Science

New-and-improved protein-rich rice has higher yields

New-and-improved protein-rich ...
Prof. Herry Utomo evaluates the growth of new generations of high-protein rice lines
Prof. Herry Utomo evaluates the growth of new generations of high-protein rice lines
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Researchers nurture plant cell selections for high-protein rice lines
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Researchers nurture plant cell selections for high-protein rice lines
Prof. Herry Utomo evaluates the growth of new generations of high-protein rice lines
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Prof. Herry Utomo evaluates the growth of new generations of high-protein rice lines

According to the American Society of Agronomy, it's an unfortunate fact that many people in developing nations don't get enough protein in their diets. What they often do get a lot of, however, is rice. With that in mind, scientists have improved upon a type of rice that has over 50 percent more protein than regular varieties.

Two years ago, a Louisiana State University team led by Prof. Herry Utomo released a high-protein long-grain rice cultivar known as Frontière. It was developed via a traditional breeding process, and it has an average protein content of 10.6 percent – that's a 53-percent increase over the protein content of the conventional Cypress rice with which the team started.

Additionally, it requires less heat, time and water to cook. Unfortunately, though, as is often the case with crops that have been bred for increased nutrient content, its yields aren't as high as those of regular rice – about 10 percent lower than those of Cypress.

Researchers nurture plant cell selections for high-protein rice lines
Researchers nurture plant cell selections for high-protein rice lines

In order to address that shortcoming, Utomo and colleagues recently tested 20 newly-developed lines of high-protein rice (some of the plant cell selections are pictured above). It turned out that one of them had a 10 to 17-percent higher yield than Frontière.

This new line is now ready for final field testing. It is hoped that the harvested rice could serve not only as a basic food, but also as a source of protein-rich rice flour, rice milk, or other food ingredients. The scientists are presently investigating the baking characteristics of such flour, as compared to those of other types of rice flour.

Marketed as Cahokia rice, the original Frontière line is now being grown commercially in Illinois. Farmers reportedly don't incur any extra costs, or need to change their current rice-growing practises in any way.

Scientists have also recently introduced new high-protein varieties of bananas and potatoes.

Source: American Society of Agronomy

1 comment
Lim
"It's an unfortunate fact that many people in developing nations don't get enough protein in their diets" Not only is this not true, it is wrong on so many fronts. Ben I challenge you to find a person with "Protein Deficiency" It is almost unknown, globally. Further, significant science based fact points to too much Protein, being an issue, particularly in the richer countries. Thank you for your article.