic DNA
(RAPD) markers (Aladele et al., 2008). Use of sequence
related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) in marker aided
selection (MAS) for various traits in Turkish germplasm
has been suggested (Gulsen et al., 2007). Recently, 20
okra accessions from Burkina Faso were analyzed using
16 primers designed to amplify SSR regions of Medicago
truncatula. Two accessions were found distinct from the
other 18, based on the presence of an unique 440 bp
fragment generated primer MT-27 and also based on
presence of hairs on fruits and delayed maturity of these
two accessions (Sawadogo et al., 2009).
Biotic stresses
Although okra is considered a robust crop, under large-
scale commercial production, yield losses are very high
due to the incidence of a number of biotic and abiotic
stresses. The most relevant biotic stress of okra is the
leaf curl disease caused by the begomovirus (Okra leaf
curl virus, OLCV) transmitted by the white fly (Bemisia
tabaci). OLCV disease has been found to be more
prevalent in the savannah area than in the tropical-forest
region (N’Guessan et al., 1992). This viral disease is
followed by root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.)
which are major production hurdles, not only in the WCA
but also in Middle-East Asia (Fauquet and Thouvenel,
1987; Atiri and Fayoyin 1989). Serious efforts to screen
germplasm for viral resistance and utilization of
resistance sources are pending. Several pests also
cause serious damages on okra (Table 4), such as the
tomato fruit worm (TFW) (Helicoverpa armigera) the most
destructive pest of okra. The TFW may be controlled by
trap cropping using pigeon-pea borders (Youm et al.,
2005). Such an approach is being followed on okra in
Niger, where the small size of okra fields and the farmer
practice of planting borders of other crops (example,
sesame, roselle etc.) are assets for the adoption of such
a technique (Ratnadass et al., 2010).
3596 Afr. J. Agric. Res.
Table 4. Economically important pests of okra in WCA.
Name (causal agent) Symptom Remarks/control measures
Leaf curl disease
(Okra Leaf Curl Virus,
Green-yellow mottling of leave, turn curved and irregular,
plants stunted and bear yellow or wrinkled fruits with dark
Resistant/tolerant cultivars not available;
weed management and control of virus-
transmitting whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci) using
Powdery mildew
Mainly older leaves, petioles and stems are affected. A
large part of the leaf surface is covered by the talc-like
powder composed of fungal spores. Spores are easily
blown by winds and helps disease to spread.
Selection of field far from source of inoculum;
weed management and application of
selected fungicides
Brownish spots on lower leaves that contain fungal spores;
later leaves become yellow and drop
Weed management to reduce source of
Shoot and fruit borer
(Earias spp.)
Larvae bore into the tender shoots, developing buds,
flowers, fruits and feed on inner tissues. The affected
shoots wither and growing points are killed, damaged buds
and flowers fall.
Use of ash on young larvae
Tomato fruit worm
(TFW; Helicoverpa
Young larvae feed on tender foliage, advanced stage/s
attack the pods and one larva may destroy many pods.
External symptoms appear in the form of a bored hole.
Use of insecticides, neem extract, Bacillus
thuringiensis; weed management; rotations
with non-host crops; trap crops e.g. pigeon
Cotton seed bug
Feeds on okra seeds. Results in considerable reduction in
germination rate Removal of weed and malvaceous hosts near
okra fields
Red spider mites
Colonies of mites can be found feeding on ventral surface
of leaves, resulting in yellow spots on dorsal surface. Use of crop resistance; application of specific
acaricides; weed management
Root knot nematodes
(Meloidogyne spp.)
Plants wilt and appearance of root galls/knots of different
sizes and infected roots also become enlarged and
Weed management; crop rotation and
intercropping; mix cropping or cover cropping
with non host crops
Abiotic stresses
Unlike most of the popular vegetables, okra is
traditionally cultivated as a rain-fed crop in the region.
However, during the initial one month after sowing,
optimum soil moisture is required for good crop
establishment. Okra, being a tropical crop, is also
sensitive to the mild winters of the Sudano-Sahel.
Drought and salinity are major abiotic factors adversely
affecting okra production in the region.
Although the region of WCA has diverse genetic
resources of indigenous crop species, these have not
received sufficient effort for genetic improvement. It is
evident that adaptations to climate change by rural
communities over the past three decades have combined
institutional supports as well as technical fixes like faster-
maturing crop species and cultivars (Vermuelen et al.,
2008). The availability of improved planting materials and
technology pertaining selected crop species like okra
would further enhance livelihoods of the poor. Dietary
portfolio studies to maximize reduction of low-density
lipoprotein cholesterol have indicated that plant-based
diets (rich in viscous fibers) may be an effective strategy
for the prevention of hyperlipidemia. Fortunately, okra
along with eggplant is considered by medical experts as
the most important vegetable sources of viscous fiber
(Kendall and Jenkins, 2004). With expanding research
and developmental programs, AVRDC The World
Vegetable Center and its partners are poised to under-
take long-term research to unlock recognized potential of
okra for food, nutrition and income security not only in
WCA but also in East and North Africa, and several
regions of Asia. Okra’s potential as an industrial crop also
has been tested in the developed world (Camciuc et al.,
1998). The development and use of resistant/tolerant
cultivars against major pests and their promotion is often
a more rewarding and appropriate option for the
sustainability of smallholder. This is especially relevant in
the developing and underdeveloped world, where farmers
often do not have the capability to diagnose pests and
have limited access to good-quality pesticides. In
addition, pesticide abuse leads to adverse impacts on
human and environmental health, and there are
increasing reports on the development of pesticide
resistance in pests. Nevertheless, we fully recognize that
resistance breeding and other management tactics based
on agro-ecological approaches are complementary, and
should not be viewed or considered in isolation. It is not
possible to extend the list of pests chosen to be tackled
through resistance breeding and/or genetic engineering,
nor are all biotic stresses amenable to effective control
via genetic pathways.
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... Only 5% of the total world production of okra is the West African or Guinean type okra A. caillei, whereas the common type okra accounts for 95%. The two are used together only in WCA (10% of world's okra production) (Iwu 2014) and share the market in this region equally (Kumar et al. 2010) since the west African okra A. caillei has gradually occupied locations that were occupied by A. esculentus such as the humid tropic. A. caillei is considered to be better adaptation in the humid tropics and tolerance pests and diseases better (Siemonsma 1982). ...
... A. caillei is considered to be better adaptation in the humid tropics and tolerance pests and diseases better (Siemonsma 1982). When rainfall is erratic especially in the semi-arid zones, precocity of the amphidiploid A. esculentus is preferred to the amphipolyploid A. caillei (Kumar et al. 2010). ...
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Ten okra accessions reported as resistant to aphids were compared in four agro-ecological zones of Cameroon with local varieties used by farmers under field conditions. This study was carried out over two seasons (March - July and September - December 2014) in four locations, representing four Cameroon agro-ecologies. The essence was to evaluate yield performance and test resistance to Aphis gossypii under different agro-ecologies. Aphid populations and yield parameters were evaluated. The R software package metan was activated to do analysis of stability using the multiple environment data. For all data, Breeding Values were predicted using Linear mixed model by performing best linear unbiased prediction on each genotype and for genotype by location interactions. The area under infestation pressure curve was calculated using aphid count data and the values used to estimate mean and standard deviation, and subjected to resistance analysis. For aphid abundance the lowest breeding value (-2.20) was for the Local and the highest (+ 2.33) for the most susceptible improved genotype. Two of the genotypes, Local (the most susceptible) and VI060794 (one of the moderately resistant) had the highest yield prediction per hectare and pods per plant. Dissemination of high-yielding and aphid resistant genotypes such as VI060794 stands the change of alleviating poverty and nutrient security within the sub region of Central Africa through reduction in cost of production from use of pesticide. The superior performance of VI060794 across ecological zones could be integrated in IPM of aphids and breeding to improve the performance of local germplasms.
... Malvaceae, several members of which are widely used in agriculture, forestry, and horticulture, is an economically important plant family within the order Malvales in rosids. The economic importance includes herbal medicines [12,13], fibers [14], gums [15,16], fruits [17], vegetables [18][19][20][21][22], oils [23], beverages [14], timbers [24,25], and numerous ornamental cultivars [26]. ...
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Background Malvaceae is an economically important plant family of 4,225 species in nine subfamilies. Phylogenetic relationships among the nine subfamilies have always been controversial, especially for Brownlowioideae, whose phylogenetic position remains largely unknown due to the lack of samples in previous analysis datasets. To greatly clarify the phylogenetic relationship of Malvaceae, we newly sequenced and assembled the plastome of Diplodiscus trichospermus taxonomically located in Brownlowioideae, and downloaded the allied genomes from public database to build a dataset covering all subfamily members of Malvaceae. Results The annotation results showed that the plastome of Diplodiscus trichospermus has a typical quadripartite structure, comprising 112 unique genes, namely 78 protein-coding genes, 30 tRNA genes and 4 rRNA genes. The total length was 158,570 bp with 37.2% GC content. Based on the maximum likelihood method and Bayesian inference, a robust phylogenetic backbone of Malvaceae was reconstructed. The topology showed that Malvaceae was divided distinctly into two major branches which were previously recognized as Byttneriina and Malvadendrina. In the Malvadendrina clade, Malvoideae and Bombacoideae formed, as always, a close sister clade named as Malvatheca. Subfamily Helicteroideae occupied the most basal position and was followed by Sterculioideae which was sister to the alliance of Malvatheca, Brownlowioideae, Dombeyoideae, and Tilioideae. Brownlowioideae together with the clade comprising Dombeyoideae and Tilioideae formed a sister clade to Malvatheca. In addition, one specific conservation SSR and three specific palindrome sequences were observed in Brownlowioideae. Conclusions In this study, the phylogenetic framework of subfamilies in Malvaceae has been resolved clearly based on plastomes, which may contribute to a better understanding of the classification and plastome evolution for Malvaceae.
... In the Indo-Pak region, it enjoys enormous popularity. (Kumar et al. 2010) The plant is grown around the world in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates. (Singh et al. 2014). ...
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Abelmoschus esculentus L. (Moench), sometimes known as okra, is a very significant crop that is grown all over the world in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate climates. (2022; Chauhan et al. Their leaves are long-petiolated, 10–20 cm long, and have five to seven lobes. Flowers are axillary and range in size from 4 to 8 cm in diameter. They produce elongated fruits with a diameter of 1.5 to 3 cm and a length of 10 to 25 cm. (Ali 2022). Okra growth and yield are significantly influenced by pinching technique. (Sahu and Biswal 2020). Early herbage cutting encourages uniform growth, flowering, and seed germination. The "Effect of pinching on plant growth, yield, and quality of different varieties of okra" is the topic of this study. The practice of pinching, which involves the removal of terminal shoot tips, has been explored as a cultural technique to enhance plant growth, yield, and produce quality in different varieties of okra. This review article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the effects of pinching on plant growth parameters, yield components, and the nutritional and sensory quality of various okra varieties. The review encompasses an in-depth analysis of the underlying physiological and morphological changes induced by pinching across different okra varieties. A synthesis of recent studies highlights the potential benefits and limitations of pinching in okra cultivation, considering the variability in results across different varieties and growing conditions. This review article systematically examines the effects of pinching on diverse varieties of okra with a focus on their growth patterns, yield attributes, and final harvest quality.
... Out of these only Abelmoschus esculentus is cultivated species. It has a chromosome number of 2n=2x=130 (Kumar et al. 2010). It is a versatile crop due to its use as buds, flowers, pods, and stems, dry stems, pods, fresh leaves and seeds (Pradip et al. 2010;Kabir and Pillu, 2011). ...
An experiment was undertaken to evaluate the genetic variability, coefficient of variation, heritability, genetic advance and correlation coefficient among indigenous okra accessions based on morphological parameters. Ten okra accessions collected from different parts of Garo Hills regions of Meghalaya were planted during 2019 at NEHU Tura campus, Meghalaya in random block design with three replications. The Analysis of variance exhibited significant differences among the accession for different characters evaluated. The phenotypic coefficient of variance (PCV) was predominantly superior to their corresponding genotypic coefficient of variance resulting the role of environmental aspects. A high heritability in relation with high genetic advance as the percentage of mean value was observed for plant height. The Correlation studies between various quantitative characters exhibited significant association between parameters. Plant height, number of fruits per plant showed highly positive significant association with fruit yield per plant both at phenotypic and genotypic level. On the basis of mean performance for fruit yield and its component characters from the present investigation 5 superior okra germplasm lines namely T-4, T-6, T-7, T-8 and T-10 were selected as superior and most promising genotypes for the crop improvement programmed in okra.
... Powdery mildew is brought on by Erysiphe cichoracearum, Sphaerotheca fuliginea, and these two organisms are also responsible for its cause. While the latter has just been recorded from Bangalore, the former's sickness is most prevalent in okra-growing regions [34]. ...
Okra belong to Malvaceae family, a commercial vegetable crops. It is extensively distributed in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate parts of the world and is native to Ethiopia. It is essential to human nutrition and a good source of total minerals, vitamins, calcium, potassium, enzymes, and other nutrients that are frequently lacking in developing country diets. Additionally, reports of its medicinal value in treating curingulcers and providing relief from haemorrhoids. Okra has found medical application as a plasma replacement or blood volume expander and also useful in genito-urinary disorders, spermatorrhoea and chronic dysentery. The fruits of okra crop bringing into commercial production have reawakened beneficial interest.
... Latin binomial names for okra are Abelmoschus esculentus and Hibiscus esculentus [4], and it is commonly known as bhindi in India, krajiabkheaw in Thailand, okra plant, ochro, okoro, quimgombo, gombo, kopi arab, kacangbendi and bhindi in South East Asia. However, in Middle East it is known as bamia, bamya or bamieh and gumbo in Southern USA, and lady's finger in England. ...
The present investigation “was carried out at the Department of Horticulture, Gochar Mahavidhyalaya, Rampur Maniharan, Saharanpur affiliated by CCSU, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh in 2019-20. During the study period various treatments were given to accelerate the flowering growth and vegetative parameters of the selected species i.e. Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L) Moench). All the vegetative and fruit yielding and economic parameters shown the positive correlation with the given treatment and it was observed that the T12 (NPK (60:40:40) + Azotobacter + PSB) treatment was the best treatment to gain more output of the selected crop.
... Apart from food value, this crop also has several polysaccharides and other secondary metabolites giving antioxidative and immunity boosting capacity. Although, in previous years, it was grown as a minor crop, and no research programs were held at international platform to improve it (Kumar et al. 2010). However, decreased productive land areas become a serious issue as the growing population needs high yield in limited time and space. ...
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Quercetin is a bioactive natural compound with an antioxidative property that can potentially modify plant physiology. The current investigation aimed to gauge the effect of different concentrations of foliar spray of quercetin (0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2.0 mM) on several morphological and physio-biochemical performances of Abelmoschus esculentus L. (Moench.) plants under normal environmental conditions. The foliar spray on the plant leaves was applied 25 days after sowing (DAS) and continued up to 30 DAS once each day. The plants were sampled at 30 and 45 DAS to monitor several parameters. The foliar treatments of quercetin significantly upgraded all the studied parameters. The results direct that most of the traits such as growth, nutrient uptake, photosynthetic, and enzyme activities were promoted in a dose-dependent way. Quercetin application lowered the reactive oxygen species (ROS) buildup by increasing the antioxidant enzyme activities. Microscopic investigations further revealed a significant enhancement in the stomatal aperture under quercetin application. Out of several doses tested, 1 mM of quercetin proved best and can be used for further investigations.
... According to FAOSTAT, okra covers 2.53 million hectares of land worldwide, with 10.5 million tons of fruit produced in the 2020 crop production year [6]. Okra stands out among fruits and vegetables, especially in developing countries like Ethiopia, due to its numerous nutritional, medicinal, exportability, and adaptability benefits [7][8][9]. Okra fruits are a good source of mucilage, fats, fibres, minerals, ascorbic acid, carotene, vitamins [10], proteins, carbohydrates [11], and edible oil [12,13]. Fresh okra leaves and immature green fruits are used in salads, soups, and stews [14], and dry okra seeds are used to make vegetable curd or as a coffee ingredient, especially in Africa [15]. ...
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Okra is a commercially important vegetable crop that grows in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate parts of the world, but its productivity is hindered by a lack of improved cultivars and delayed and erratic seedling emergence in the field. An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of seed priming treatments on okra genotypes' seedling emergence and fruit yield. In this experiment, Clemson spineless, Arka Anamika, SOH701, 240,207, and 240,586 okra genotypes were primed with tap water, 50% cow urine, 200 ppm GA3, and 0.5% KH2PO4 as treatments, and dry seed of each genotype was used as a control. The experiment was conducted in Dire Dawa by irrigation in a randomized complete block design with three replicates. GenStat software was used to analyse all the data collected in this experiment. Genotype and seed priming treatments significantly affected phenology, growth, fruit yield, and yield-related traits, and their interactions affected the above traits, except for days to seedling emergence and fruit number per plant. Genotype Clemson spineless (5.13 days) and seed primed with GA3 (4.6 days) had the shortest days to 50% seedling emergence, and genotype 240,586 primed with KH2PO4 produced the highest fruit yield per hectare (37.78 t ha−1). So, farmers in the study area are advised to use genotype 240,586 with KH2PO4 seed priming to increase fruit yield. However, research conducted at one site should be repeated at multiple sites in order to make recommendations that are relevant to the country.
Abelmoschus esculentus (Okra) is a plant with several varieties which are consumed for nutritional and medicinal purposes. Its medicinal significance has been reported particularly on diabetes mellitus. This study aimed at investigating the phytochemical quantities of selected varieties of Abelmoschus esculentus fruit extracts. Five varieties of the okra plant fruit were each extracted with methanol (80 %) using Soxhlet extractor. The extracts were concentrated at 30 ∘ C under reduced pressure in a rotary evaporator to a semi solid extract and finally air dried. Phytochemical contents of each of the methanol extracts of selected okra fruit varieties were evaluated. The results of the study showed different yields of extract where NHB-AI-B and Yar kolon okra fruit varieties recorded the highest % yield (22.85 and 17.11 %) respectively. Presence of phytochemicals like phenolics, saponins, Tannins, Glycosides and flavonoids were detected in all the varieties. In conclusion, the study showed that selected varieties of okra fruit extract varied in their quantities of phytochemicals and extract yields.
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Nomenclatural and taxonomic changes in scientific names are discussed for the following crops: Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D. A. Webb (almond); Fagopyrum esculentum Moench (buckwheat); Erythroxylum coca Lam. (coca); Lens culinaris Medic, (lentil); Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench (okra); Carya illinoensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch (pecan); Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. subsp. unguiculata (southern pea or cowpea); Prunus avium (L.) L. (sweet cherry); and Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai (watermelon).
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Sixteen pairs of primers designed to amplify SSR regions of Medicago truncatula were used to amplify genomic DNA samples of 20 different okra accessions collected from different regions Burkina Faso. These primers amplified a number of fragments that range from 1-16 with the sizes of 396-506 bp. Each accession was scored for the presence or absence of the bands and phylogenetic analysis of these data clustered the 20 accessions into five different groups. Two okra accessions were distinctly different from other 18, based on the molecular marker as well as on morphological features of their fruits. One of the primers, MT-27 amplified a unique 440 bp PCR product in these 2 okra accessions. This PCR product was sequenced and based on the sequence information, sequence specific primers were designed to PCR amplify the genomic DNA of all the okra accessions. This pair of primer amplified PCR products only in the two okra accessions where the amplification of the PCR products was seen with MT-27 primers. Our data indicate that cross species SSR primer developed for Medicago truncatula can also be used to analyze genetic diversity in unrelated species, like Okra.
This chapter describes the structure, properties, and applications of aloe polysaccharides, chia gum, flaxseed gum, okra gum, psyllium seed gum, quince seed gum, and tamarind gum. Aloe gel looks like colorless gelatin with hair like connective fibers. It can be obtained by cutting the thick epidermis of the leaf and removing the gel by scraping. Chia seed gum has potential for industrial use because of its slimy properties, evident even at very low concentration. Chia gum begins to emerge from seeds as soon as they are placed in water. Chia gum appears to be contained in the seed coat or the adjacent layer. Chia gum is composed of β-D-xylopyranosyl, α-D-glucopyranosyl, and 4-O-methyl-α-D-glucopyranosyluronic acid units in the ratio 2:1:1. Flaxseed gum—also called linseed gum—is a white, powdery material that hydrates slowly to form a milky dispersion of relatively low viscosity. Okra gum forms viscous, slightly cloudy, pseudoplastic, viscoelastic, and aqueous dispersions that exhibit pituity.
A gum extract from the pods of Abelmoschus esculentus (Ae) was evaluated as granulating agent for sulphaguanidine granules and tablets.The gum was employed at concentrations of 0, 2, 4 and 6% (w/w) and granules and tablets were prepared by the weight granulation method. Properties of granules and tablets evaluated as a function of the gum concentraion include: loose densities, flow rate and angle of repose, hardness and friability, disintegration time and dissolution profiles. Granules prepared with Ae possessed good flow characteristics and the polymer exhibited higher binding capacity in sulphaguanidine tablets than maize starch and gelatin at equivalent concentrations. The gum could be employed as a granulating agent In normal release sulphaguanidine tablets at concentration levels of 2 and 4% (w/w). Beyond these concentrations, sulphaguanidine tablets with relatively prolonged released profile was obtained.
Genetic diversity of 39 Abelmoschus spp accessions was investigated at the DNA level with the random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) procedure and at the phenotypic level with stable and highly heritable morphological characters. Thirty-one random decamer primers were used to amplify DNA by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and 103 RAPD fragments were generated. Thirteen quantitative and 14 qualitative characteristics were measured on the genotypes in field experiments using randomized complete blocks design with four replications. Dendrograms were generated for genetic distance based on molecular data (RAPD) and average distance from the morphological data. Classification of all genotypes based on the two methods gave similar results. It was observed a correlation of 0.62 between molecular and morphological data. On the other hand, the comparison between molecular distance and descriptors generated only by quantitative data showed that the correlation increased to 0.88, demonstrating that the qualitative descriptors had little influence on the genotypic discrimination. The most significant correlation (0.91) was verified between morphological descriptors distance and distance generated by quantitative data. These results showed that the quantitative descriptors and the molecular approach have high potential in the okra germplasm morphoagronomic characterization. This experiment also demonstrated that the investigated genotypes grouping pattern was similar to multivariate analysis.
Underutilized plants often serve a broad range of crucial purposes, especially in isolated, traditional communities. Some of them provide an essential nutritional safety net particularly during periods of food crop failure and times of unrest. In-spite of their labeling as 'foods of last resort,' underutilized indigenous food crops are now receiving wider attention by researchers, farmers, and consumers in developing countries for both their nutritional and market values. Lack of economic alternatives for poor populations, increased human pressure on natural resources, and frequency of extreme weather events also provide motivation for a stronger role for marginally-used species in improving rural livelihoods and reducing environmental degradation. Underutilized indigenous crops often excel in terms of environmental adaptability, low input requirements, fit to specific cropping systems, readily produced seed or propagules, and convenient harvest and post-harvest processing characteristics. Many of them provide excellent sources of protein, minerals, and vitamins to alleviate the 'hidden hunger' of micronutrient malnutrition that affects more than three billion people worldwide. This perception of indigenous crops as healthy food by affluent urban consumers, linked with the growth of urban markets for these crops, provides additional impetus for 'mainstreaming' them as economically-important commodities. 'Heritage marketing' of superior selections is also helping to link small-scale farmers and traders with growing urban markets. Commodity chains are being established that generate new and sometimes lucrative income opportunities for poor farming households in rural, peri-urban, and urban settings and thus alleviating poverty. Such successes are changing national perceptions of indigenous plants as not only important parts of agro-ecosystems and good sources of rural incomes but also as part of the national heritage that can improve year-round nutrition for entire communities. However, it must be noted that many of these species have a range of research and development needs that constrain their widespread utilization.
Thirty okra genotypes of diverse eco-geographical origin were grown in single-row plots in a randomised complete block design. The data collected on 14 characters were subjected to analysis of variance. By multivariate analysis (Mahalanobis D(2) technique), the genetic divergence among the genotypes were quantitatively measured. The genotypes were grouped into five clusters by this technique. There was no relationship between clustering pattern and eco-geographic distribution. The effects of genetic divergence on the choice of parental stock in hybridization was discussed.