POST Online Media Lite Edition


Scientists from six countries together develop nutrient-enriched rice

Staff writer |
Scientists from Colombia and five other countries have developed a genetically modified variety of rice with high content of iron and zinc.

Article continues below

This is according to Agro-Bio, a Bogota-based association for the promotion of biotechnology.

The new variety was a project of the International Rice Research Institute and drew on work by scientists from Colombia, the Philippines, Indonesia, the United States, Australia and Japan.

Researchers combined rice and soy-ferritin genes to produce a grain with high content of micronutrients.

They implanted the modified genes in the world’s most-cultivated variety of rice, which comes from Southeast Asia, where deficiencies in iron and zinc are common.

Due to regulatory requirements, the enriched rice will take a minimum of four years to reach the market, Agro-Bio said in a statement.

“Foods derived from transgenic crops and scientific innovations in agriculture contribute to food security and they can improve the diet of populations who now suffer nutrient deficiencies,” Agro-Bio director Maria Andrea Uscategui said.

The new rice “is a step forward in efforts to fight the lack of micronutrients or hidden hunger,” the association said.

Agro-Bio says that “hidden hunger” affects roughly 38 percent of pregnant women and 43 percent of toddlers worldwide, with the impact concentrated in developing countries.

What to read next

Organic rice protein market to jump to 96.5 million
Indonesia to open its market for Indian rice
Myanmar to explore new markets for rice export