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Long-term effect of ethylene stimulation on the yield of rubber trees is linked to latex cell biochemistry

Lacote R., Gabla O.R., Obouayeba S., Eschbach J.M., Rivano F., Dian K., Gohet E.. 2010. Field Crops Research, 115 (1) : p. 94-98.

DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2009.10.007

Ethylene stimulation with ethephon (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid) is nowadays essential for increasing latex production in the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis): both small-scale planters and agro-industrial plantations worldwide use ethephon. Ethylene stimulation strongly influences cumulative yield and latex cell biochemistry. The purpose of this study was to characterize the longterm behaviour of the rubber tree under ethephon treatment. Over a period of 7 years in Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa, the effect of eight frequencies of ethylene stimulation on yield and latex cell biochemistry was compared in four rubber trees clones, IRCA 130, IRCA 230, GT 1, and PB 217. The ability of the trees to produce more latex under ethylene stimulation was related to the sucrose and inorganic phosphorus contents of the latex cells. For high-yield clones with low sugar content and high inorganic phosphorus content like IRCA 130, namely quick starter clones, no stimulation was necessary to improve yield. For clones like IRCA 230, with higher sugar content, eight ethylene stimulations per year was the optimum frequency to obtain the highest yield. The effect of ethylene stimulation on latex yield increase was significant in clones with high sucrose content and low inorganic phosphorus content such as PB 217. These clones, namely slow starter clones, needed more stimulation to produce more, but in the longer run there were no negative effects of ethylene on the latex yield. These results will help planters optimize latex production by choosing the most appropriate ethylene stimulation to clones according to their latex cells biochemistry.

Mots-clés : hevea brasiliensis; latex; côte d'ivoire

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