Acharya N.G. Ranga Agriculture University takes up research on developing the new varieties

Acharya N.G. Ranga Agriculture University has taken up research on development of diabetic-friendly rice varieties in collaboration with private industries, University Vice-Chancellor Alluri Padma Raju disclosed here on Saturday.

Mr. Raju was speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of a meeting of rice millers, peasant representatives and agricultural scientists conducted by the Agricultural Research Station (ARS) at Maruteru for popularising new paddy varieties.

“Scientists are on the job of building glycemic indices (GIs) with the data on how much carbohydrates in each existing rice variety raises a person’s blood glucose levels after consuming the particular variety,” he said. As of now, 40 rice varieties were available with the researchers and 14 of them were found to be having anti-diabetic properties. Of them, BPT-5204, popularly known as Samba Masuri, was found to be more friendlier to diabetics, Mr. Raju explained.

The research strategies involved collection of anti-diabetic genes from different varieties and introduced them in the select varieties by way of selective breeding through the marker identification method.

Diabetes was fast spreading and people even below 30 years were falling prey to the disease, of late. The breakthrough, if achieved in the on-going research, would be a boon for the people prone to diabetics caused by food habits, among others, in a country where rice consumption accounted for more than 80 per cent, he hoped.

The Samba Masuri was identified as an ideal variety for projection as more diabetic friendly given its ‘admirable’ strains such as easy to cook and preservation without becoming stale for a long time after cooking and non-sticky in nature, Mr. Raju said.

The V-C informed that the gale-resistant paddy varieties, need of the hour in the cyclone-prone Godavari delta region, were likely to be released in April next, facilitating sowing for the next kharif. The research had been in progress for the last 4-5 years and it was currently under trial in different stages, he added. If these new breeds hit the markets, the paddy growers would be relieved of the miseries caused by the predominant variety of Swarna in view of its susceptibility to lodging at times of cyclones, he said.