By using radiation induced mutagenesis along with cross breeding, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has developed two mutants of rice and one mutant of cowpea, which are ready for release.
The name of the varieties are Trombay Raipur Rice-1 (TRR-1), Trombay Konkan Kolam (TKKR-13) and Trombay Cowpea 901 (TC-901). The information was given by the Indian government told Parliament through a written response.
The BARC has also developed several mutants of groundnut, mustard, cowpea, blackgram, greengram, soybean, rice and wheat that are undergoing advance field trials in State Agricultural Universities. “The major desirable traits in these crops include higher yield, seed size, improved agronomic and quality traits, early maturity and stress tolerance,” the statement said.
The release stated that the BARC developed mutant crop varieties have found “high patronage from the farming community and are extensively grown in different states of the country”. “Popularization is done by linkages established with State Agricultural Universities (through kisan mela, frontline demonstrations, exhibitions and awareness programmes),” the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.
Apart from creating new varieties, nuclear technologies are used in other areas of agriculture, like improving soil fertility and increase agricultural production. It was earlier reported by Nuclear Asia that the scientists at the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University have conducted studies on the soil and water in various regions using nuclear and isotopic techniques. They have integrated their findings with livestock production methods and crop and livestock-based organic farming system.
The collaboration that began in 2013 has helped in increasing the organic carbon content of the soil.