NELLORE: At a time when people across the globe are taking vitamin C and multivitamin tablets with more zinc content to develop immunity against Covid, a new rice variety developed by the Agriculture Research Station (ARS) here was found to contain 22.5 per cent zinc much to the delight of agriculture scientists.
Incidentally, the average zinc content is around 16 per cent or less in other local rice varieties, scientists said.
“There are well-studied beneficial effects of zinc on the immune system, including a lessened vulnerability and enhanced clinical outcomes for contagious pathogens, including multiple viruses,” said Dr MV Ramanaiah, a physician in Peoples Poly Clinic in Nellore.
Appreciating ARS scientists for coming out with a rice variety that has additional zinc content, the senior physician said that there is no need for supplementation of zinc if it is available in food itself.
He said zinc is an effective anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative stress agent, and relevant to some severe Covid-19 viruses.
Not only high zinc content, the cooking quality of NLR 3238 rice variety developed by the research station, functioning under Acharya NG Ranga Agriculture University, is on par with the most sought after superfine rice variety in Andhra Pradesh known as BPT 5204. Moreover, it can be cultivated in any season and the yield is also high like BPT 5204 as well as the other popular variety, MT 1010.
According to a senior scientist in ARS, Sreelakshmi Chintala, NLR 3238 is a cross derivative of MTU 1010 x BPT 5204 varieties.
The objective behind coming up with the variety is to develop short duration, photo-insensitive, high yielding, dwarf varieties suitable for early kharif and rabi seasons with good cooking quality.
Important cooking and chemical quality traits like amylase content, water uptake, alkali spreading value and linear kernel elongation ratio are on par with BPT 5204.
The culture NLR 3238 was found to be good in all the yield evaluation trials conducted at ARS, and multi-location testing at different rice research stations of ANGRAU.
It proved its worth in the All India Coordinated Rice Improvement Project (AICRIP) testing. The culture was tested for two years in minikit trials at different farmer’s fields in Andhra Pradesh in 2019 and 2020 rabi seasons. It was approved for the third year of testing during the 2021 rabi season.
While welcoming the new variety, a functionary of Rice Millers Association, Nagireddy Subhramanyam Reddy said they would promote the variety while appealing to the government to give wide publicity about the zinc content and encourage farmers to cultivate it as it is yet another potent tool to fight the dreaded pandemic....