Biotech Updates

'Superstar' Rice Varieties Reduce Fertilizer Loss, Cut Down Pollution

August 3, 2016

A team of researchers from Canada and China has identified 'superstar' rice varieties that can reduce fertilizer loss, cutting costs and reducing pollution in the process. The identified rice varieties belong to both Indica (the world's most popular rice type grown in India, China and Southeast Asia) and Japonica (rice used in sushi) genotypes.

The study, authored by Professor Herbert Kronzucker of the University of Toronto Scarborough, looked at 19 varieties of rice to see which ones were more efficient at using nitrogen. Zhongjiu25 (ZJ25) and Wuyunjing7 (WYJ7) were the most effective genotypes among Indica and Japonica varieties, respectively, according to the study.

The team identified a novel class of chemicals produced and released by the roots of rice crops that directly influence the metabolism of soil microbes. They found that key microbial reactions that lead to an inefficiency in nitrogen capture can be significantly reduced in certain rice plants through the specific chemicals released from root cells.

More details are available at the websites of the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.