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Sweet yield of music

Hyderabad, Oct. 3: Tansen’s music opened up the heavens, at least so goes the legend.

Five years ago, another man also made music do his bidding — he charmed the earth into giving more.

Maruthi Rao’s sonic therapy led to a spurt in sugarcane yield in Vuyyuru, in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. Intensive tests by the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad, have revealed that the secret formula found by the late chairman of the KCP group of industries had increased production by 20 per cent.

A visitor to the Krishna delta region will be surprised to find tape recorders emitting a strange frequency in most farms with no listeners around. It would take some time to realise that the sound — something like that when a radio programme goes off the wave — is meant for plants and not humans.

According to agronomists, the sound vibrations stimulate the cells and make them multiply faster. Maruthi Rao had tried out several frequencies based on the experiments of J.C. Bose and latched on to the one that appealed to the plants.

“The plants were exposed to the audio signals on an average of 60 minutes to 120 minutes a day for a period of 30 days,” said Purnachandra Rao, a spokesman of the KCP group that has a chain of sugar mills in south India. “The therapy began when the plants were 90 days old.”

Speakers are placed at several corners of the field at the same height as the plants. “The plants visibly enjoyed the audio signals as they were seen to be swinging,” said Bhaskar Rao, an agronomist.

According to Venkat Krishna Rao, president of the Sugarcane Growers’ Association, yield has increased from 31 to 38 tonnes. “We are doing this for the last four to five years,” he said. Other farmers in the area say yield has gone up by 14 tonnes in some cases.

The experiment has now been extended to nearly 15,000 acres by around 10,000 farmers in 200 villages in Krishna district.

The IICT, formerly regional research laboratories run by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, has applied for process patent.

V. Ramamurthi, who heads the machine dynamics laboratory of the IICT, said the frequency was a mixture of signals that appealed to the plants. The therapy was followed up with red-light treatment and spraying of oxygenated water.

Ramamurthi also revealed that experiments were on to determine the impact of the therapy on apples, tomatoes as well as some pulses. Maruthi Rao had said music could also be used to increase yield of crops like paddy.

Scientists like M.S. Rao, of NG Ranga Agri University, have confirmed the impact of sonic therapy and use of oxygenated water on cell growth.

Researchers in other parts of India, particularly those from the Sugarcane Breeding Institute in Coimbatore, have also certified the effect of music therapy.

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