The Crop Improvement (CI) division of the Sugarcane Research Institute (SRI) focused mainly on conventional breeding for the development of high cane and sugar yielding, pest and disease resistant sugarcane varieties suitable for cultivation in commercial fields under different agro-ecological regions in the country. The projects, tissue culture of sugarcane varieties and biotechnology research assisted the non-conventional sugarcane breeding in the creation of genetic variability through exploitation of somaclonal variation and classification and identification of genetic variability in development of new sugarcane varieties.
Increase productivity and profitability of the sugar industry through incorporation of better sugarcane varieties for commercial cultivation.
- Collection, conservation, evaluation and utilization of Saccharum germplasm
- Hybridisation of sugarcane to develop varieties with high yields, resistance to major sugarcane disease, good ratooning ability, early, mid and late maturity and tolerance to drought for rain-fed and irrigated cultivation in different sugarcane-growing areas in Sri Lanka.
- Selection of sugarcane clones with commercial attributes, determining proven parents and proven crossing combinations, selecting true hybrids of inter-specific, inter-generic and backcrosses in the nobilisation of wild species and to generate high-sucrose parental stocks through recurrent selection.
- Tissue culture of sugarcane to develop new sub-clones resistant to WLD/GSD and smut from disease susceptible high-yielding varieties, produce disease-free planting materials from newly-released varieties for rapid multiplication by in-vitro culture and lateral shoot multiplication under poly tunnel conditions, and to produce in-vitro-cultured materials for varietal exportation.
- Studying molecular biology of sugarcane varieties to identify genetic relatedness and distinctness among commercial and locally-collected sugarcane varieties (DUS ((Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) testing), confirm the identity of varieties and avoid mixing of varieties, identify true hybrids, Identify the existing markers for high-yielding varieties and disease resistance, and to adopt marker-assisted selection (MAS) in the existing breeding program.
Currently, there are four main research projects are progressing in Crop Improvement division.
CI/23/01: Collection, conservation, evaluation and utilization of Saccharum germplasm
The richness of the genetic resource of sugarcane makes possible conducting crop improvement research with a greater success. The genetic diversity of the sugarcane germplasm collection is enriched for the development of new improved sugarcane varieties with better commercial attributes, such as high cane yield, high sucrose content, resistance to pest and diseases, adaptability to adverse environmental conditions and good morphological characteristics. The genetic diversity of sugarcane germplasm is required to be conserved ex-situ for further use, especially in crop improvement. The Sugarcane Research Institute conserves the Saccharum germplasm collection at the Sugarcane Breeding Station, Enselwatte, Deniyaya, Sri Lanka. It is comprised with 1,659 accessions assembled through foreign and local sources such as commercial and near-commercial sugarcane varieties, progenies of inter- and intra- specific crosses and locally collected accessions through local expedition. Among the basic Sacchurum species; accessions from S. officinarum, S. spontaneum, the related wild genera; Erianthus spp. accessions and an accession of Miscanthus japonica are maintained.
Objectives and targets
- Improvement of genetic diversity of the Saccharum germplasm collection by adding new accessions and conservation of existing sugarcane genetic diversity.
- Assessment of parental worth in Saccharum germplasm for cane and sugar yields and their components.
- Development of core-collections for directional breeding for high yield, high sucrose content.
- Evaluation of imported varieties in different sugarcane growing areas in Sri Lanka.
CI/23/02: Development and selection of new sugarcane varieties
This research project is conducted to increase the productivity by developing and recommending new sugarcane varieties and minimizing the risk of sugarcane crop losses due to biotic and abiotic stress through increasing varietal spectrum in commercial plantations in different sugarcane growing areas. Parental selection, sugarcane hybridization, and variety selection for good commercial attributes are the major steps in variety development program. To make sure the superiority of varieties commercially, the clones are selected based on high cane yield, high sucrose content, moderate fibre content, maturity times, ratooning ability, tolerance to drought, wide and specific adaptability, good morphology and milling qualities using selection indices with multiple trait selection criteria in different stages of clonal selection and finally will be tested for wide adaptability for different agro ecological zones.
Following steps are involving in sugarcane variety development program.
- Development of high yielding, early-, mid- and late maturing sugarcane varieties for different sugarcane-growing conditions in Sri Lanka with the characteristics of good ratooning ability, resistant to pest and diseases (WLD, smut and leaf scald), drought tolerance, and suitable for mechanization.
- Generating high-sucrose genetic stocks to be used as parental clones.
- Improvement of basic Saccharum officinarum population in breeding attributes and commercial attributes along the selection stages for commercial adoption.
CI/23/03: Biotechnological applications for sugarcane variety improvement
Biotechnological interventions hold great promise to address to enhance productivity of sugarcane to improve sugarcane varieties with disease resistance and to improve quality of the crop. These approaches for sugarcane improvement have been applied in Sugarcane Research Institute, Sri Lanka in the areas of tissue culture, molecular diagnostics of sugarcane pathogens, development of genetic maps using molecular markers, molecular testing of plants for variety identification and molecular characterization of various traits.
- Produce disease-free planting materials from newly-released varieties for primary nurseries and produce in-vitro-cultured materials for varietal exportation
- Induce genetic variability of selected sugarcane varieties through callus culture technique with artificial mutagens and evaluation of superior genotypes from mutant plant population
- Evaluation and characterization of sugarcane germplasm accessions using molecular markers to broaden the genetic diversity through directional breeding
- Minimize the time and resources required for maturity testing by adopting the molecular method for testing maturity.
- Identification of QTLs for high sugar content in sugarcane and smut disease resistance.
- Development of marker-assisted selection protocols for high sugar and smut disease resistance
Evaluation of genetic variability of sugarcane varieties through in-vitro mutagenesis in callus culture technique
Meristum culture technique
Gene expression studies related to the sugar content and maturity of varieties
Detection of QTL for sugar content and Smut resistance
CI/23/04: Development and selection of sugarcane varieties for organic farming
This project is initiated to evaluate commercial sugarcane varieties under organic fertilizer and identify suitable sugarcane varieties for organic farming and develop new sugarcane varieties for organic farming system.
Selection of suitable sugarcane varieties for organic farming
Internationally-recognized sugarcane crop improvement program
The sugarcane crop improvement programme of the Institute received international recognition in 2003.
Development of directional breeding system
Proven parent and proven crosses systems have been developed through quantitative genetic experiments and molecular techniques to generate progenies for specific breeding objectives.
Development of efficient progeny selection methods
- Rank-based progeny selection indices for different selection stages were developed using multiple trait selection criteria for efficient screening of clones.
Identification of sugarcane Smut, White Leaf Disease (WLD) and Leaf scald disease resistant gene pools
- The varieties SL 86 13 and SL 92 5588 were identified as the suitable varieties for cultivation in WLD-prone environments
- The varieties SL 86 13, SL 92 5588 and the promising varieties SL 99 3384, SL 89 309 and SL 95 4225 were identified as the suitable parents for hybridization program due to their low incidences of WLD
Devising a high-quality planting material production nursery system with higher seed multiplication rate
This new system involves adoption of sugarcane meristem culture, Lateral Shoot Multiplication (LSM) and spaced planting of seed setts.
Conservation of 1,659 accessions in duplicate plots at Saccharum germplasm maintaining at Enselwatta, Deniyaya, Sri Lanka
This new system involves adoption of sugarcane meristem culture, Lateral Shoot Multiplication (LSM) and spaced planting of seed setts.
Preparation of germplasm catalogue for 500 sugarcane accessions evaluated under NRC funded project (Grant no. 15-030)
Protocol development in tissue culture and biotechnology
- Developing an in-vitro culture protocol for elimination of;
- – Sugarcane Bacilliform Virus (SCBV)
- – Sugarcane Streak Mosaic Virus (SCSMV)
- – Sugarcane White Leaf disease (WLD) from infected sugarcane
- Protocol for in-vitro direct plant generation for sugarcane
Identification of sugarcane streak mosaic virus isolates related to the Indian and Iran strains from locally collected sugarcane accessions and sequence data submitted to the GenBank as SRI-SL1 (GenBank accession no: MK994186.1)
Sugarcane Streak Mosaic Virus (SCSMV) and WLD infected parents can transmit the respective disease through true-seeds
Sugarcane varieties recommended for commercial cultivation in Sri Lanka
|Year of release||Name of the variety|
|2023||SL 03 336|
|2023||SL 03 983|
|2023||SL 03 1025|
|2023||SL 03 1077|
Variety extend of Sugarcane in Sri Lanka (2022)
Ms. A.M.M.S. Perera
- Tissue Culture
- Conventional Breeding in sugarcane
- Perera, A.M.M.S., Wijesuriya, A., Sumedha Thushari, A.N.W., Attanayaka, D.P.S.T.G. and Wijesuriya, N.D. (2023). Evaluation and Characterization of Saccharum Germplasm for Sugarcane Breeding in Sri Lanka. Tropical Agricultural Research (2023). 34 (1): 52-64. http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v34i1.8604
- Sumedha Thushari, A.N.W., Wijesuriya, A., Wijesuriya, B.W., Perera, A.M.M.S. and de Costa,D.M. (2021) Identification of Sugarcane Germplasm in Sri Lanka for Breeding of Varieties Resistant to Smut Disease (c.a. Sporisorium scitamineum). Sugar Tech (Sep-Oct 2021) 23 (5): 1025–1036. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12355-021-00986-4
- Balagalla, D.N., Wijesuriya, A., Ranathunge, N.P. and Perera, A.M.M.S., (2017). A Protocol for In-vitro Direct Plant Regeneration from Leaf Tissue for Micro Propagation of Sugarcane. Tropical Agricultural Research, vol. 29(1): 55-64 (2017), DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v29i1.8297
- Wijesuriya, A., Jayamali, L.B.C., Perera, A.M.M.S., Wijesuriya, B.W., (2017). Optimal Plot and Sample Sizes for Sugarcane (Saccharum Hybrid) Varietal Assessment. Sugarcane Sri Lanka, Sugarcane Research Institute, Sri Lanka. 3: 25-33.
- Balagalla, D.N., Wijesuriya, A., Ranathunge, N.P. and Perera, A.M.M.S. (2016). Near-Optimal Levels of 2,4,-Dichlorophenoxyacetis acid and Indole Acetic Acid for In-vitro Direct Regeneration of Shoots from Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrid) Leaf Tissues. Tropical Agricultural Research and Extension 18(3): 112-116.
- Rathnayaka, R.M.B.S., Wijesuriya, A., Perera, A.M.M.S. and Alwis, L.M.H.R. (2013). Optimal Phyto-hormone Levels for Meristem Culture of Sugarcane (Saccharum hybrid spp.): Variety SL 96 328. Journal of the National Institute of Plantation Management, (2013), 27(02): 44-51.
- Perera, A.M.M.S., Wijesuriya, A., Sumedha Thushari, A.N.W. and Wijesuriya, B.W., Unveiling Indigenous Pure Saccharum officinarum Cultivars for Manufacturing Organic Raw Cane Sugars. First National Research Symposium, Colombo, Sri Lanka. 2022: 55-58.
- Wickramasinghe, K. P., Wijesuriy, A., Ariyawansha, B.D.S.K., Perera A. M. M. S., Chanchala, K.M.G., Manel, D. and Chandana, R.A.M., Performance of Sugarcane Varieties in a White Leaf Disease (WLD)-Prone Environment at Pelwatte. Seventh Symposium on Plantation Crop Research, Colombo, Sri Lanka. 2019: 19-31.
- Wijesuriya, A., Jayamali, L.B.C., Perera, A.M.M.S., Wijesuriya, B.W., Optimal Plot and Sample Sizes for Efficient Assessment of Varieties in Sugarcane (Saccharum Hybrid) Crop Improvement. Sixth Symposium on Plantation Crop Research, Colombo, Sri Lanka. 2016: 45-55.
- Perera, A.M.M.S., Wijesuriya, A., Jayasekara, G.A.U., Ariyawansha, B.D.S.K., and Jayasinghe, W. H., An Assessment of the Size of the Meristem Ex-plants for Elimination of Sugarcane Bacilliform Virus. Fifth Symposium on Plantation Crop Research. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 2014: 63-67.
- Atapattu, D.G.T., Perera, A.M.M.S., Ariyawansha, B.D.S.K., Manel, D. and Wijesuriya, A., Determination of Optimal Phyto-hormone Levels for Sugarcane (Saccharum hybrid s) Meristem Culture Protocol. Third Symposium on Plantation Crop Research, Colombo, Sri Lanka. 2010: 147- 156.
Abstracts/ extended abstracts
- Perera A. M. M. S., Attanayaka D. P. S. T. G. and Wijesuriya A., Characterization of Exotic Parental Varieties of Sugarcane (Saccharum hybrid) by SSR Markers. Wayamba University Research Congress – 2022, Kuliyapitiya, Sri Lanka, 2022: 25-26.
- Perera, A.M.M.S., Wijesuriya, A., Thushari, A.N.W., Attanayaka, D.P.S.T.G. and Wijesuriya, N.D., Evaluation and Characterization of Saccharum Germplasm for Sugarcane Breeding in Sri Lanka. 34th Annual Congress of the Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. 2022: 9.
- Perera, A.M.M.S., Attanayaka, D.P.S.T.G., Wijesuriya, A., Genetic Diversity within Saccharum officinarum Accessions Collected in Sri Lanka. Wayamba University Research Congress – 2021, Kuliyapitiya. Sri Lanka. 2021: 23-24.
- Koshila, H.V.A.S., Hemamali, K.K.G.U., Wijesuriya, A., and Perera, A.M.M.S., Identification of Sugarcane Inter-specific Hybrid Progenies Through Conventional and Molecular M 7th Ruhuna International Science and Technology Conference. Matara, Sri Lanka. 2020: 9.
- Gimhani, T.D.M., Perera A.M.M.S., Wijesuriya A., Abeysinghe, S. and Widana Gamage, S.M. K. Pathogens Associated with Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) Leaf Yellowing and Mosaic in Sri Lanka. 7th Ruhuna International Science and Technology Conference. Matara, Sri Lanka. 2020: 92.
- Jayasinghe, H.A.C.S.H., Perera, A.M.M.S. and Thirukkumaran, G., Screening of Sugarcane Germplasm and Quarantine Station for Sugarcane Streak Mosaic Virus in Sri Lanka. 5th International Conference on Dry Zone Agriculture (ICDA 2019). Jafna, Sri Lanka. 2019:
- Perera, A.M.M.S., Attanayaka, D.P.S.T.G. and Wijesuriya, A., Identification of Parental Combinations and Progenies of Saccharum officinarum and Saccharum spontaneum for Construction of Mapping Populations Using SSR Markers. Wayamba University Research Congress – 2019. Kuliyapitiya, Sri Lanka. 2019: 15-16.
- Koshila, H.V.A.S., Wijesuriya, A., Hemamali, K.K.G.U. and Perera, A.M.M.S., Identification of Interspecific Hybrid Progenies in Sugarcane Crop Improvement. 6th Ruhuna International Science and Technology Conference. Matara, Sri Lanka. 2019:
- Dayasena, Y.A.P.K., Wijesuriya, A., Thushari, A.N.W.S. Chanchala K.M.G. and Perera A.M.M.S., Development of a Fast and Reliable Molecular-Based Detection Method for Sugarcane White Leaf Disease (WLD) Phytoplasma. ISSCT XII Pathology Workshop. Coimbatore, India. 2018:
- Balagalla, D.N., Wijesuriya, A., Ranathunge, N.P. and Perera, A.M.M.S., A Protocol for In-vitro Direct Plant Regeneration from Leaf Tissue for Micropropagation of Sugarcane. Twenty Ninth Annual Congress of the PGIA. Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. 2017:
- Perera, A. M. M. S., Attanayaka, D.P.S.T.G. and Wijesuriya, A., Assessment of Genetic Diversity Among Saccharum spontaneum Genotypes Using SSR Markers. Wayamba University Research Congress – 2017. Kuliyapitiya, Sri Lanka. 2017:
- Balagalla, B.R.M.G.W.D.N., Wijesuriya, A., Ranathunge, N.P. and Perera, A.M.M.S., Plant Growth Regulators for In-vitro Direct Plant Regeneration from Sugarcane (Saccharum hybrid) Leaf Tissues. International Symposium on Agriculture and Environment. Matara, Sri Lanka. 2016: 5.
- Perera, A.M.M.S., Wijesuriya, A., Jayasekara, G.A.U. and Ariyawansha, D.S.K., Assessment of Sugarcane Meristem Culture Procedure for Virus Elimination. National Symposium on Agricultural Biotechnology – 2011. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 2011: 23.
- Ariyawansha, B.D.S.K., Wijesuriya, A., Mane,l D., Silva, M.K.R. and Perera, A.M.M.S., Identification of Sugarcane Varieties for Commercial Cultivation in Agro-ecological Zone IL1c in Proposed Bibile Sugar Project Area. Second National Symposium. University of Ruhuna, Matara, Sri Lanka. 2009: 22.
- Hettiarachchi, P.L., Darmadasa, R.M., Premakumara, G.S., Hettiarachchi, S. and Perera, A.M.M.S., A Preliminary Study on the Taxonomic Status of Munronia pinnata (Wall.) Theob. (Meliaceae) in Sri Lanka. 27th Annual Sessions of the Institute of Biology (IOB), Colombo, Sri Lanka. 2007: 36.
- Ariyawansha, B.D.S.K., Perera A.M.M.S., Chaturanga, A. and Sewwandi, N., Puwath Hasuna, Sugarcane Research Institute, Uda Walawe, Sri Lanka, August 2022: 4-5.
- Kodituwakku, K.A.D., Perera A.M.M.S., Abeyrathne, K.H.D., Economic Assesment of Production of Sugarcane Seed Cane using Meristem-cultured Plants. Sugarcane Research Institute, Uda Walawe, Sri Lanka. 2017.
Any other publications not listed above
- Perera, A.M.M.S. (2022). Sugarcane is a rich germplasm: why not exploit it properly in producing improved cultivars? Hanthana Essence, PGIA congress in brief, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, 2022: 11.
- “Uk waga kereema” (2016). Sugarcane Research Institute, Uda Walawe. 1-3.
- Perera, A.M.M.S., Wijesuriya, A., Sumedha Thushari, A.N.W. and Wijesuriya, B.W., (2020). Sugarcane Germplasm Catalogue e-version. Sugarcane Research Institute, Uda walawe, Sri Lanka.
(This document was prepared using data collected for NRC funded research project No 15-030. Title of the project – Identification of parents for the development of core-collections of sugarcane for breeding for high yield and disease resistance)
- Ph.D. (Reading), Modern Breeding, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka.
- M.Sc, Agricultural Microbiology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
- B.Sc, Special in Botany, University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka
Member of National Science Foundation, Sri Lanka
Mr. K.P. Wickramasinghe