knowledge about coconut - click on a date
for a list of references to publications, etc., for that year.
The "Modern" period starts at the time that the Coconut Time Line editor began to work with the coconut palm; which also coincides with the decline of copra from its place as the premier source of vegetable oil in international trade. Significant events include successful commercial hybrid seed production methods, identification of lethal disease pathogens and vectors, practical application of embryo culture techniques (but no breakthrough in clonal propagation by tissue culture), and promotion of value added products such as sports drinks, virgin oil and biofuel.
Advance Notice – Will 2013 be the year when the long standing question of the origin of Cocos nucifera will at last be resolved? Watch this space!
Germination Rate is the Significant Characteristic Determining Coconut Palm Diversity - This review suggests four regions where diversity has been determined by germination rates. Although recent DNA studies support these distinctions further analysis of genetic markers related to fruit abscission and germination are recommended.
GM coconut – This is the first report of transient genetic transformation of Cocos nucifera and it is the first step toward a protocol that will be useful for the study of the role of genes of interest and for practical applications, such as the improvement of coconut micropropagation via somatic embryogenesis.
Andrade-Torres et al 2011
Lethal yellowing-like symptoms in Papua New Guinea - “Bogia Coconut Syndrome” is the first report of a lethal yellowing-like disease of coconut in Oceania. . . . The discovery of a LY phytoplasma has important implications for the coconut industry as the experience in Jamaica suggests that the disease is capable of destroying almost the entire population of susceptible palms.
Kelly, et al (2011)
Changing times - Sri Lanka plans to import coconuts from India and Malaysia to end shortages and bring down prices. But in the first quarter of the 19th century, according to Fergusin, between 1806 and 1813 Ceylon annually sent to India about three millions of coconuts, 28,000 measures of oil, and 3,500 cwt. of copra, besides 20,000 cwt. of coir – but exported little or no coconut oil to Europe.
Ferguson (1923) "All About The Coconut Palm".
Early, in-field, diagnosis for LY control - Lethal yellowing epidemics might be controlled if infected palms could be identified quickly and eliminated promptly – any delay allows vectors to feed. Attempts at control this disease in Jamaica by “cutting and burning” did not succeed in the 1950s, but have recently been re-adopted. Elimination is now quicker (with power tools and herbicides) but identification must still wait on visual recognition of symptoms (that take days to develop and may have other, non-lethal, causes). A quick, positive diagnosis could make a significant difference.
Tomlinson, J.A., Boonham,N & Dickinson, M (2010) Development and evaluation of a one-hour DNA extraction and loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay for rapid detection of phytoplasmas. Plant Pathology DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3059.2009.02233.x US: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3059.2009.02233.x
Ambiguous genetic relationships - The theory about the Indian and East African origin for the cultivars from the Atlantic and the Caribbean in America has been widely championed but little support has been provided with genetic marker data. Only recently, a genetic study of the ‘Atlantic Tall’ (‘Jamaica Tall’) and ‘Panama Tall’ cultivars along with African and Caribbean coconuts reported dissimilar results depending on the marker system used. . . . Such discrepancies with the same genotypes make it difficult to conclude that any one scenario of coconut varietal relationships is accurate [and] a different model for the domestication and dispersal of coconut cultivars may need to be examined.
Mauro-Herrera et al (2009)
Yet another use as coconut oil takes to the air - Virgin Atlantic, a long-haul airline, flew a Boeing 747 jumbo jet from London to Amsterdam using renewable biofuel composed of babassu oil and coconut oil. No modifications were made to either the aircraft or its engines to enable the flight to take place.
Imperium Partners with Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Boeing and General Electric
Coconut Lethal Yellowing phytoplasma in symptomless weeds - Recognition of weeds as hosts of 16Sr IV group of phytoplasmas in Jamaica has epidemiological significance and suggests that weed control in and around coconuts may benefit disease management over the long term. It also lends credence to the possibility of the existence of another CLY vector other than Myndus crudus which has been known to feed only on monocotyledonous plants.
Brown et al 2007
Bikini islanders sceptical of plans to clean up atoll - Already victims of one nuclear experiment, the people of Bikini Atoll are understandably reluctant to get involved in another. The islanders are sceptical of the latest plans to reduce the dangers of a homeland beset with radioactive contamination. The US evicted all 167 residents of the central Pacific atoll in 1946 and tested 23 nuclear bombs in the area over the subsequent 12 years. The largest of these blasts was a 15 megaton test on 1 March 1954, code-named Bravo. The atoll was badly contaminated by fallout. To encourage the remaining islanders and their descendants to return, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have been investigating ways to prevent the caesium-137 in the soil from accumulating in the islanders' food. Potassium applied at 300, 660, 1260, and 2070kgha-1 lead to a 137Cs concentration in drinking-coconut meat that is 34, 22, 10, and about 4% of original concentration, respectively. Concentration of 137Cs remains low 8-10y after K is last applied. An explanation for this unexpected result is discussed.
Robison et al (2006) Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 88 (3) 251-266. [30 June 2006 NewScientist.com news service]
Cocoeae becomes Cocoseae - a new phylogenetic classification of the palm family
Dransfield, et al, Kew Bull. 60, 559-569.
Fruit Component Analysis validated - Morphological variation of the coconut fruit measured in situ has been used to estimate genetic diversity, and generate hypotheses about the evolutionary and geographical diffusion of coconut. Some authors have questioned the validity of this methodology due to the possibly high effect of the environment on the morphological characteristics of the fruit. The general aim of this study is to validate this methodology through: (1) characterizing the pattern of morphological variation of the fruit under homogeneous growing conditions ex situ; (2) comparing this pattern with those already reported in situ; (3) estimating the heritability values for the components of fruit in coconut. Consistency was found between patterns of morphological variation of fruit ex situ and in situ, and those obtained using iso-enzymatic and molecular characteristics. The results are also consistent with hypotheses on the origin and diffusion of the germplasm We conclude that morphological characterization of the coconut fruit in situ is useful to estimate its genetic variability because of its simplicity, speed and ease of application in the field and in remote areas.
Zizumbo-Villarreal, D., M. Fernández-Barrera, N. Torres-Hernández, and P. Colunga-GarcíaMarín. 2005 Morphological variation of fruit in Mexican populations of Cocos nucifera L. (Arecaceae) under in situ and ex situ conditions. Gene. Resour. Crop. Evol. 52: 419-432.
Closest genetic relative - In this study, molecular data alone suggest that the wild progenitors of the coconut were from South America, and that coconuts did not originate in the western Pacific as currently accepted. Genetic relationships suggest that coconut may be the only extant member of its lineage. Fossil evidence of Cocoeae fruits (2-45 mya) from Australia, New Zealand and India are used to estimate times of divergences of its relatives. Geological dates imply that the coconut was present before the advent of humans. This eliminates any action of humans in its original distribution.
Gunn, B. (2004) The closest genetic relatives of the coconut (Cocos nucifera). 9th International Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology. University of Kent at Canterbury.
Coconut shells are porous - In the absence of the required literature, we therefore decided to perform our own experiments. The procedure was simple. We purchased a coconut and sawed it in half. (The cut was made along the equator with the “eyes”of the nut positioned at the North Pole.) We removed the meat from one half of the coconut but not from the other and placed both halves of the coconut in the tops of two measuring jugs (a typical coconut fits nicely into the top of a typical jug). We then filled both hemispherical shapes with water and waited. The results were unequivocal and surprisingly repeatable: no water ever passed through the coconut half where the meat remained, but the half where the meat had been removed leaked water at a rate of about 20 ml in 4 days.
Fitt, AD & Please, CP (2004) On the Separation of Coconuts: A Modeling Week Study. SIAM Review [Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics] 46(1) 128-139.
A resistant population of Atlantic Tall - a population of Mexican Atlantic Tall resistant to lethal yellowing disease, closely related to West African Tall and distantly related to yellow Malayan Dwarf.
Cardeňa et al (2003) Identification of RAPDs associated with resistance to lethal yellowing of the coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) palm. Scientia Horticulturae 98(3) 257-263.
Aswan, Egypt - Did a military hero plant coconuts on an island in the Nile?
Harries, Foale & Leach (2003) Kitchener's coconuts. Palms and Cycads (PACSOA) 76, 3-9.
Coconuts are inexpensive US$1- Since recent patch-clamp work has challenged the dogma that nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) are freely permeable to small particles, a preparation of isolated living nuclei in their native liquid environment was sought and found: the syncytial nuclei in the water of the coconut Cocos nucifera . . . This study shows, for the first time, that living NPCs engaged in NPC-mediated macromolecular transport do not transport physiological ions - a phenomenon that explains observations of nucleocytoplasmic ion gradients. Since coconuts are inexpensive (less than US$1/nut per litre), this robust preparation may contribute to understanding of NPCs and cell nucleus and to the development of biotechnologies for the production of DNA, RNA and proteins.
Bustamante (2002) Eur J Physiol 444: 286-290
A most expensive coconut shell £71,700 - Lieutenant William Bligh's coconut cup from the voyage in the ship's boat from Tofoa to Timor, Tuesday 28 April 1789 - Sunday 14 June 1789; signed and dated 'W Bligh April 1789' (the initials and date incised), inscribed 'The Cup I eat my miserable allowance of' around the outer rim, with inscription '263 The coconut out of which Bligh eat his bread and water. Mrs. Nutting, Beansale, Warwick' on a 19th-century museum label numbered '1086' tied to the coconut; approx. 4in. (10.2cm.) high; approx. 5in. (12.7cm.) diameter (4). Sold for £71,700 at Christies on 26 September 2002.
Time Line - a freely accessible knowledge base developed from
more than four thousand citations in databases existing in 2001,
listed alphabetically within year, regularly updated, partially
annotated and cross-referenced (over 10,000 entries as of
About This Site
Coconut palms appear to be unusually sensitive to electromagnetic fields - Leaves growing within 30 to 60 cm of power lines typically exhibit chlorosis or necrosis at the leaf tip and can even die from this disorder. Leaves do not have to be in physical contact with the power lines for injury to occur.
Broschat TK, Meerow AW (2000) Ornamental Palm Horticulture. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Heavy water? Natural tritium levels in tender and ripe coconut fruit.
Narayan, K.K., Deo,J.V. & Abani,M.C. (2000)
Centre for Information on Coconut Lethal Yellowing (CICLY) - the first internet web site and discussion group devoted to coconut. It is intended to act as a clearing house for information about lethal yellowing and similar diseases of coconuts and other palms. Lethal yellowing is a phytoplasma disease and susceptible coconut palms die within 3 to 6 months of the first symptoms. Millions of coconut palms in the Caribbean and on the Atlantic coasts of Central and South America are at risk because the common variety is highly susceptible. Diseases with a phytoplasma aetiology also occur on coconut palms in West and East Africa. Phytoplasma have been associated with coconut diseases in southeast Asia, from where resistant varieties are also known.
More background information can be found at the discussion group page CICLY discussion group
Coconut carries the can - An article in the Far Eastern Economic Review blames coconut planting for massive deforestation in the Philippines. The writer, quoted below, does not seem to realise that the deforestation was caused by a demand for building materials and firewood. The coconut was planted to replace the forest because, at that time, it provided a reliable source income for the farmer. And the economists at that time were the first to encourage the farmers.
Coconut exports bring the Philippines lots of foreign exchange, and it is very important to its income. Coconut planting, however, results in massive deforestation, and due to the fact that coconut trees dominate in certain areas, the ecosystem must be changed. "But perhaps the most destructive legacy of the West's demand for coconut oil is the Philippines' poverty and economic underdevelopment." Even if the Philippines has got profits from coconut exports, the profits go to traders and exporters, not a third of the country's population, farmers. Now, "the value of coconut oil has fallen in real terms through the decades, partly as a result of increased production of substitutes such as American and Chinese soybean and cottonseed oil as well as sunflower-seed oil from the former Soviet republics." Tiglao concludes that "[e]ven now, the country faces tremendous problems that emerged a century ago, because of the West's cravings for soap and margarine."
Tiglao, R. (1999) Roots of Poverty, Far Eastern Economic Review 162 : 63-65
Coconut phytoplasma in SE Asia - The association of phytoplasma with two wilt diseases of coconut in Indonesia might be seen as a threat to the Asian & Pacific regions because epidemic phytoplasma diseases of coconut in America and Africa are spreading out of control. Yet research has already suggested that these diseases originated in the Far East, where resistant varieties can be found.
H.C. (1998) On the common origin in Southeast Asia of phytoplasma
associated diseases of coconut. CORD 14(1), 1-25.
Allorerung, D., H.C. Harries, P. Jones & S. Warokka (eds) (1999) Proceedings of the Workshop on Lethal Diseases of Coconut caused by Phytoplasma and their importance in Southeast Asia. APCC.
Coconut and the "tropical oils" scandal - The American edible oil industry sponsored "information" to educate the public . . . Not being domestically grown in the U.S., coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil were not around to defend themselves . . . and by the mid-1980s, American food manufacturers and consumers had made major changes in their fats and oils usage - away from the safe saturated fats and headlong into the problematic trans fats. Enig and Fallon (1998/1999) have reviewed the above history in "The Oiling of America" published in the Australian magazine Nexus.
Oiling of America
Disease resistance breeding - it is argued that the coconut palm-phytoplasma disease relationship calls for a pragmatic strategy in which simple, block plantings generate both the test material for field exposure trials and the seednuts and pollen of resistant selections for direct use in the rehabilitation programmes. The more complicated strategy of small, replicated trial plots does not screen resistance realistically and cannot provide source material directly to rehabilitation programmes . . . Disease screening must be done under conditions that match the farming systems that will apply to the rehabilitation programme . . . Research into disease resistance must be directed FIRST to establishing realistic rehabilitation programmes and SECOND to generating new scientific knowledge; these roles often seem to be reversed.
Harries H.C. (1999) Breeding phytoplasma disease resistant coconuts: alternative strategies for field exposure trials. Proceedings International Cashew & Coconut Conference, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (1997).
Spread of LY disease - first report of coconut lethal yellowing disease in Honduras.
Ashburner, G.R., Cordova, I.I. & Oropeza, C.M. Illingworth, R. & Harrison, N. 1996. Plant Disease 80: 960.
Moruroa - A team . . . conducted in 1996 a research on the effects of the French nuclear tests on the health and well-being of former test-site workers and islanders living in the vicinity of Moruroa and Fangataufa (the sites where the tests were carried out) . . . [an] inconsistency was the prohibition during the period of atmospheric tests to drink the water of the coconut, suggesting that the soil could be contaminated by radioactivity. Also the coconuts were removed from the trees, allegedly to prevent falling coconuts from causing accidents.
Documentation and Research Centre on Peace and Conflict (1996)
Evolution of Crop Plants (extract): In the past it was wrong to call the coconut palm a lazy man's crop. It needs so much manual labour. But now, it is right to call the copra trade a sunset industry. Copra sales can no longer pay for coconut research and development. If the coconut is to enter the 21st century as anything more than a subsistence crop its economic base needs to be redefined. The coconut palm is an environmentally friendly energy source. It is natures' own drinking water desalination plant. In remote locations it converts solar energy into diesel fuel. It can save wetlands, by substituting coir dust for peat moss. It is an ideal agroforesty plant for tropical coastlines, especially if global warming raises sea levels as predicted. These applications do not jeopardise the existing markets for standard products like coconut oil and desiccated coconut. Indeed, those markets will only benefit from a resurgence of interest in the coconut palm's other uses.
Harries, H.C. Coconut. In: J. Smartt & N.W. Simmonds (Eds) pp.389-394 (second edition). London, Longman
Coconut Industry into the 21st Century - APCC encourages initiative
Workshop on Standardization of Coconut Breeding Research Techniques - COGENT discourages initiative
Nata de Coco - a chewy, translucent, traditional Philippine dessert which is a gel product prepared from coconut water by bacterial fermentation. In 1992, this dessert was introduced to Japan as a diet food. It was believed to protect the body against colon cancer and it became a boon for slimmers. Nata de coco is high in fiber, good for the digestive system, low in calories and contains no cholesterol. Its peak moment of popularity in Japan occurred in 1993. Nata de coco could be found everywhere at that time. The nata de coco boom was a stroke of luck for the Philippines. The cottage industry attracted many Filipino workers because making nata de coco is simple; it does not take high-tech machinery and a lot of money to produce. In Los Banos, a major producing area, the crime rate dropped dramatically, because the people committing crimes were working to make nata de coco. However, the production of nata de coco could not catch up with its demand in Japan and, after the nata de coco boom in Japan was over, people moved to another dessert. As a result of this, many problems have arisen in the Philippines.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - a coconut palm (Golden Dwarf) flowered for the first time in the Palm House
Coconut Genetic Resources Network (COGENT) established by the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources
Cryopreservation of mature embryos of coconut (Cocos nucifera L) and subsequent regeneration of plantlets.
Assy-Bah, B & Engelmann, F. CryoLetters 13, 117-126.
DNA probes for the detection of MLO associated with LYD of palms in Florida.
Harrison, NA, Bourne, CM, Cox, RL, Tsai, JH & Richardson, PA Phytopathology 82(2) 216-224
Priority - "Coconut production: Present status and priorities for research". World Bank Technical Paper - the title of this report accurately reflected the World Bank's priority for coconut research - it took about 5 years to produce the document
Domestication theory - At one time it was thought that the ancestors of modern Cocos nucifera reached the Western Pacific area by long distance dispersal along a southern route from America, with a fossil (Cocos zeylandica) in New Zealand as a remnant of such a pathway. The concept of a southern route is an unnecessary complication. An origin for the whole Cocoeae tribe in western Gondwanaland seems most compatible with the present day distribution. The tribe probably differentiated shortly before the break up of that super-continent. Members radiated and became very diverse in the Americas; some rafted on the African and Madagascar Plates, where they survive to the present day; others rafted on the Indian plate, where they are now extinct. With its ability to float the coconut became independent of plate tectonics for its dispersal. The wild type evolved by floating between the volcanic islands and atolls where these fringed the continental plates and not on the lands masses at all. Islands in the Tethys Sea could have been the ancestral home of the coconut, from where it dispersed by floating to other islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans but not into the Atlantic. It would also have floated to continental coastlines but would have stood less chance of surviving competition from other plants or predation by animals until domesticated by early man. The continental coast and larger islands of Malesia was the site for such domestication long before both wild and domestic types were taken into agricultural cultivation.
Harries, H.C. (1990) Malesian origin for a domestic Cocos nucifera. In P.Baas et al (eds) The Plant Diversity of Malesia 351-357
Forest coconut, Madagascar
Dransfield, J. (1989) Voanioala (Arecoideae; Cocoeae; Butiinae) a new palm genus from Madagascar. Kew Bull. 44 (2) 191-198
Makapuno Island - Large scale monoculture of homozygous recessive makapuno coconuts by the Bangkok Flowers Centre Co., Ltd. started in 1987, by culturing embryos excised from makapuno nuts that were collected from heterozygous makapuno coconut palms (known as Maphrao Kathi) from throughout eastern Thailand and from Samut Songkhram down to Prachuap Kirikhan province. Altogether, some 60,000 makapuno embryos were cultured, using the embryo rescue techniques first achieved in the Philippines by Emerita de Guzman and subsequently developed by Linda Rillo. Within 6-8 months, the embryos had produced shoots with 3-5 leaves and good root systems. They were then deflasked and 2,500 plantlets were transplanted to a nursery for 4-5 months, reaching a height of about 50-70 cm.
The embryo rescued plants were planted from August 21, 1988-December 31, 1990 on what is called Makapuno Island . . . an island created when the Thai government constructed Vachiralongkhorn dam in a deforested area of Thongphaphum district, Kanchanaburi province near the Burmese border. When the valleys were submerged the mountain peaks turned into islands. With all the large forest trees and any coconut palms on the island destroyed, the embryo-rescued Makapuno palms were planted in isolation. No stray coconut pollen reaches the island because of the distance across the water barrier, so that all the palms produce 100 percent Makapuno fruits.
Uithai Charanasri (1993) Large Scale Monoculture of Homozygous Recessive Makapuno Coconut Trees. Proc. 31st Ann. Conf. Kesetsart University, Bangkok; 3-6 February 1993.
Coconut Bill - Of all the throws to rain down from the many floats in the New Orleans Mardi Gras carnival parade, the Zulu coconut or "Golden Nugget" is the most sought after. The earliest reference to the coconut appears to be about 1910 when the coconuts were given from the floats in their natural "hairy" state. Some years later there is a reference to Lloyd Lucus, "the sign painter," scraping and painting the coconuts. This, in all likelihood, was the forerunner to the beautifully decorated coconuts we see today.
the proliferation of lawsuits from people alleging injury from thrown
coconuts, the organization was unable to get insurance coverage in
1987. So that year, the honored tradition was suspended. After much
lobbying, the Louisiana Legislature passed SB188, aptly dubbed the
"Coconut Bill," which excluded the coconut from liability
for alleged injuries arising from the coconuts handed from the
floats. On July 8, 1988, then-governor Edwards signed the bill into
History of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, Inc.
Embryo culture - practical application.
Assy Bah, B., Durand-Gasselin, T. & Pannetier, C. (1987) Use of zygotic embryo culture to collect germplasm of coconut (Cocos nucifera). Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter 71, 4-10.
Virus - Association of single-stranded DNA with the foliar decay disease of coconut palm in Vanuatu..
Randles, J.W., Julia, J.F., Calvez, C. & Dollet, M Phytopathology 76, 889-894.
Roots - The distribution and morphology of thee roots of 5, 11 and 13 year old Nigerian Tall coconuts in fields at Nifor Main Station and Badagry on sandy and clay-loam soils respectively were studied by direct examination.
Quantitative estimate of the distribution of the roots laterally and vertically showed that the mass of primary roots were significantly higher than roots of the other orders. The primary roots had zones of concentration laterally and vertically which were significantly different , while the distribution of the secondaries and combined tertiatries and higher order roots showed no significant differences either laterally or vertically between the 12 distance and four depth intervals studied except at the 0-30 cm depth in the 13 year old palms in which the tertiaries and higher order roots combined had significantly higher concentration than at other depths.
Root production in the five year old palms showed that significantly more roots were produced under Pueraria phaseoloides and Centrosema pubescens covers than under bare soil condition.
In the mature palms, the results suggest that up to the distance 3.6m investigated, the zone of fertilizer placement may not be critical. For the young palms, however, application should be restricted to about 0.6m radius for efficient utilisation by the palms. In both young and adult palms, surface application by broadcasting or incorporating to a depth not exceeding 60 cm, particularly slopy (sic) areas is recommended to enhance efficient utlisation.
Omoti, Amalu & Ataga (1986)
Mexico - the arrival and spread of lethal yellowing on mainland, continental America.
Pina-R., J. & Carrillo-R, H. (1985) Distribution and propagation of lethal yellowing of coconut palm in the State of Quintana-Roo, Mexico. Ann. Meet. Am. Phytopath. Soc. (Caribbean Div.) Phytopath 76, 376.
Coconuts in swampy soil - Due to inundation of the soil during high tide coconuts do not develop an efficient root system under swampy conditions ... When the tip of (main) root strikes permanent water table it starts rotting. To compensate for such a death of the functional portion of the main root, branch roots develop from (the tip below - surely above) the rotting portion of the main root. Also new roots develop from bole and stem . . . Coconuts in swamps produce a much larger number of main roots which are much shorter. Their tips rot frequently inducing the growth of numerous branch roots.. The abundant rootlets developing from the main roots ramify into a root matting one metre from the bole. Also in such palms superabundant pneumatophores or respiratory organs develop on the roots closer to the bole. Dampness and waterlogging induce the production of respiratory organs confirmed by subjecting young seedlings to those conditions when they responded quickly.
Davis, T.A., Sudasrip, H. & Darwis, S.N. (1985) Coconut Research Institute, Manado.
Early coconut remains from the South Pacific
Spriggs, M.J.T. Polynesian Society J. 93, 71-77.
Self-sown, wild type coconuts in Australia & the Philippines
Buckley, R. & Harries, H.C. Biotropica 16, 148-151 & Gruezo, W.S. & Harries, H.C. Biotropica 16, 140-147.
Coconut plantlets from leaf tissue culture - unfortunately, this claim was never substantiated or repeated.
Nambiar & Thankamma Pillai, Journal of Plantation Crops 12(1) 75-91.
The Coconut Wireless - a monthly journal covering coconut processing developments, was started in Spring 1983 and continued for 106 issues until February 1992. With a running sub-title starting at “Year ONE of the Coconut Revolution” and a price tag of $2 per issue, the publisher and editor, Allan Hansvold, wrote about the “Modernization of the Coconut Industry” with a very personal style in a typewritten, newspaper column format. On his first “In a Nutshell” Op-Ed Page he foresaw “electronic messengers . . . rapidly replacing the postcard and letter” and under the heading “Editor's Comment” he said build up industrial outlets for coconut chemicals, phase out copra making and quit trying to compete head to head with the soybean industry in the food markets.
Thanks to Dennis Johnson, who has the complete set of “Coconut Wireless”
Myndus taffini vecteur du deperissement foliares des cocotiers au Vanuatu.
Julia, J.F. Olagineux 37, 409-414.
Hop stringing - "Although experiments have been carried out with polypropylene string, coir is still generally used because it stretches a little when wet, thus taking more strain when it is most needed, and shrinks in drying, tightening up the whole system. Its hairy surface is perfect for the hairs on the hop bines and leaves to grip".
Filmer, R (1982) Hops and hop picking. Shire Publications 1998
Agro-forestry in the African Humid Tropics - Edited by L. H. MacDonald. Proceedings of a Workshop Held in Ibadan, Nigeria, 27 April - 1 May 1981 NRTS-17/UNUP-364. The United Nations University, 1982. Found on the internet, this publication has an extensive bibliography which used an earlier (1983) version of the original Coconut Time Line database.
The antiquity of the coconut in Western Borneo.
Harries, H.C. J. Sarawak Mus. XXXIX (50), 239-242.
Germination and taxonomy of the coconut palm.
Harries, H.C. Ann. Bot. 48, 873-883.
Further proof that Myndus crudus is the vector of lethal yellowing
Howard, F.W. & Thomas, D.L. (1980) Transmission of palm lethal decline to Veitchia merrillii by planthopper Myndus crudus. J. econ. Ent. 73, 715-717.
Nuts to the Garden of Eden
Harries, H.C. Principes 23, 143-148.
Coconut Breeding: a review of work since 1972 - The common coconut, or tall, is known to be quite variable. The lack of uniformity, between the palms from each country, means no Cocos nucifera is typical var. typica. Instead, two types identify - the Niu kafa and the Niu vai. The first evolved to float, not sink, the second, man selects to drink and, on the prehistoric shore, this helped develop hand and jaw. Which of the two predominate, on beach, small farm or large estate, can be determined, any day, by a statistical survey that, with appropriate precautions, analyses fruit proportions.
Variability is expressed where the two types have introgressed. Technically, in genetics, to introgress just means genes mix. Compare the data and proceed to choose the palms from which to breed. Domestic or industrial use for copra, oil or the juice as a refreshing drink, can be decided on more rationally when all concerned appreciate that there is more to nuts than weight.
As for the dwarf, it will be found, in four years to fruit near the ground. Give weed control and fertilize and people may not recognise, in thirty years, dwarf palms that all are up to fifteen metres tall. But better still, the breeders claim, are hybrid sorts, in which the aim is to combine the best of each. These types are now within our reach by Mascopol or, en francais, pollinisation assiste. Grow dwarf palms in isolation, daily make emasculation, from other palms take pollen and blow it or dust it on by hand. Pollen for long distance dispatch is dried and sent in vacuum packs.
Disease susceptibility must also have priority. If resistance, say to MLO, evolved thousands of years ago then palms and their diseases are in active equilibria. This means disease is still around though epidemics are not found, and where the balance is upset recurrent outbreaks may be met. Despite the best intentions, this may be the breeders' nemesis. Those who wish to can arrange a way to minimise the danger. Where introgression has occurred local selections are preferred to imports, under quarantine, with all the problems these may mean.
The benefits that can accrue from work that the plant breeders do will not ensure a higher yield, unless the farmer in the field, improves cultural management. For that you can some verse invent.
Niu Haari (1979) Coconut Breeding: a review of work since 1972
Evolution theory - The evolution, dissemination and classification of the coconut can be considered as a logical sequence. First came the natural evolution and dissemination by floating of a variety with large, long, angular, thick-husked and slow-germinating fruit. It had a theoretical range anywhere between the east coast of Africa and the west coast of America, wherever currents were favourable. From this type, selection under cultivation produced a spherical-fruited variety, not necessarily larger but with increased endosperm, reduced husk thickness, earlier germination and disease resistance. Man came to rely on this coconut for food, drink, shelter and fuel, the basic necessities of life. Although not suited for dissemination by floating, it was taken long distances by boat, reaching initially as far west as southern India and Sri Lanka and as far east as the Samoan Islands. Subsequently, hybridisation and introgression of the two contrasting forms gave the wide range of varieties and pan-tropical distribution seen today. A classification system in which the varieties are identified by the degree of introgression (based in the first place on fruit component analysis) is described. This in turn allows a suggestion to be made concerning the location of the much-debated centre of origin for Cocos nucifera.
Harries, H.C. 1978 The evolution, dissemination and classification of Cocos nucifera. Botanical Review 44: 265-320.
Fungi INSIDE unopened nuts
Puspasendjoj, N. & Christensen, C.M. (1977) Fungus flora of coconuts. Turrialba 27, 255-258.
Mycoplasma-like organisms associated with coconut palms in West Africa.
Dabek, A.J., Johnson, C.G. & Harries, H.C. PANS 22,(3) 354-358.
Viroid - Association of two ribonucleic acid species with cadang-cadang disease of coconut palms.
Randles, J.W. Phytopathology 65, 163-166.
Pollination of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) in Jamaica by honeybees and wasps.
Free, J.B. & Williams, I.H. App. Animal Ethology 1, 213-224.
Dissemination - "Inland every [coconut] tree owes its existence to man; on the coasts most of them do so."
Child, R. (1974) Coconuts (second edition) Longmans, London.
Embryo culture - The growth and development in soil of Makapuno seedlings cultured in vitro.
de Guzman, E.V. & del Rosario, A.G. NRCP Res. Bull 29,16.
Maypan: an F1 hybrid coconut variety for commercial production.
Harries, H.C. & Romney, D.H. World Crops 26, 110-111
culture - an account of a project started in 1970. Today (
Schwabe, W.W. (1973) The long slow road to better coconut palms. Spectrum 103, 9-10.
Breakthrough in LY research in Jamaica when samples sent to electron microscopy laboratories in Germany, the UK and the USA were found to contain MLO (mycoplasma-like organisms, subsequently known as phytoplasma)
Beakbane, A.B., Slater, C.H.W. & Posnette, A.F. (1972) Mycoplasmas in the phloem of coconut, Cocos nucifera L., with lethal yellowing disease. J. Horticultural Science. 47, 265; Heinze, K., Petzold, H. & Marwitz, R. (1972) Beitrag zur Aetiologie der Todlichen Vergilbung der Kokospalme Phytopath. Z. 74, 230-237; Plavsic-Banjac, B., Hunt, P. & Maramorosch, K. (1972) Mycoplasmalike bodies associated with lethal yellowing disease of coconut palms. Phytopathology 62, 298-299.
Remission of lethal yellowing in coconut palm treated with tetracycline antibiotics.
McCoy, R.E. Plant Dis. Rep. 56, 1019-1021.
Kenya - "A dwarf variety with bright yellow nuts is often referred to as the King Coconut whilst the names of Pemba and Kitamli also seem to belong here. Trees of this variety are uncommon except in gardens and I know of no commercial plantings. Apparently it is not favoured as it is a poor producer of copra and the nuts are easily stolen. A tall variety, which has no particular name, being simply called mnazi (Swahili: coconut). Personally I have dubbed it Kenya Tall or East African Tall for want of something better. All commercial plantings are of this variety and it appears to be something of a mixed bag genetically. Nuts are normally green or brownish-green to orange-brown. I have come across trees with yellow nuts but they are decidedly uncommon. Nut shape ranges from almost spherical to very much elongated (up to twice as long as wide) with something in between being the norm. Nothing is known of the origin of this variety it certainly being of considerable antiquity and has probably been cultivated since the first permanent settlement of this coast. I suspect a possibility, however, that its diversity has been added to by introductions of material from other areas, as trade between this coast and other ports of the Indian Ocean developed."
Adams (1971, p.15)
Dissemination - Sauer was anxious that the tremendous prehistoric range of the species should not be considered as testimony of long-range dispersal by ancient voyagers. He favoured the possibility that spontaneous coconut populations may be truly wild and capable of wide natural dispersal. He suggested that Cocos nucifera is best regarded as a semi-domesticated species, a complex of local populations with all degrees of dependence upon man, from nil to complete.
Sauer, J.D. A re-evaluation of the coconut as an indicator of human dispersal. In: C.L. Riley et al (eds) Man Across the Sea. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Bicarpellate coconut in Peru
Smit, E.H.D. (1970) Morphological and anatomical studies of the coconut. Thesis, Wageningen, 107p. Meded. Landbouw. Hoges, Wageningen 70-8.
Coconut - Microscopic structure. Pericarp - The mesocarp consists of parenchyma, often pigmented, in which are embedded fibrous strands. each strand is surrounded by a thick sheet of fibres. At intervals on the outside of the sheet are found cells known as stegmata, each containing a warty silica body up to 12 in diameter. The core of the strand is of vascular tissue, there being two groups of phloem and one of xylem. Endocarp - The endocarp consists of some vascular tissue and many stone cells with dark brown contents and yellow walls. The stone cells may be elongated or isodiametric. Testa- the cells of the outer testa are often spindle shaped up to 130 in length and have distinctly pitted walls. those of the inner test are isodiametric, thin walled and have yellow-brown contents. Endosperm - The outer two or three layers of endosperm cells are isodiametric; those of the inner layers are radially elongated, reaching 300 but with an average length of 160 and an average width of 40. The cell contents are oil drops and aleurone grains with marked crystalloids, up to 25 in diameter. Pits even if they are present in the cell walls are not marked and the walls are essentially smooth.
Vaughan, J.G. (1970) The structure and utilization of oil seeds. Chapman & Hall. p183-185 Coconut.
Asia - The danger of substitution of products or of the source of supply has very much darkened the future of the coconut economy of Asia - United Nations, The Coconut Industry of Asia, 1969
Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) established: The objectives of the APCC are to promote, coordinate and harmonize all activities of the coconut industry which sustains the lives of millions of small farmers as well as those engaged in industries developed around the production, processing and marketing of coconut products.
Coconut Breeders' Consultative Committee - "The introduction of coconut seednuts for immediate commercial use, or the exchange of seednuts and pollen for breeding, is common practice. Activities such as these will only be fully effective when it is known whether or not geographically isolated populations are distinct varieties. 'Coconut Breeding' by reporting the behaviour of introductions and hybrids in comparison with local populations, will assist in the evaluation of this breeding material. Information received from contributors to the FAO Coconut Breeders' Consultative Committee will be collated once a year so that 'Coconut Breeding' will continually up-date previous records of germplasm exchange; at the same time showing where seednuts and pollen are available or required. All aspects of coconut breeding will be dealt with and it is intended that both research and commercial organisations will take part. Participation in the Committee has been requested by individuals and organisations in all major coconut producing countries . . .".
FAO (1969-1979) Coconut Breeding. Yearly progress reports, ad hoc Coconut Breeders' Consultative Committee, FAO, Rome.
Panama - during a consultant visit Romney found that the coconut variety known at that time in Jamaica as San Blas did not occur on those islands on the the Caribbean coast but was common on the Pacific coast. This was the first clue that the two varieties which occur on the two coasts of Central and South America had different origins.
Romney, D.H. (1968) The suitability of the Republic of Panama for the cultivation of coconuts. MACI, Panama.
Agricultural Period 1967-1926