Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New knowledge improves rice quality

08.05.2007
Could help poor farmers boost income

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.

Duncan Macintosh | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cgiar.org
http://www.knowledgebank.irri.org

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht The future of crop engineering
08.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

nachricht Maize pest exploits plant defense compounds to protect itself
28.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>