Thai university creates new rice breeds using ion beams

CHIANG MAI (The Nation/ANN): Chiang Mai University’s Institute of Scientific and Technological Research has been successful in using ion beam to induce mutation in existing rice breeds to create new ones that provide better yield and are resilient against diseases and pests, researcher Dr Boonyarak Panchaisri said.

“Our research team has been working for more than 10 years with Dr Thirapat Wilaithong from the university’s Physics Excellence Centre who developed a particle accelerator to create ion beam to induce rice mutation, ” Boonyarak said.

“We were able to create three new rice breeds, namely FRK-1 fragrant rice for consumption, MYS-4 rice for the starch industry and OSSY-23 rice for animal feed. These breeds give better yield and can withstand several diseases as well as pests.”

Buoyed by this success, the university has recently signed an MoU with the Ratchaburi Farmer Council, which will test the new breeds out in the province’s Huai Phai subdistrict.

If the crop is successful, then they will begin distributing seeds as well as instructions to farmers in the provinces of Kanchanaburi, Kamphaeng Phet, Chai Nat, Pathum Thani, Prachinburi, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Lopburi, Saraburi, Singburi, Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Ang Thong and Uttaradit.

“We hope these new rice breeds will help boost output and revenue for rice farmers, reduce disparity as well as attract new graduates to pursue careers in agriculture, ” he added. - The Nation/Asia News Network

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