Development of non-narcotic (opiumless and alkaloid-free) opium poppy, Papaver somniferum
Sharma, J.R.; Lal, R.K.; Gupta, A.P.; Misra, H.O.; Pant, V.; Singh, N.K.; Pandey, V.
Plant Breeding 118(5): 449-452
A mutation breeding programme using gamma rays and ethyl methane sulphonate (EMS) was carried out for genetic conversion of narcotic `opium poppy' into non-narcotic 'seed poppy'. Two families contained 31 latexless (opiumless) and 23 partial latex-bearing plants which were identified in the M2 and confirmed in the M3 generations by the 'raypluck' method. Thin-layer chromatography (TLC)-densitometry of powdered capsule hulls (straw) from 22 representative plants also revealed that none of the five opium alkaloids (morphine, codeine, thebaine, papaverine and narcotine) was present in the straw. Six plants also possessed high seed yield (4.0-5.66 g/capsule vs. 3.39 g for control) and seven had a high seed oil content (50.7-53.5%). The best mutant genotype, LL-34 of the family CI-Comb-113-2, with 5.66 g/capsule seeds containing 52.6% oil was designated as cv. `Sujata'. This, perhaps the world's first opiumless and alkaloid-free seed poppy cultivar, offers a cheap and permanent (fundamental) solution to the global problem of opium-linked social abuse. Simultaneously, it serves as a safe and potential food crop with protein-rich seeds and healthy unsaturated seed oil.