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CSIR –CCMB’s Development and Commercialization of Improved Samba Mahsuri Rice

24 May 2017

An outstanding example of inter-institutional collaboration

Samba Mahsuri (SM) is a popular rice variety grown largely in 1-2 million hectares of the Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. It is susceptible to the serious Bacterial Blight (BB) disease, which is caused by the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) and which can result in yield losses of up to 50 per cent. As effective chemicals that can control the yield loss were not available, it was proposed to develop a host plant (resistant) variety of rice.

In a collaborative project, scientists from CSIR-CCMB and the ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR, erstwhile Directorate of Rice Research [DRR]), worked together to develop a bacterial blight resistant derivative of Samba Mahsuri. This new variety, called Improved Samba Mahsuri, retains the fine quality and yield characteristics of Samba Mahsuri. ISM was developed using Marker Assisted Selection and is not a transgenic plant. ISM has been notified for commercial cultivation by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. ISM has also been registered with the Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers Rights Authority (PPV & FRA), Government of India.

The CSIR 800 project is a flagship program of CSIR that was conceptualised to foster a sense of social consciousness and responsibility by participation in Science & Technology activities relevant to the nation. Under this program, Farmer Meetings were conducted in the States of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh and seeds of the ISM Rice Variety were distributed to farmers to popularise its cultivation.

One of the success stories of the CSIR 800 program is the popularity of this variety in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. Due to the consistent efforts of CSIR-CCMB and ICAR-IIRR in conjunction with the state agriculture department, farmer to farmer spread of the variety has ensured that it is being cultivated in an ever-increasing area. In the aftermath of the cyclone Hudhud, in November 2014 there was a severe epidemic of bacterial blight in the East Godavari district. The fields of the farmers who grew Improved Samba Mahsuri survived the onslaught of the disease while the fields of farmers who grew Samba Mahsuri were severely affected by the disease.

On account of such experiences, Improved Samba Mahsuri has to date been cultivated in ~120000 hectares in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Bihar. The total turnover for farmers is approximately Rs.600.00 Crores.

In one of the field trips under this program, it was observed that improved Samba Mahsuri exhibits enhanced tolerance to bacterial leaf streak, a disease for which very few resistant varieties have been reported.

In the year 2015, the technology has been licensed to Metahelix Life Sciences, Bangalore.

The awards and recognitions for this much lauded CSIR-CCMB initiative includes the CSIR Award for S&T Innovations for Rural Development -2013 to CCMB and DRR; The Biotech Product and Process Development and Commercialisation Award to ICAR-IIRR and CSIR-CCMB jointly in 2016.

Improved Samba Mahsuri is a stellar example illustrating that the nation benefits when organizations with mutually complementary expertise synergise to unravel problems of national importance. The ongoing research in this collaborative program is aimed at developing improved varieties of Samba Mahsuri that have higher yield and resistance to other biotic and abiotic stresses.

{Feature has been uploaded by CSIR (Unit for Science Dissemination), Ministry of Science & Technology, New Delhi}.

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