Study on submergence tolerant rice awarded

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Studies on submergence tolerant rice and clonal propagation of nipa bested more than a hundred researches during the recent 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

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The study, titled “Submergence Tolerant Rice: Mitigating the Effect of Climate Change in Flash Flood Prone Areas in the Philippines” by Loida Perez, Teodora Mananghaya, Verna Dalusong, Henry Ticman, Joselyn Bagarra and Nenita Desamero was adjudged best scientific poster in the agricultural sciences category.

Meanwhile, “Tissue Culture Technique for Clonal Propagation of Nipa Palm” by Victoria Lapitan, Katrina Leslie Nicolas and Eufemio Rasco Jr., executive director of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), won best scientific poster in the biological sciences category.

Perez, head of the PhilRice Genetic Resources Division, and her team found that NSIC Rc160 is a promising submergence tolerant rice cultivar as it showed a 58-percent submergence survival rate, which is higher than IR64 Sub1 and IR42.

The team of Perez is incorporating the Sub1 gene to the country’s high yielding varieties, using marker-assisted breeding methods to help farmers in flash flood-prone areas. Sub1 gene enables rice to survive and recover after flooding.

Meanwhile, Lapitan and her team used the in vitro clonal propagation to produce large quantities of high-quality nipa palm. In rice production, nipa has the potential to provide fuel for farm mechanization while rice, through its biomass, provides fuel in the production of alcohol from nipa sap.

Results show that through in vitro clonal propagation, 200 seedlings could be produced from a seed of nipa in a year at an 80-percent survival rate. Conventionally, it takes at least five to six years to generate 15 to 36 seedlings at a 60-percent to 93-percent germination rate.

Lapitan said that the study is the first attempt to develop in vitro clonal propagation technique for nipa using embryos from mature fruits of nipa.

“The clonal propagation was performed by cutting the plantlets longitudinally along the shoot apical meristem into four sections and cultured in the regeneration medium,” she said.

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