Scientists Make Arsenic-Resistant Rice A Reality

The rice research institute from India has invented a new variety of rice to the Indian market. The rice is known as “Muktoshri” or IET 21845. The special characteristic of rice is that it has cultivated in the arsenic prone area. The rice has a property that it is totally arsenic-resistance rice. The rice has a long and thin grain with aromatic nature.

The rice was developed jointly by the Rice Research Station at Chinsurah (West Bengal) and National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow.

Reasons behind to Develop the Arsenic-Resistance Rice

  • Arsenic is highly toxic to the human body and it is generally found in rock and soil. Among all other states in India, West Bengal is the largest rice producing state in India. So, due to the high concentration of arsenic in the groundwater, the Government is taken some measures to reduce the inorganic arsenic in the food-chain of the ecosystem from the soil as well as from the groundwater.
  • As from the research survey, the high concentration of arsenic was found in several districts of West Bengal. Arsenic generally found in the groundwater which is used for irrigation agriculture. 83 blocks among seven districts of West Bengal are polluted with arsenic. In West Bengal, the concentration of arsenic was found in the soil as well as in the groundwater above the benchmark.

Discovery of Rice

According to research work, it is confirmed that arsenic from groundwater and soil can enter the food-chain through paddy.

  • Scientists from West Bengal worked hard to develop the arsenic-resistance rice in the market. Bijan Adhikari, who was the main person invented the rice has said that “it is the state government’s decision to make the seeds available for cultivation came after successful trials in both the wet season and dry season in different blocks of the State. The trials were done in areas with arsenic contamination in groundwater, particularly in Nadia, North 24 Parganas, Bardhaman and Murshidabad”.
  • In the trial rounds of the rice, it has been observed that the rice variety takes very less amount of arsenic from the soil as well as from the water which is negligible and it has no side effect to the human body due to consumption of rice.
  • The variety is also high-yield variety because its production is 5.5 metric tons per hectare in Boro season and 4.5 to 5 metric tons per hectare in Kharif season respectively.
  • The research work started to develop “Muktoshri” in 2006 and it was successful in 2013.
  • The rice has a specialty that produces high-yield in dry spell too. 150 farmers from West Bengal were started to cultivating the variety in trial rounds and it is going to increase in the next few years.
  • From the above successful experiment, thousands of farmers have started cultivation across the state, even in the areas where arsenic in groundwater is not an issue, because of aroma and high-yield.

The rice has free of exposure to arsenic, cannot cause poisoning in the human body, free of skin lesions and skin cancer diseases.

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