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 BRINJAL - (Syn: Egg plant) (Solanum melongena L.) (2n = 24) Hindi: Banigan)

Brinjal is one of the most common tropical vegetables grown in India. It is known by

different names like aubergine (French), begun (Bengali), ringna (Gujarathi), baingan (Hindi)

badane (Kannada), waangum (Kashmiri), vange (Marathi), baigan (Hindi) badane (Kannada),

waangum (Kashmiri), vange (Marathi), baigan (Oriya), Vashuthana (Malayalam), Kathiri (Tamil),

venkaya (Telugu) and Peethabhala (Sanskrit). A large number of cultivars differing in size,

shape and colour of fruits are grown in India. Immature fruits are used in curries and a variety of

dishes are prepared out of brinjal. Fruits are moderate sources of vitamins and minerals like

phosphorous, calcium and iron and nutritive value varies from variety to variety.

Brinjal is also valued for its medicinal properties and has got decholestrolizing property

primarily due to presence of poly-unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and lenolenic) present in flesh

and seeds of fruit in higher amount (65.1%). Presence of magnesium and potassium salt in

fruits also impart de-cholestrolizing action. In native medicines, role of brinjal in treatment of liver

diseases, cough due to allergy, rheumatism, colilithiasis, leucorrhea and intestinal worms has

been mentioned.

Origin and distribution

Brinjal is originated in Indo- Burma region (Vavliov, 1926). Crop is distributed in south

and south East Asia, southern Europe, China and Japan. India is the second largest producer of

brinjal in the world next to China and produces 83.47 lakh tonnes from an area of 5.02 lakh ha.

Cultivation of brinjal is maximum in Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar and is also distributed in almost

all states.

Taxonomy Genus Solanum comprises approximately 2000 species, which include both

tuber bearing and non-tuber bearing forms. Important edible species under non-tuber bearing

forms are S. melongena, S. torvum, S. nigrum, S. macrocarpom, S. ferox and S. aethiopicum

S. torvum – used for its small clustered fruits for curry purpose and for drying. It is grown as a

wild plant in backyards and roadsides. Due to its resistance to Fusarium wilt and bacterial wilt,

S. torvum can be a resistant root stock for grafting cultivated S. melongena

S. macrocarpom and S.aethiopicum – grown for edible fruits and leaves.

Solanum macrocarpom

Solanum aethiopicum

Solanum nigrum – Small clustered acidic fruits are also edible and are harvested ripening

stage when it turns purple in colour. In Tamil Nadu this species is cultivated and for frying.

Leaves and flowers of S. nigrum have more resemblance to that of chilli.

S. nigrum

Several species of Solanum are used in native medicines through out tropics. S.

melongena var. insanum, S. incanum, S. indicum, S. viarum are a few among them.

Studies on inter-specific hybridization revealed incompatibility between cultivated S.

melongena with other species, except with S. incanum. Further taxonomic studies revealed that

S. incanum is only a variety under S. melongena and can be treated as S. melongena var.


Based on growth habit and fruit shape, four botanical varieties are reported under


S.melongena var. melongena (Syn: S.melongena var. Esculenta Nees) includes

cultivars with round and egg shaped fruits

S.melongena var serpentinum Desf. Includes long and slender fruited cultivars

S.melongena var. depressum includes early and dwarf cultivars

S.melongena var. incanum includes wild and prickly plants with small fruits.


Brinjal is a diploid with 2n=2x=24. Plant is erect, semi erect or prostrate, herbaceous and

branched with around 1.0m height. Stem is spiny or non spiny with or without purple

pigmentation which is due to anthocyanin. Flowers are bisexual, pentamerous and are solitary

or in 2-7 flowered cyme. Calyx is persistent and spiny or non spiny. Corolla is lobed with

different shapes and purple, light pink or white coloured. Stamens are free and form a loose

cone surroundings the style. Dehiscence is poricidal. Ovary is bilocular with many ovules.

Heterostyly is very common. Fruit is a berry with wide variation in shape, colour and size. Fruit

shape may be long, oval, round, ovoid, cylindrical or elongated. Fruit colour may be nearly

black, different shapes of purple, white, green or variegated.

Flower biology and pollination

Though reported as a self pollinated crop, cross pollination to varying degree has been

reported in brinjal. Cross pollination is due to its heteromorphic flower structure and is mainly by

honey bees and bumble bees.

Depending on length of style in relation to position of anthers, four types of flowers – heterostyly

are available.

Long styled – stigma well above the anthers

Medium styled – stigma and anthers at same level

Short styled – style short

Pseudoshort styled – style rudimentary

Fruit set in long styled flowers ranges from 60 to 70% whereas in medium styled flowers

it is 12.5 to 55.6%. Short styled and pseudoshort styled flowers act as male flowers and there is

no fruit.

Opening of flower and dehiscence of anthers are almost simultaneous and it takes place

at 6-7.30 am during summer and is delayed up to 11 am during winter. Flowering depends on

climatic factors and high temperature and humidity in the morning hasten flower opening and

dehiscence of anthers. In addition to climatic factors, fertility level of the soil also influences

flower initiation and development.


Brinjal is warm season day neutral plant and is susceptible to severe frost. A long and

warm growing season with a temperature range of 21-270C is ideal for its production. Crop is

adversely affected by chilling temperature of winter in North India. Generally late cultivars can

withstand low temperature than early ones. Plants grown luxuriantly and yield heavily during

rainy season under warm humid climatic condition of Kerala.


Brinjal is a hardy crop and is cultivated under a wide range of soils. Since a long duration

crop with high yield, well-drained and fertile soil is preferred for the crop. Crops grown in sandy

soils yield early and those grown in clayey soils yield more. Ideal pH for cultivation of crop is



A large number of cultivars and improved varieties differing in size, shape and colour of

fruits are grown in India. Since consumer preference varies from region to region and from

district to district, judicious selection of varieties plays an important role in success of brinjal

cultivation. Quite a large numbers of local cultivars like Banaras Giant, Wayanad Giant,

Mukthakeshi and Manjiri Gota are grown in specific areas.

Fruits of some local cultivars exhibit bitterness due to presence of glycolalkaloids like

solanin. Generally glycol-alkaloid content varies from 0.37 to 4.83 mg/ 100g in most of cultivars.

High glycol –alkaloids (20 mg/100g fresh weight) produces bitter taste and off flavour. Varieties

also vary for content of polyphenol oxidase which imparts brown discoloration when the fruits

are cut open.


In hills, brinjal is sown during March and transplanted during April. In,lains there are three

seasons for growing brinjal.

Autumn-winter crop

Crop is sown in June and transplanted in July Spring -summer crop: Crop is sown in

early November and transplanted in January-February. Due to low temperature, seedlings take

6 to 8 weeks for attaining normal size for transplanting and nursery beds are to be protected

from frost.

Rainy season crop

Seeds are sown in March-April and transplanted during April-May. Being a low priced

vegetable, rainy season crop is the most economical in many parts.


Seeds are sown in nursery bed and transplanted to main field after four weeks during

summer and after 7 to 8 weeks during winter, when it is 8 - 10 cm tall. Depending on growth of

varieties and seasons of cultivation, 300 to 3:500 g seeds are required for one hectare. Since

brinjal seedlings grow fast, sufficient care must be taken to sow seeds as thin or loose as

possible. Hardened seedlings withstand transplanting shock better and establish well in main


Main field preparation and transplanting

Proper drainage is essential for growth of brinjal. Soil should be prepared to a fine tilth

by 4 to 6 ploughings. FYM should be incorporated in soil at the time of final ploughing.

Seedlings .are transplanted in levelled land in plots of convenient size for irrigation. It may be

grown on raised beds/ ridges during rainy season. In undulating land, in order to avoid soil

erosion, small pits are dug at the point of planting and seedlings are planted.

Spacing depends on variety, season and fertility of soil. For long duration spreading

varieties, a spacing of 75-90cm x 60-75 cm and for bushy and non-spreading varieties a

distance of 45-60cm on either side are given. For early and less spreading varieties, paired row

planting is advantages due to, easiness in harvesting and other cultural operations.

Manures and fertilizers

Brinjal is a long duration crop with high yield potential. Flower and fruit production will be

adversely affected when crop is grown under low fertility conditions. Depending on availability,

25 tonnes of FYM/ha may be incorporated in soil at the time of final ploughing. Application of

wet cow dung as a band, 10 -12 cm away from the plant, followed by earthing up at fortnightly

interval during rainy season is a common practice for high productivity in Kerala.

Fertilizer requirement of crop varies with variety, season and type of soil. Fertilizer

requirement for targeted production in Co-2 under Tamil Nadu condition is estimated and 7.6 kg

N, 1.4 kg P and 17.3 kg K/ha are required to produce one tonnes of fruits. Fertilizer studies at

various centres of AICRP (Vegetables) indicated varying results. Under Bangalore condition,

150 kg N and 100 Kg P20S were optimum while at Hisar it was 100 kg N and 60 kg P20sl ha.

For a balanced nutrition, 30 to 60 kg ~O is included in fertilizer package of brinjal in most of the

states. 1/3 N, full P and full K should be applied as basal dose and remaining N in 2 split doses,

1/3 at 25 days after planting and remaining 1/3 N 45 days after.

Application of fertilizers in Tamil Nadu : Apply FYM 25 t/ha. N 50 kg, P 50 kg and K 30

kg/ha as basal dose, N 50 kg/ha 30 days after transplanting during earthing up. Apply 2 kg of

Azospirillum and Phosphobacteria in the mainfield at planting. Spray 2 ppm (1 ml in 500 lit.)

Triacontanol plus Sodium borate or Borax 35 mg/lit. of water 15 days after transplanting and at

the time of full bloom to increase the yield.


Though brinjal cannot tolerate water logging, timely irrigation is essential especially for

fruit set and development. In plains, irrigation is required at every third or 4th day during

summer while in winter it should be at 10-15 days interval. During winter, care should be taken

to keep soil moist to avoid crop loss due to frost injury. Being a row planted crop, drip irrigation

is advantageous and water used in drip irrigation is only 24.47 cm compared to 69.18 cm under

furrow method.

Brinjal is mainly grown as a rainfed crop in high rainfall states like Kerala by transplanting

seedlings just before onset of South West monsoon. Here also transplanted seedlings should

be given one or two life irrigations for initial establishment.


It is essential to keep the field free of weeds especially at initial stages of crop growth

and is usually done by 2-3 light hoeing or earthing up. This facilitates better aeration to root

system and gives support to plants. Application of fluchloralin @ 1.5 kg a.i./ha as a pre-

emergent weedicide, applied one week after transplanting seedlings, followed by one hand

weeding at 30 days after planting controls a broad spectrum of weeds. Use of black polythene

mulches is also efficient for suppression of weeds and for better growth of plants.

Application of growth regulators

Whole plant spray of 2-4, D (2 ppm) at an interval of one week from 60 -70 days after

planting from commencement of flowering increase fruit set, early yield and total yield in brinjal.

Spray Mixtalool (long chain C24-C34 aliphatic alcohol) at 4 ppm, 4-6 weeks after transplanting,

is also effective and gave additional yield of 7.1% in F1 hybrid Arka Navneet.


Brinjal fruits are harvested at immature stage after attaining full size, but before loosing

its glossy appearance. Dullness of fruit indicates over maturity. Usually fruits are harvested

along with its stalk with a slight twist by hand. In some varieties, a sharp knife is also used for

harvesting fruits along with fleshy calyx and a portion of fruit stalk. The harvested fruits are

graded and packed in baskets or in loose gunny bags. Care should be taken to remove the

fruits affected by Phomopsis blight.


Early short duration varieties: 20-30 t/ha

Long duration varieties: 35-40 t/ha

FI hybrids: 55-80 t/ha


Fruits can be stored for 7-10 days in a fairly good condition at 7.2-10°C with 85-90% RH.

Keeping quality of fruits varies with variety. It is better to store at 20°C than at 6°C and in

perforated polythene bags than under open condition.

Seed production

Though brinjal is considered a self pollinated crop, varying amount of cross pollination

takes place because of heterostyly. Cross pollination is mainly through honey bees and bumble

bees. To encourage pollination, it is advisable to plant Mimosa pudica in the vicinity of brinjal

plot. Isolation distance recommended for brinjal is 200 m for foundation seed and 100 m for

certified seed.

To maintain genetic purity, rouging should be conducted at pre flowering, flowering and

initial fruiting stages. Leaving initial one or two harvests for vegetable purpose is advisable for

detection and removal of off types and to avoid chances of contamination from off types.

Fruits are harvested at full ripe stage and crushed with help of a wooden hammer or

stone. Crushed fruits are soaked overnight in buckets for softening. This results in easy

separation of seeds from pulp when pulp is stirred next day morning. Seeds are then washed

with running water and dried under open sun light for half to one hour and later under partial

shade till 8% moisture is reached. Depending on variety used and agronomic packages

followed, yield varies from 100-350 kg/ha.


Pests Fruit and shoot borer, jassids ,epilachna beetle and mites are the major pests.

Fruit and shoot borer (Leucinodes orbonalis)

The larvae bore into tender parts causing drooping of young shoots and rotting of fruits.

Effect plant parts should be removed along with larvae and destroyed crushing or by immersing

in insecticide solution.

Jassids (Empoasca spp.)

Adults and nymphs suck sap by feeding from under surface of leave resulting in typical

yellowing and drying up of leaves. Varieties . Punjab Barsati and Pusa Kranti have tolerance to

jassid attack.

Epilachna beetle

Yellow coloured nymphs seen on under surface leaves feed on foliage resulting in

skeletonization of leaves. Since nymph are seen in large numbers on a single leaf plucking

infested leaves along with nymph is an effective way control of pest.

Five sprays of cipermethrin @ 30 g a.i./ha or ethofenprox @ 75 g a.i/ at 15 days interval

starting from 30 DAT is effecti.ve for control of jassi and fruit and shoot borer. Four sprays of

carbaryl (800 g a.i/ha) at days interval starting from 30 DAT is also equally effective for control·



Red spider mites and other mites seen on under surface of leaf suck sap and cause

characteristic yellowing. Spray of neem oil garlic solution in initial stage of attack is effective for

control of mites. Under severe infestation spray Kelthane (0.03%) or metasystox (0.03%).


Diseases Bacterial wilt Fusarian wilt, phomopsis blight, little leaf, mosaic and damping

off are the major diseases.

Bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum)

Disease results in sudden wilting and drying up of plants. Plants are more affected

during flowering and early fruiting stages. Grow resistant varieties like Swetha, Haritha, Arka

Nidhi, Arka Neelkant, Pant Samrat, Utkal Tarini, Utkal Madhuri and F1 hybrid Neelima in wilt

prone areas.

Fungal wilt

Fungi like Fusarium and Verticillium cause wilting of plants. Lower leaves turn yellow

and progress slowly leading to browning and complete death of plants. Pythium and

Phytophthora also cause collar rot and wilting of plants. Crop rotation burning with dry leaves

prior to planting and drenching the soil with copper oxychloride are effective for control of wilt.

Phomopsis blight

This is a major disease particularly when crop is raised for seed production. Soft and

water soaked brown lesions of fruits which turn black and mummified in appearance are the

common symptoms. Leaves and stem may also develop dark brown sports. Seed treatment

with Bavistin (l g a.i./kg) and seedling dip in Bavistin (0.05%) for 30 minutes before

transplanting, followed by two sprays of Bavistin are recommended for control of disease.

Little leaf:

Diseased plants produce small sized leaves and result in bushy and stunted growth and will not

produce fruits.


Uproot and destroy mosaic and little leaf affected plants as soon as symptoms are

noticed. Avoiding ratooning and raising seedlings in seed beds treated with Phorate (1.25 kg

a.i./ha), treating seedlings with systemic insecticides for eight hours followed by application of

Phorate (1.25 kg a.i./ha) at 21 DAT control both little leaf and mosaic.

Damping off

This is a major nursery disease. Affected seedlings topple over and die in patches. For

reducing disease incidence sow seeds as loose/ thin as possible on raised beds. Adequate

drainage are drenching nursery bed with Bavistin (0.1 %) control disease effectively.

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