Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in association with the Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR) has come out with an Improved Samba Masuri (ISM) which is not only resistant to bacteria blight but also has a low Glycemic Index (GI) considered suitable for those with diabetes.
National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), a constituent of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has done extensive human trials on the new variety and had come to the conclusion that ISM has low GI of 50.99 which is among the lowest value for several rice varieties tested and usually in the range of 53 to 69.
GI value of a food is determined by feeding 10 or more healthy people a portion of the food containing 50 grams of digestible (available) carbohydrate and then measuring the effect on their blood glucose levels over the next two hours.
Consumption of food with low GI results in slow release of glucose into the bloodstream reducing the ill-effects of diabetes.
Plus, ISM also has desirable attributes like better yield and fine grain type enhancing market potential and profit for farmers, they told a press conference.
With financial support from National Agricultural Technology Project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and CSIR800 program of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) work began in 1999 and completed in 2006, it was validated in 10 different locations for two years across the country. It was released in 2008.
Farmers in several rice growing States have testified to the improved yield of up to 40% because of successful tackling of Bacteria Blight. In two/three years time, the scientists are confident of coming out with a new variety of rice which can not only give high yields but also be resistant to three different pests affecting rice crop with field trials currently on.
CCMB Director Rakesh Kumar Misra said ISM development was an excellent example of inter-institutional collaboration. Two firms have expressed interest in commercial production of the seed and scientists expect more farmers to take to it in the coming years.