Scientists working at the Nagoya University of Japan has developed a rice variety known as ‘Snorkel’ that when it is submerged to water it grows up to an incredible 25 centimeters a day.
The rice plant does not only tolerate submergence but even grows much better when swamped with water.
In a recent paper written by Laurentius Voesenek in the journal Nature, stressed that scientists were pleasantly surprised to find out that the rice variety grown, still provides the nutrients and minerals to the entire plant that would otherwise be lost.
Voesenek added that the ‘snorkel’ rice variety’s genes of the flood tolerant rice were discovered by Japanese scientists who then introduced the genes to sensitive high yielding varieties.
‘Snorkel’ rice variety, grows as hollow tubes from parts of the plant known as inter-nodes which provide protection for the rice strain.
With the global warming that instigate unpredictably long periods of wet and dry months brought about by the ‘El Niño’ phenomenon, the rice variety ‘snorkel’ is the best option to propagate in a flood prone environment.
This rice variety is ideal to propagate in tropical countries whose fields are regularly flooded due to heavy rains and typhoons.
In the Philippines, a tropical country in which typhoons and heavy rains a yearly common sight, the snorkel variety is a welcome development to farmers where more than 500,000 metric tons were lost recently due to heavy rains and past typhoons.
The Philippine government agency, the Department of Agriculture has confided that research on the same type of rice that can withstand water submersion is ongoing at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). The Institute is also working on saline tolerant variety, the drought tolerant variety including several other traditional strains.
The government agency said, that Filipino scientists may actually use biotechnological processes to introduce the same gene in traditional indigenous rice varieties to achieve the same effect and Nagoya University may provide generous assistance for the same purpose.