New rice strain able to tolerate flooding

New rice strain able to tolerate flooding

A research team from the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (Biotec) has succeeded in developing a new rice strain called Hom Le Noi that can reportedly withstand the effects of flooding.

The team is being supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, the National Science and Technology Development Agency, the Agricultural Technology and Innovation Management Institute, the Department of Rice, and the Agricultural Research Development Agency.

Dr Theerayut Tuchinda, acting deputy director of Biotec and chief of the research team, said they used a technique called DNA Markers Assisted Breeding to improve the rice strain.

"Hom Le Noi rice can withstand a flood. It is non-photoperiod sensitive which allows the plant to grow in all climates," he said, adding the strain can also resist a bacterial leaf blight disease that makes its leaves turn yellow, as well as the brown planthopper, an invasive species that feeds on rice plans.

Dr Theerayut said the project started in 2013, with the team using the Pathum Thani 1 rice strain as the base of its research and development. They then selected the best strains grown in a laboratory for farmers to grow in numerous provinces including Phatthalung and Songkhla.

The team found that rice growing along Songkhla Lake in the two southern provinces can grow up to 120 centimetres in length. When cooked, it has a softer texture than other strains planted in similar areas, he said.

The new strain also has a stable yield each year, or around 900 kilogrammes per rai, depending on the weather conditions, he said. Biotec is in the process of registering it under the Plant Variety Act BE 2518 (1975), he added.

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