11th May 2016, New Delhi
Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Hon'ble President of India conferred prestigious “Biotech Product and Process Development and Commercialization Award 2016" to a joint team from ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research (ICAR-IIRR) and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB) for the development and commercialization of Improved Samba Mahsuri, a bacterial blight resistant rice variety here today.
The award has been instituted by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India to recognize outstanding contributions of scientists and innovators in the field of product development in biotechnology.
Samba Mahsuri (also called BPT5204) is a popular rice variety that was originally developed by the Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University (in erstwhile undivided Andhra Pradesh) and is cultivated in several million hectares of farmers’ fields in India. However, Samba Mahsuri is susceptible to the serious Bacterial Blight disease which can cause yield losses ranging from 10-50%. Effective bactericides are not available for controlling bacterial blight.
The joint team of scientists from ICAR-IIRR and CSIR-CCMB addressed this problem using a tool of biotechnology called marker assisted selection. The newly developed variety, called Improved Samba Mahsuri is resistant to bacterial blight and retains the fine quality and yield characteristics of Samba Mahsuri. Since its release, Improved Samba Mahsuri has been cultivated in ~90,000 hectares of farmers’ fields in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, etc. Improved Samba Mahsuri is becoming increasingly popular with farmers in bacterial blight affected areas of India in which Samba Mahsuri is cultivated.
Dr. Ramesh V Sonti and Dr. Raman Meenakshi Sundaram led the teams from CSIR-CCMB and ICAR-IIRR, respectively.
(Source: from ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research, Hyderabad)