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(Health) Rice: Enhanced Rice Reduces Iron Deficiency

 
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:57 am    Post subject: (Health) Rice: Enhanced Rice Reduces Iron Deficiency Reply with quote






Study Finds That Nutritionally Enhanced Rice Reduces Iron Deficiency
Press Release
International Rice Research Institute
Thursday, December 01, 2005

Study Finds That Nutritionally Enhanced Rice Reduces Iron Deficiency
Breakthrough may lead to improved nutrition for millions of poor people

Los Baños, Philippines – Breeding rice with higher levels of iron can have an important impact on reducing micronutrient malnutrition, according to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition. The research, conducted by scientists from the Philippines and the United States, is a major step forward in the battle against iron deficiency, one of the developing world’s most debilitating and intractable public health problems affecting nearly 2 billion people.

The lead authors of the article, Dr. Jere Haas from the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, Dr. John Beard and Dr. Laura E. Murray-Kolb from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, Prof. Angelita del Mundo and Prof. Angelina Felix from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, and Dr. Glenn Gregorio from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), oversaw a study in which religious sisters in ten convents in the Philippines included the nutritionally enhanced rice in their diets. After 9 months, the women had significantly higher levels of total body iron in their blood.

“This study documents a major breakthrough in the battle to prevent micronutrient malnutrition,” said Dr. Robert Zeigler, director general of IRRI. “These results are especially important for rice-eating regions of the world where more than 3 billion of the world’s poor and undernourished live.”

The iron-dense variety of rice used in the research (known technically as IR68144-3B-2-2-3) was developed and grown at IRRI and then tested by an international team of researchers from Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of the Philippines Los Baños and IRRI. The research initiative was originally spearheaded and funded by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), with support from the Asian Development Bank and the Micronutrient Initiative. HarvestPlus, an international, interdisciplinary research program focused on breeding crops for better nutrition and led by IFPRI and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), will continue to work with these research findings and partners to increase the level of nutrient density in rice to be even more effective.

“We view this study as a ‘proof of concept,’” said Zeigler. “We now know that, if plants are bred with higher levels of iron and other micronutrients, they will improve the nutritional status of people who consume them. This has dramatic implications.”

Through a process known as “biofortification,” plant breeders are developing staple foods with higher levels of essential micronutrients. This study demonstrates that iron-biofortified rice can raise levels of stored iron in the body and can significantly contribute to reducing micronutrient malnutrition.

“In the past, we relied on supplements and fortification to overcome vitamin and mineral deficiencies,” said Howarth Bouis, director of HarvestPlus. “Now we know that biofortification also works, giving us an additional tool in this crucial battle.”

The United Nations and other donors spend millions of dollars a year on iron supplements and other strategies to ease the enormous damage wreaked by iron deficiency and related conditions. Iron deficiency can affect a child's physical and mental development, and each year causes more than 60,000 maternal deaths during pregnancy and childbirth. Recent statistics from the Micronutrients Initiative of Canada and the United Nations Children’s Fund indicate that more than half of the developing world’s children between 6 months and 2 years of age are iron-deficient during the critical period of their growth when brain development occurs. Many of the worst affected are found among Asia's poorest, but iron deficiency is also widespread in Africa, affecting more than 80 percent of young children in some countries.

Nutritional experts correctly advise that the best solution is a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables and meat, but, for the very poor, such choices are simply not possible and so they depend predominantly on staple foods to stave off day-to-day hunger. This is especially true in isolated rural areas where under-resourced and overstretched public health systems struggle to improve the overall nutrition of the world's poor through nutritional supplements. In these areas, commercially fortified foods also have difficulty making it into the mouths of the hungry and so malnutrition persists.

“The fact that biofortified foods can have an impact on nutritional status in humans is an enormously exciting breakthrough,” Zeigler noted. “It is time to shift the agricultural research agenda, and the rice research agenda in particular, away from quantity and toward better-quality food. This may be the start of a nutritional revolution—a very appropriate follow-on from the Green Revolution and one that is desperately needed by millions of the world’s poor and undernourished.”


# # #

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world’s leading rice research and training center. Based in the Philippines and with offices in 10 other Asian countries, it is an autonomous, nonprofit institution focused on improving the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes, while preserving natural resources. IRRI is one of 15 centers funded through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an association of public and private donor agencies. Please visit the Web sites of the CGIAR (www.cgiar.org) or Future Harvest Foundation (www.futureharvest.org), a nonprofit organization that builds awareness and supports food and environmental research.

# # #

For information, contact Duncan Macintosh, IRRI, DAPO Box 7777, Metro Manila, Philippines; tel +63-2-580-5600; fax: +63-2-580-5699; email d.macintosh@cgiar.org or Johnny Goloyugo at j.goloyugo@cgiar.org

Web sites: IRRI Home (www.irri.org ), IRRI Library (http://ricelib.irri.cgiar.org ), Rice Knowledge Bank (www.knowledgebank.irri.org)




Study Contributors


For the past decade, a global alliance of research centers, academic institutions and development agencies in both developed and developing countries have committed their time, resources and knowledge to achieving a critical goal–improving the nutritional status of the world’s poor through biofortified rice.


The following organizations and individuals contributed significantly to this study:



The University of the Philippines Los Baños

Role: Conducted biofortified-rice feeding trials with 192 religious sisters in 10 convents in the Philippines over a 9-month period.

Angelita del Mundo served as professor of human nutrition and foods in the College of Human Ecology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños until her retirement in 2002. She led the field research team that conducted the feeding trials at the convent, supervised a team of enumerators to ensure the highest levels of scientific rigor and was a co-author of the study. She passed away in November 2004.

Cornell University
Role: Co-principal investigator

Jere Hass is the Nancy Schlegel Meinig Professor of Maternal and Child Nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, with expertise in the effect of iron deficiency on physical and reproductive performance. He served as a principal investigator and lead author of the study.

HarvestPlus
Role: Coordinated work of all contributing organizations and individuals on the study. HarvestPlus is led by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

Howarth Bouis is director of HarvestPlus, an international, interdisciplinary research program that seeks to reduce micronutrient malnutrition by harnessing the powers of agriculture and nutrition research to breed nutrient-dense staple foods. As a senior research fellow at IFPRI, he was part of the first biofortified-rice research effort that led to this study. Bouis has successfully galvanized a global network of research centers and implementing agencies in support of biofortification as a new food-based approach for ending hunger and undernutrition in developing countries.

The International Rice Research Institute
Role: Developed and field-tested biofortified rice in the Philippines.

Glenn Gregorio is a scientist and plant breeder at the International Rice Research Institute. His research was instrumental in the identification and field testing of the high-iron rice variety–technically known as IR68144–used in the study. Glenn is a co-author of the study.

Pennsylvania State University
Role: Co-principal investigator

John Beard is a professor of nutrition in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, with expertise in iron deficiency and early child development. He served as a principal investigator and co-author of the study.

FACT SHEETS
This information contains the following:

1. Rice
2. Iron Deficiency in Developing Countries
3. Key Highlights from “Iron-Biofortified Rice Improves the Iron Stores of Non-Anemic Filipino Women,” Journal of Nutrition, 2005


1. Rice

• Rice is a vital staple food for more than half of the world’s population, primarily for poor people living in Asia, Africa and Latin America. (International Rice Research Institute [IRRI])

• Approximately 90 countries cultivate rice. Farmers from irrigated, upland, lowland and flood-prone areas across Asia are the major producers of rice. (IRRI)

• Rice provides a high percentage of total caloric intake in developing countries. The crop accounts for more than half of the calories consumed in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Laos, and between 30 and 50 percent in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Mali. (IRRI)

• Because of the high consumption of rice in developing countries, increasing its nutritional value can lead to significant positive health outcomes. (HarvestPlus)

• In the Philippines, rice accounts for 41 percent of daily dietary energy intake. (“Iron-Biofortified Rice Improves the Iron Stores of Non-Anemic Filipino Women,” Journal of Nutrition, 2005)

2. Iron Deficiency in Developing Countries

• Iron deficiency is the most common micronutrient deficiency in the world. (HarvestPlus)

• As many as five billion people worldwide are estimated to be iron-deficient. (World Health Organization [WHO])

• Iron deficiency is the main cause of anemia. More than 2 billion people worldwide are anemic, and much of this is due to iron deficiency. (HarvestPlus)

• Nine out of ten anemia sufferers live in developing countries. On average, every second, pregnant women and four out of ten preschool children are anemic. (WHO)

• In developing countries, anemia affects males and females, the young and old, and all age groups. More than half of pregnant women and children (school-age and preschool combined) suffer from anemia, as do 45 percent of the elderly and 30 percent of adult men. (HarvestPlus)

• Anemia is particularly pronounced in Southeast Asia and Africa, where it is closely linked to poverty. (HarvestPlus)

• Nearly 250 million people in Africa, and 800 million in Southeast Asia, are affected by anemia. (HarvestPlus)

• Iron deficiency anemia exacts a heavy toll on the populations it affects in terms of ill health, premature death, impaired child development and lost earnings. (WHO)

• Iron deficiency in adults has been found to lower workforce productivity, carrying estimated losses of up to 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the worst-affected countries. (The United Nations Children’s Fund/Micronutrient Initiative, Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency: A Global Assessment, 2004).

• Overall, the most vulnerable, the poorest and the least educated are disproportionately affected by iron deficiency, and stand to gain the most from its reduction. (WHO)

• In infants and children, iron deficiency impairs physical growth, mental development and learning capacity. In adults, it causes fatigue and reduced work capacity. Severe anemia also heightens the risk of women dying during childbirth. (HarvestPlus)

• In the Philippines, 32 percent of women between 15 and 49 years of age are anemic and as many as 75 percent may be iron-deficient. (“Iron-Biofortified Rice Improves the Iron Stores of Non-Anemic Filipino Women,” Journal of Nutrition, 2005)

3. Key Highlights from “Iron-Biofortified Rice Improves the Iron Stores of Non-Anemic Filipino Women,” Journal of Nutrition, 2005

• For the first time, researchers in the Philippines and the United States have confirmed that breeding rice to be high in iron, through a process known as biofortification, can have a statistically significant positive impact on human nutritional status.

• This finding is documented in the new study, “Iron-Biofortified Rice Improves the Iron Stores of Non-Anemic Filipino Women,” which reveals that it is possible to breed rice to deliver higher-than-normal concentrations of iron, an essential micronutrient.

• After a 9-month, double-blind study, the iron status of women who ate biofortified, iron-rich rice was 20 percent higher than in women who ate traditional rice. The study was conducted in the Philippines, where researchers monitored the diets of 192 Catholic sisters in 10 convents.

• Individuals in the study with the lowest levels of iron were found to absorb the additional iron provided in the rice at a higher rate.

• The study serves as proof of concept that it is possible to breed rice for nutrient density and have it improve the nutritional status of iron-deficient populations. Now that it is proven, researchers can move forward with confidence and develop rice varieties with even higher levels of iron that can withstand losses from cooking and processing.

• Subjects were randomly assigned to consume either high-iron biofortified rice (3.21 mg/kg Fe) or a local variety of rice (0.57 mg/kg Fe). Fe is the scientific symbol for iron.

• The high-iron biofortified rice contributed 1.79 mg Fe/day in contrast to 0.37 from the local variety, resulting in a 17 percent difference in total dietary iron consumed.

• The study found a modest increase of serum ferritin and total body iron, but no increase in hemoglobin. Ferritin is a protein that stores iron in the body. The serum ferritin level–the amount of ferritin in your blood–is directly proportional to the amount of iron stored in your body.

• Non-anemic subjects experienced a 20 percent increase in body iron.

• Under normal conditions, the subjects’ daily iron intake (8.0 mg/day) was low, representing only 44 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (18 mg/day).

• Dietary data collected from the subjects indicated that rice, on average, provided 53 percent of their daily food energy.

• Biofortified rice could shift the percentage of subjects meeting their estimated average requirement from 53 to 71 percent. Other interventions such as supplementation or commercially fortified foods could close the dietary deficiency gap even more.

*************************************************************

Questions to explore further this topic:

What is the International Rice Research Institute?

http://www.irri.org/

What is rice?

http://www.riceromp.com/animat.....sition.cfm
http://www.knowledgebank.irri......hology.htm

How does one grow rice?

http://www.knowledgebank.irri......Stages.htm

What do we know about growing rice in the Philippines?

http://www.knowledgebank.irri......efault.htm

Is rice nutritious?

http://www.riceromp.com/fuel/fuel.html

You can find additional lessons from this webpage

http://www.irri.org/graindell/kids01.swf
http://www.riceromp.com/home.cfm

Video of how rice is processed

http://www.riceromp.com/animations/milling.cfm

Why is iron important?

http://www.uhs.uga.edu/nutrition/iron.html
http://www.feinberg.northweste...../iron.html
http://www.vegansociety.com/ht.....n/iron.php

What are the dietary sources of iron?

http://www.mckinley.uiuc.edu/H....._iron.html
http://www.kidsnutrition.org/c.....s/iron.htm

GAMES

http://www.graindell.com/
http://www.riceromp.com/games.cfm
http://www.riceromp.com/animations/farm.cfm


Last edited by adedios on Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:48 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:57 pm    Post subject: Climate change: The rice genome to the rescue Reply with quote

International Rice Research Institute
27 March 2006

Climate change: The rice genome to the rescue
The sequencing of the rice genome could help mitigate the impact of climate change on the world's poor

Los Baños, Philippines – New evidence is emerging that climate change could reduce not only the world's ability to produce food but also international efforts to cut poverty. However, the recent sequencing of the rice genome is already providing researchers with some of the tools they need to help poor rice farmers and consumers avoid the worst effects of the problem.
The new knowledge generated by the sequencing effort is allowing scientists to both develop new rice varieties faster and with the specific characteristics needed to deal with climate change, such as tolerance of higher temperatures. However, scientists are calling for more research to fully understand the impact of climate change – especially the extreme weather it may cause – on international efforts to reduce poverty and ensure food security.

A "Climate Change and Rice" planning workshop this month at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines was told that climate change is already affecting Asia's ability to produce rice, and that this could eventually slow efforts to reduce poverty in the region, where most of the world's poor live.

The workshop was informed that, to overcome many of the climate change–related problems facing rice production in Asia – and continue to meet the demand for rice in the region – yields will have to double over the next 50 years. Research has confirmed that global warming will make rice crops less productive with increasing temperatures decreasing yields.

"Clearly, climate change is going to have a major impact on our ability to grow rice," Robert S. Zeigler, IRRI director general, said. "We can't afford to sit back and be complacent about this because rice production feeds almost half the world's population while providing vital employment to millions as well, with most of them being very poor and vulnerable."

For these reasons, Dr. Zeigler announced at the workshop that IRRI – in an unprecedented move – was ready to put up US$2 million of its own research funds as part of an effort to raise $20–25 million for a major five-year project to mitigate the effects of climate change on rice production. "We need to start developing rice varieties that can tolerate higher temperatures and other aspects of climate change right now," he said.

"Fortunately, the recent sequencing of the rice genome will allow us to do this much faster than we could have in the past," Dr. Zeigler added. "But, in addition to new rice varieties, we must develop other technologies that will help poor rice farmers deal with climate change."

In one of several examples presented to last week's climate workshop, researchers mentioned El Niño weather phenomena that hit the Philippines in 1996-97 and caused a severe drought, resulting in a sharp drop in national rice production. Other examples focused on the impact of climate change and variability on gross domestic product, generally causing it to slip by several percentage points.

"One of the main problems with climate change is that the effects are felt mostly in poor, underdeveloped countries because of their reliance on agriculture as one of the main drivers for national development," Dr. Zeigler said. "In turn, agriculture is very dependent on climate.

"Another more insidious effect may be more frequent extreme weather events such as typhoons, floods and droughts," Dr. Zeigler warned. "IRRI's research has shown that even one drought year can push millions of rice farmers back below the poverty line. This affects the whole family for many years after the drought year, as they will have sold their livestock and withdrawn their children from school just to survive."

IRRI's senior climate change researcher, John Sheehy, told the workshop that poor farmers need help in several challenging new areas. "We need to develop rice varieties tolerant of higher temperatures that can maintain yield and quality when extreme temperatures occur," Dr. Sheehy said. "We also need rice varieties that can take advantage of higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, rice that is vigorous enough to recover quickly from extreme weather events and disasters, and very high yielding rice that will provide a supply buffer for poor communities during periods of change.

"We need to be able to protect poor people from the harmful effects of climate change, and rice is especially important because most of the world's poor depend on it," he added. "We also need to ensure that the world community is not adversely affected by greenhouse gas emissions from rice production systems."

Dr. Sheehy said researchers need to acquire knowledge and develop technologies critical to ensuring that rice production systems are sustainable in the face of climate change and do not adversely contribute to climate change.


###
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world's leading rice research and training center. Based in the Philippines and with offices in 10 other Asian countries, it is an autonomous, nonprofit institution focused on improving the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes, while preserving natural resources. IRRI is one of 15 centers funded through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an association of public and private donor agencies. Please visit the Web sites of the CGIAR (www.cgiar.org) or Future Harvest Foundation (www.futureharvest.org), a nonprofit organization that builds awareness and supports food and environmental research.

For information, please contact:
Duncan Macintosh, IRRI, DAPO Box 7777, Metro Manila, Philippines; tel +63-2-580-5600; fax: +63-2-580-5699; email d.macintosh@cgiar.org or Johnny Goloyugo at j.goloyugo@cgiar.org Web sites: IRRI Home (www.irri.org), IRRI Library (http://ricelib.irri.cgiar.org), Rice Knowledge Bank (www.knowledgebank.irri.org)
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:52 am    Post subject: Biologists find regions of rice domestication Reply with quote

Washington University in St. Louis
12 June 2006

Biologists find regions of rice domestication

Geographical genetic clusters
Biologists from Washington University in St. Louis and their collaborators from Taiwan have examined the DNA sequence family trees of rice varieties and have determined that the crop was domesticated independently at least twice in various Asian locales.
Jason Londo, Washington University in Arts & Sciences biology doctoral candidate, and his adviser, Barbara A. Schaal, Ph.D., Washington University Spencer T. Olin Professor of Biology in Arts & Sciences, ran genetic tests of more than 300 types of rice, including both wild and domesticated, and found genetic markers that reveal the two major rice types grown today were first grown by humans in India and Myanmar and Thailand (Oryza sativa indica) and in areas in southern China (Oryza sativa japonica).

A paper describing the research was published June 9, 2006, in the on-line issue of the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Science.

"We look where the genetic signature of clusters on a haplotype tree (family tree)," explained Londo. "We chose samples across the entire range of rice and looked for DNA sequences that were shared by both wild and domesticated types. These two major groups clustered out by geography."

DNA is comprised of vast, varied combinations of chemical subunits known as base pairs. Londo, Schaal and their collaborators concentrated on finding genetic markers shared by both cultivated and wild rice types that ranged from 800 to 1,300 base pairs.

Cultivated rice has a genetic signature that defines it as cultivated, Schaal explained.

"What you do is go out and sample all the wild rice across regions and you look for that signature in the wild," said Schaal, who has done similar work with cassava and jocote, a tropical fruit. "You find that the unique signature of cultivated rice is only found in certain geographic regions. And that's how you make the determination of where it came from."

Schaal said that she was surprised and "delighted" by their results.

"People have moved rice around so much and the crop crosses with its wild ancestors pretty readily, so I was fully prepared to see no domestication signal whatsoever," Schaal said. "I would have expected to see clustering of the cultivated rice, but I was delighted to see geographical clustering of the wild rice. I was thrilled that there was even any sort of genetic structure in the wild rice."

In contrast to rice, other staple crops such as wheat, barley and corn appear to have been domesticated just once in history.

Rice is the largest staple crop for human consumption, supplying 20 percent of caloric content for the world.

By finding the geographic origins of rice, researchers can consider ways to improve the crop's nutritional value and disease resistance, which in turn can help impoverished populations in Asia and elsewhere that rely heavily on the crop.

Londo expects to find even more evidence for differing geographic domestication. He said that by using the database that they've gathered, they could design a sampling to target specialty rices such as the aromatic rices basmati and jasmine.

For instance, one direction that the researchers are going is Thailand, where the Karen tribe has been using multiple landraces of rice for many hundreds of years.

Landraces are localized varieties of rice that have been cultivated by traditional methods and have been passed down many generations, Schaal said.

"We're going to try to find out how landrace varieties change after domestication," Schaal said. "These landraces are ancient varieties, which are high in genetic diversity, thus valuable to breeders looking for new traits."
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 8:30 am    Post subject: A more powerful and efficient engine for rice Reply with quote

July 2006 Press Release
IRRI
A more powerful and efficient engine for rice: the C3-C4 challenge

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Los Baños, Philippines – A major international scientific effort was launched last week to develop and use a radical new approach to boost rice production and avoid potential rice shortages, or even future famine.

Scientists have been working on different aspects of the approach since the early 1990s. But new knowledge generated by the sequencing of the rice genome is allowing researchers for the first time to discuss how they might work together to completely reconfigure what’s known as the engine of rice production, the plant’s photosynthetic system.


“If you think of the rice plant as a car, what we were talking about is really supercharging the engine,” said IRRI crop ecologist John Sheehy, convener of a workshop on C4 Rice – Supercharging the Rice Engine, held at the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on 17-21 July. “The photosynthetic process is the engine of growth for the rice plant, so, if we can improve that, then the whole plant benefits.”


“If we continue with the car analogy, the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, which resulted in high-yielding semidwarf rice varieties, focused on providing a new, more compact body for the rice plant,” Dr. Sheehy added. “But we have never really got under the hood and tried to improve the engine, or the photosynthetic efficiency, of the rice plant. It’s going to be an enormously complex and difficult challenge, but we think that with all the new knowledge we have about the rice plant it can be done.”


Many of the world’s leading experts on photosynthesis attended the five-day workshop. They were warned that unless global rice production continues to increase steadily—despite fewer resources such as land, labor, and capital—millions of people could fall backward into poverty. More than 3 billion people depend on rice as their main food source each day, including most of the world’s poor.


“Frankly, we have almost exhausted the traditional methods of increasing rice production, especially considering the environmental challenges we face such as climate change,” IRRI Director General Robert Zeigler said. “This generation must work to assure food security not only for ourselves, but for future generations as well. We must find and develop big new ideas to help us further increase rice production while using less land, labor, and water.”


To meet this important challenge, scientists at the workshop focused on enhancing the rice plant’s photosynthetic efficiency, or what’s known scientifically as converting rice from a C3 plant to a C4 plant, where the “C” refers to the carbon captured by photosynthesis for growth. To do this, C4 plants—such as maize—use solar energy more effectively for growth.


Dr. Sheehy compared the potential impact of successfully transforming rice from a C3 to a C4 plant as even greater than the production of the semidwarf rice plants that sparked the Green Revolution. “If we can successfully develop a C4 rice plant, the implications and potential impact will be huge—it’s one of the great scientific challenges facing people working in the plant sciences.”


The experts at the workshop suggested that it will probably take another three to four years to achieve the “proof-of-concept” needed before an international consortium of scientists will have assembled the tools and materials to begin constructing the prototypes of a C4 rice plant. It will be another 10–15 years after that before the first varieties are available.


“Considering the urgent rice production challenges we face, we must start now on this work—there’s no time to lose,” Dr. Sheehy said.


***

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world’s leading rice research and training center. Based in the Philippines and with offices in 10 other Asian countries, it is an autonomous, nonprofit institution focused on improving the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes, while preserving natural resources. IRRI is one of 15 centers funded through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an association of public and private donor agencies. Please visit the CGIAR website (www.cgiar.org) for more information.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 7:14 am    Post subject: Flood-tolerant rice offers relief for world's poorest farmer Reply with quote

International Rice Research Institute
10 August 2006

New flood-tolerant rice offers relief for world's poorest farmers

A gene that enables rice to survive complete submergence has been identified by a team of researchers at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines and at the University of California's Davis and Riverside campuses.

Los Baños, Philippines -- A gene that enables rice to survive complete submergence has been identified by a team of researchers at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines and at the University of California's Davis and Riverside campuses. The discovery allows for development of new rice varieties that can withstand flooding, thus overcoming one of agriculture's oldest challenges and offering relief to millions of poor rice farmers around the world.

Although rice thrives in standing water, like all crops it will die if completely submerged for more than a few days. The development and cultivation of the new varieties are expected to increase food security for 70 million of the world's poorest people, and may reduce yield losses from weeds in areas such as the United States, where rice is seeded in flooded fields. Results of this study will appear in the Aug. 10 issue of the journal Nature.

"Globally, rice is the most important food for humans, and each year millions of small farmers in the poorest areas of the world lose their entire crops to flooding," said Pamela Ronald, a rice geneticist and chair of UC Davis's Plant Genomics Program. "Our research team anticipates that these newly developed rice varieties will help ensure a more dependable food supply for poor farmers and their families. And, in the long run, our findings may allow rice producers in the United States to reduce the amount of herbicides used to fight weeds."

Funding for the research was provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service – National Research Initiative; and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The German funding was particularly important as it supported efforts to transfer the submergence characteristic to existing, popular rice varieties, maximizing the impact of the breakthrough.

Background

Rice is the primary food for more than three billion people around the world. Approximately one-fourth of the global rice crop is grown in rainfed lowland plots that are prone to seasonal flooding. These seasonal flash floods are extremely unpredictable and may occur at any growth stage of the rice crop.

Although rice is the only cereal crop that can withstand submergence at all, most rice varieties will die if fully submerged for too long.

When the plant is covered with water, its oxygen and carbon dioxide supplies are reduced, which interferes with photosynthesis and respiration. Because the submerged plants lack the air and sunlight they need to function, growth is inhibited, and the plants will die if they remain under water for more than four days.

During any given year, yield losses resulting from flooding in these lowland areas may range from 10 percent to total destruction, depending on the water depth, age of the plant, how long the plants are submerged, water temperature, rate of nitrogen fertilizer use, and other environmental factors. Annual crop loss has been estimated at more than $1 billion.

"For half a century, researchers have been trying to introduce submergence tolerance into the commonly grown rice varieties through conventional breeding," said rice geneticist and study co-author David Mackill, who heads the Division of Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology at the International Rice Research Institute.

"Several traditional rice varieties have exhibited a greater tolerance of submergence, but attempts to breed that tolerance into commercially viable rice failed to generate successful varieties," he said.

"We're especially pleased that we have been able to use the latest advances in molecular biology to help improve the lives of the world's poor," Mackill added. "We're confident that even more important discoveries like this are in the pipeline."

Results of this study

Using genetic mapping techniques, the research team identified a cluster of three genes that appeared closely linked to the biological processes that either make rice plants vulnerable to flooding or enable them to withstand the total submergence that occurs during flooding.

The researchers then focused their attention on one of those three genes, known as the Sub1A gene. They found that when this gene is overexpressed, or hyperactivated, a rice variety that is normally intolerant of submergence becomes tolerant.

Further studies indicated that the Sub1A gene is probably successful in conferring submergence tolerance to rice because it affects the way the plants respond to hormones, such as ethylene and gibberellic acid, that are key to the plant's ability to survive even when inundated with water.

Going one step further, the researchers introduced the Sub1A gene into a rice variety that is especially suited for growing conditions in India. The resulting rice plants were not only tolerant of being submerged in water but also produced high yields and retained other beneficial crop qualities. Development of submergence-tolerant varieties for commercial production in Laos, Bangladesh, and India is now well under way.

In addition to providing a more stable supply of rice in developing countries, the researchers are hoping that the new gene will be useful in suppressing weeds and reducing herbicide applications for conventional and organic rice farmers in developed countries like the United States. If water can be left on the rice for an additional week, it is expected that weed populations will decrease.

The research team is now trying to identify all the genes that are regulated by Sub1A and to use this information to further improve tolerance of flooding and other stresses.


###
In addition to Ronald and Mackill, this international research team included Kenong Xu, Xia Xu, and Patrick Canlas, all of UC Davis; Takeshi Fukao and Julia Bailey-Serres, both of UC Riverside; and Reycel Maghirang-Rodriguez, Sigrid Heuer, and Abdelbagi Ismail, all of the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world's leading rice research and training center. Based in the Philippines and with offices in 10 other Asian countries, it is an autonomous, nonprofit institution focused on improving the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes, while preserving natural resources. IRRI is one of 15 centers funded through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an association of public and private donor agencies. Please visit the CGIAR website (www.cgiar.org) for more information.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:12 am    Post subject: Biologists develop large gene dataset for rice plant Reply with quote

National Science Foundation
13 March 2007

Biologists develop large gene dataset for rice plant

Leads to increased understanding of essential food crop
Scientists have reported development of a large dataset of gene sequences in rice. The information will lead to an increased understanding of how genes work in rice, an essential food for much of the world's population.

Plant biologist Blake Meyers at the University of Delaware and colleagues report their results in the March 11 on-line issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Using advanced gene sequencing technologies and high-powered computer-based approaches, Meyers and colleagues examined both normal gene expression (via messenger ribonucleic acids, or mRNAs) as well as small ribonucleic acids (small RNAs) in rice.

The analysis of rice was based on gene sequences representing nearly 47 million mRNA molecules and three million small RNAs, a larger dataset than has been reported for any other plant species.

Small RNAs are considered one of most important discoveries in biotechnology in the last 10 years. Because they are so much smaller than mRNAs, small RNAs went unnoticed for many years, or were considered biologically unimportant, said Meyers.

Small RNAs are now known to play an important role in gene regulation, he said, adding that deficiencies in small RNA production can have a profound effect on development.

"Small RNAs also have been associated with other important biological processes, such as responses to stress," Meyers said. "Many of small RNAs in rice have related sequences in the many important cereal crop plants, including maize and wheat."

Research on small RNAs "is a leading edge in plant biotechnology," said Machi Dilworth, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Biological Infrastructure, which along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, funded the research. "This work will contribute to an understanding of the role of small RNAs in gene expression not only in rice, but in all plants."

###
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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of $5.58 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 1,700 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 40,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes nearly 10,000 new funding awards. The NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Receive official NSF news electronically through the e-mail delivery and notification system, MyNSF (formerly the Custom News Service). To subscribe, visit http://www.nsf.gov/mynsf/ and fill in the information under "new users".

Useful NSF Web Sites:
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 9:46 am    Post subject: New knowledge improves rice quality Reply with quote

International Rice Research Institute
7 May 2007

New knowledge improves rice quality
Could help poor farmers boost income

Los Baños, Philippines -- A major international initiative is being launched to try to boost the income of the world’s millions of poor rice farmers and at the same time provide consumers with more nutritious, better tasting food.

New scientific knowledge is allowing rice researchers to develop better quality rice varieties that could fetch a higher price from consumers, especially increasingly affluent rice consumers in Asia.

The main aim of the new International Network for Quality Rice is to help rice breeders around the world develop varieties with improved quality traits such as better taste, aroma, and cooking characteristics as well as higher levels of nutrition. Once provided to farmers, the new varieties are expected to command a higher price among consumers, especially those in Asia, who, as they become increasingly affluent, are seeking – and paying for – better quality food.

"Much of this research would not have been possible ten years ago because we simply did not have the knowledge or the understanding of quality that we do now," Robert S. Zeigler, the director general of the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute, said. "It really is a very exciting time to be involved in such research, especially because we can take the new scientific knowledge generated by activities such as the recent sequencing of the rice genome, and use it to improve the lives of the poor by providing either better quality food or increased income."

The quality rice network – which was formed electronically in 2006 – met for the first time last month during a three-day workshop entitled "Clearing Old Hurdles with New Science: Improving Rice Grain Quality" at IRRI. The event attracted 71 cereal chemists and other experts from more than 20 nations.

"It’s very clear from the great response we got to the workshop that rice quality is becoming a very hot topic in rice research almost everywhere," the convener and head of IRRI’s Grain Quality, Nutrition, and Postharvest Center, Melissa Fitzgerald, said. "Many of the issues we discussed may not have even been considered a few years ago, but, with the recent advances in molecular biology and exciting new areas such as metabolomics (the whole-genome assessment of metabolites), we can do things now that we could only dream about before."

During the workshop, the latest research was presented in several new areas, including


Breeding for better quality and genetically mapping specific quality traits in rice such as taste and aroma.


The cooking and eating qualities of rice and how to measure sensory qualities more accurately.


The role of important substances such as starch and amylose in cooking rice and how they are measured.

"IRRI is very fortunate to have a strong foundation of previous rice quality research to build on," Dr. Fitzgerald said. "We needed that to ensure we made the right decisions as we move into a whole new era of rice quality research."

For many years, rice breeders have focused on developing varieties that would boost production and provide some insect and weed resistance to help farmers reduce their use of pesticides; quality was not a high priority. However, major new advances in rice research and Asia’s continuing economic development have created important new opportunities.

"These are the two key changes driving the whole process and making this research area so exciting," Dr. Zeigler said. "If we can link these two things together – our new and improved knowledge and understanding of rice quality with affluent-consumer desires for better rice – then it’s possible we can also help poor farmers improve their lives.

"This would be an outstanding example of using the latest in science to improve the lives of the poor, while satisfying the desires of the affluent," he added.

###
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world’s leading rice research and training center. Based in the Philippines and with offices in 10 other Asian countries, it is an autonomous, nonprofit institution focused on improving the well-being of present and future generations of rice farmers and consumers, particularly those with low incomes, while preserving natural resources. IRRI is one of 15 centers funded through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an association of public and private donor agencies. Please visit the CGIAR website ( http://www.cgiar.org ) for more information.

For information, please contact:

Web sites:

IRRI Home ( http://www.irri.org ),

IRRI Library ( http://ricelib.irri.org ),

Rice Knowledge Bank ( http://www.knowledgebank.irri.org ).
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:55 am    Post subject: Today's white rice is mutation spread by early farmers, rese Reply with quote

Aug. 16, 2007
Today's white rice is mutation spread by early farmers, researchers say
By Krishna Ramanujan

Some 10,000 years ago white rice evolved from wild red rice and began spreading around the globe. But how did this happen?


Researchers at Cornell and elsewhere have determined that 97.9 percent of all white rice is derived from a mutation (a deletion of DNA) in a single gene originating in the Japonica subspecies of rice. Their report, published online in the journal PloS (Public Library of Science) Genetics, suggests that early farmers favored, bred and spread white rice around the world.

The researchers report that this predominant mutation is also found in the Indica subspecies of white rice. They have found a second independent mutation (a single DNA substitution) in the same gene in several Aus varieties of rice in Bangladesh, accounting for the remaining 2.1 percent of white rice varieties. Neither of these two mutations is found in any wild red rice species.

Both mutations produce shortened versions of the same protein in which the missing part is responsible for activating the molecular pathway leading to grain color in rice.

"We think that other domains of this protein are critical for other functions in the plant, because we never see the protein entirely deleted, just the part of the molecule that affects the pathway for grain color," said Susan McCouch, Cornell professor of plant breeding and genetics and the paper's senior author. Megan Sweeney, Cornell Ph.D. '06 and postdoctoral associate, was the paper's lead author.

The researchers speculate that ancient farmers actively bred and spread white rice varieties first throughout the Himalayan region and then the rest of the world because the varieties cooked faster (requiring less fuel), their hulls were easier to remove compared with red rice, and disease and insects were easier to see amid the white grains. The farmers also may have favored one mutation over the other because it may have produced favorable grains more consistently, the researchers say.

In 2006 the researchers first identified the gene that makes the rice seed's bran layer, or pericarp, white. This gave rice breeders and engineers a genetic marker to help develop new breeds. The Cornell researchers regularly introduce favorable genes from wild red rices into elite white cultivars to improve yields and provide better responses to stress, but they generally select against the gene for red pericarp because it is associated with such unfavorable "weedy" linked traits as seed dormancy and "shattering" (where seeds fall easily from the stalk).

"Breeders can now begin to screen for the red pericarp gene while selecting against closely linked traits like shattering and dormancy," said McCouch. The new tools may lead to more diverse domestic rice varieties.

Also, breeders are interested in using the marker to predict whether new generations will contain white or red grains, using DNA from young seedlings, long before the plants set seed.

McCouch noted that due to the genetics of pericarp color in rice (white grain is recessive and maternally inherited), when white grains appear in the panicle (the grain clusters on the stems), it is an indication that all seeds in the clusters will be white -- and offspring from these seeds will continue to produce white-grain plants. The researchers theorize that women who shucked rice for cooking thousands of years ago would have recognized the value of the white seeds and may have set aside selected panicles for breeding and planting.

Scott Williamson and Carlos Bustamante, both researchers in Cornell's Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, were also co-authors on this paper. The research was supported by the Plant Genome Program of the National Science Foundation, the Generation Challenge Program, Chengbuk National University and Korea's National Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:31 pm    Post subject: Important rice production system under pressure Reply with quote

International Rice Research Institute
9 October 2007

Important rice production system under pressure

The problems facing irrigated rice farmers are being highlighted
Hanoi, Vietnam – In the face of growing pressure on one of Asia’s most important food production systems, experts are warning that farmers must get more help to make them more efficient.

Irrigated rice production provides about 75 percent of the world’s rice needs, and has a particularly important role to play at the moment as international rice prices are at a 10-year high, while global stocks are at a 30-year low. However, at a meeting in Vietnam of more than 50 rice scientists from 13 countries, the problems facing irrigated rice farmers are being highlighted.

In Vietnam alone, industrial development has caused the loss of 300,000 hectares of irrigated rice land in the past 5 years. There is also increasing competition between rice farmers and industry over water needed for energy production and for access to water from the main reservoirs around Hanoi.

Other problems are the increased migration of farm laborers to cities, the reemergence of rice pests and diseases, and the increasing costs of production and inputs. However, there is also some good news.

Research efforts to help rice farmers boost their production efficiency and rein in their costs are being helped by new scientific knowledge in several key areas, including new technologies to optimize the use of fertilizers and reduce water use.

On 8-9 October, about 60 international rice scientists from 13 countries are to gather for the 3rd Steering Committee meeting of the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC) of the International Rice Research Institute and hosted by the Vietnamese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS). High on the agenda is how to assist farmers with access to irrigation to be more efficient in their production of rice.

Irrigated rice accounts for 80 percent of Vietnam’s rice area, and is grown on about 3.4 million hectares, providing about 90 percent of the national production of 36 million tons. Vietnam is the second-largest exporter of rice, exporting 4–5 million tons every year.

For the past 10 years, the IRRC has worked with Vietnamese partners, mainly from VAAS institutes. The research, chiefly in farmers’ fields, with the strong involvement of farmer communes, has shown that farmers can increase production by as much as 15% through better timing and a more balanced use of fertilizers. Also, farmers are able to reduce their water usage by 15–20 percent in the dry season and still maintain their rice yields.

Help is also on the way to fight the labor shortage through new methods of land preparation, crop establishment, and drying of the rice crop after harvest. Advances in ecological management of weeds and rats will also assist the farmers in their age-old struggle against these pests.

The IRRC, with major support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, promotes and sustains partnerships between national agricultural research and extension systems and the International Rice Research Institute to help farmers achieve increased profitability, food security, and environmental sustainability. The IRRC operates in the Philippines, Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

With the consortium nature of this partnership, success stories, knowledge, and lessons learned from other countries can be applied in Vietnam to better manage its natural resources such as water and soil, and help increase and sustain rice productivity for small farmers.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:00 pm    Post subject: Rice-producing nations call for increased focus on productio Reply with quote

International Rice Research Institute
17 October 2007

Rice-producing nations call for increased focus on production

Rice production, which helps feed almost half the world, has been under increasingly intense pressure lately
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – The world’s major rice-producing nations – including China and India – are calling for closer collaboration in efforts to feed Asia’s billions of rice consumers in the face of unprecedented new challenges.

Rice production, which helps feed almost half the world, has been under increasingly intense pressure lately, causing rising consumer prices in many Asian nations. Climate change, biofuels, water scarcity, and farmers diversifying into other crops are just some of the factors affecting Asia’s ability to produce the rice it needs.

The eleventh annual meeting of the Council for Partnerships on Rice Research in Asia (CORRA) last month in month in Vietnam was warned that more must be done to accelerate the development and dissemination of rice varieties to help farmers keep up with production demands. CORRA brings together the senior research representatives of 16 major rice-producing and -consuming nations to highlight and discuss the main issues and challenges facing the Asian rice industry.

“The rice-producing nations of Asia are facing many of the same challenges in producing the rice they need, so it makes sense for us to work together to overcome these problems,” Mangala Rai, the CORRA chair, told the meeting. Dr. Rai is also the chairman and secretary of India’s Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) and director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

“Climate change, water scarcity, and the continuing poverty of rice farmers are problems we all face,” Dr. Rai told his fellow CORRA members.

Dr. Rai said it was also important for rice researchers in Asia to have access to the most advanced scientific tools to help them increase production, and this included biotechnology.

“We decided that we should actively support the policies of our governments to promote the responsible use of biotechnology to help achieve food security and reduce poverty,” he said. “We also endorsed the risk assessment–based use of transgenic technology in rice as per national priorities for agriculture and for trade.”

The CORRA meeting was briefed as well on a proposed new system to encourage greater private sector support in the development of new hybrid rice varieties. Many of the hybrid rice varieties being grown across Asia can be traced back to work done by public research institutes such as IRRI. This earlier work has allowed the private sector to benefit from this public research almost free of charge.

Under the proposed new system – which was endorsed by CORRA – seed companies involved in producing hybrid seed as well as public sector organizations would be invited to join a public–private sector consortium. The consortium would generate funds through different levels of membership and fees, which would be used to support hybrid rice research by the public sector, but also capacity-building programs for young scientists from Asia.

Rice farmers will benefit by gaining access to a wide range of improved rice hybrids and associated crop management technologies.


###
For more information on CORRA, please go to: http://www.irri.org/corra/default.asp
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 3:03 pm    Post subject: New public-private hybrid rice group aims to raise rice yiel Reply with quote

International Rice Research Institute
9 November 2007

New public-private hybrid rice group aims to raise rice yields in the tropics

Successful deployment of hybrid rice in Asia requires more effective cooperation between public research institutions and the private sector
Manila – A new international research initiative, linking the private and public sectors for the first time and launched on November 9 at the 2007 Asian Seed Congress, aims to boost the research and development of hybrid rice for the tropics.

The Hybrid Rice Research and Development Consortium (HRDC), established by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), will strengthen public–private sector partnership in hybrid rice, a technology that can raise the yield of rice and thus overall rice productivity and profitability in Asia.

Hybrid rice takes advantage of the phenomenon of hybrid vigor—known as heterosis—to achieve yields 15–20% higher than nonhybrid (inbred) varieties. Over the past three decades, the technology has helped China achieve food security, but has not yet reached its potential in the tropics.

IRRI and its partners in the public and private sector have led research on development of, and use of, hybrid rice technology in the tropics for almost 30 years. Successful deployment of hybrid rice in Asia, however, requires more effective cooperation between public research institutions and the private sector in research to overcome current constraints.

The HRDC will be hosted by IRRI and will have three major objectives:


Support research on developing new hybrids with enhanced yield heterosis, improved seed production, multiple resistances to stresses, and grain quality.


Support research on best management practices for rice hybrids.


Improve information sharing, public awareness, and capacity building.

Public and private sector organizations and companies with interest in hybrid rice development are invited to become members of the HRDC. For private-sector members, annual financial contributions under the consortium structure will take into account the status of seed companies at different stages of development. HRDC members will have access to improved parents, hybrids, and breeding lines, including seeds and associated information.

The HRDC will have a public–private sector advisory committee and will meet annually to provide information to its members on new plant genetic resources available or under development, review research on hybrid rice management, discuss new research priorities, and make decisions on other consortium activities such as capacity building for both the public and private sectors.

According to IRRI senior hybrid rice researcher Fangming Xie, the HRDC will significantly enhance the capacity for hybrid rice research and product delivery, while providing services and support to the private sector in its product development and delivery that will benefit the general public.

“National agricultural research and extension systems and other public sector organizations engaged in hybrid rice research and development will be among the primary beneficiaries of funds generated by the HRDC”, said Dr. Xie. “Rice farmers in Asia will benefit from accelerated access to hybrid rice-based technologies such as more and better hybrids, good-quality seed, knowledge, and services provided by the private and public sectors.”
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:36 am    Post subject: Control of Carbon Isotope Discrimination in Rice Reply with quote

Control of Carbon Isotope Discrimination in Rice


by Ma. Rebecca Laza


The positive correlation of carbon isotope discrimination (CID) with grain yield and biomass makes it a desired characteristic for high yield and biomass production in a number of crops including rice. Genotypic variation in CID was reported among rice groups; the japonica types showed lower CID or high stable carbon isotope (δ 13C) values compared with the indica types; suggesting that CID is strongly affected by genetic factor. Identifying morphological and physiological factors, particularly, leaf characters related to the processes that determine genotypic variation in CID is essential in evaluating the value of CID as a criterion either for transpiration efficiency, productivity or both.

For the full article:

http://www.bahaykuboresearch.n.....mp;view=19
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:06 pm    Post subject: Rice that ‘Snaps, Crackles and Pops’ with Protein Reply with quote

Rice that ‘Snaps, Crackles and Pops’ with Protein
14 January 2008
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Scientists in the United States and India are reporting development of a high-protein variety of rice, dietary staple for half the world’s population. The study is scheduled for the Jan. 23 issue of ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a biweekly publication.

Researchers have been trying to bolster the protein in rice for five decades. Rice already is a main source of calories as well as protein intake for billions of people, and its enrichment of protein would have a positive impact on millions of poor and malnourished people in developing countries, the report says.

In the study, Hari B. Krishnan and colleagues created a hybrid by crossing a commonly cultivated rice species called Oryza sativa with a wild species, Oryza nivara. The product showed a protein content of 12.4 percent, which is 18 percent and 28 percent higher than those of the parents. The results demonstrate the potential for wild rice’s relatives for boosting the protein content in rice. The researchers conclude that the hybrid could serve as initial breeding material for new rice genotypes that could combine types with superior cooking quality with those of high protein content. - JS

ARTICLE #4 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE “Interspecific Rice Hybrid of Oryza sativa × Oryza nivara Reveals a Significant Increase in Seed Protein Content”

DOWNLOAD PDF http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sa.....71776n.pdf

DOWNLOAD HTML http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sa.....1776n.html
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:06 am    Post subject: Water-stingy agriculture reduces arsenic in rice markedly Reply with quote

Water-stingy agriculture reduces arsenic in rice markedly

Environmental Science & Technology
28 July 2008

A new farming method first developed to conserve precious irrigation water may have the added benefit of producing rice containing much less arsenic than rice grown using traditional rice-farming methods, researchers in the United Kingdom report. Their study is scheduled for the August 1 issue of ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

In the new study, Fang-Jie Zhao and colleagues point out that rice — a staple crop for 2.5 billion people worldwide — also is a major source of human exposure to arsenic in certain countries. Arsenic has been linked to cancer and other diseases. Arsenic gets in rice in countries such as Bangladesh and India when farmers flood rice paddies with arsenic-contaminated irrigation water.

The scientists compared rice plants grown in "flooded" soil in greenhouse conditions to rice plants grown under aerobic conditions. The other rice contained 10 to 15 times lower arsenic levels than the "flooded" rice, the scientists report. — MTS

ARTICLE #4 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Growing Rice Aerobically Markedly Decreases Arsenic Accumulation"

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE
http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es800324u
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