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Optimizing Rice through SPRI System of Probiotic and Rice Intensification

Optimizing Rice through SPRI System of Probiotic and Rice Intensification

With Department of Civil Engineering Director Yu-Min Wang at the helm, the International Irrigation Research Center has been cooperating with the Council of Agriculture, the Pingtung Farmland Water Conservation Association, and the Society for SRI Conservation Agriculture and Environmental Studies to develop a high quality probiotic to use in a rice cultivation method that can reduce water usage by 15% and increase overall production value by 30%.

The research team also cooperated with the Kaohsiung Agriculture Research and Extension Center to develop a brown rice that, when its enzyme are fully activated, is rich in γ-Aminobutyric acid (“GABA”; 11 times greater than white rice), IP6, Inositol, Ferulic acid, vitamin B, vitamin 3, magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc, protein and dietary fiber, making it the best choice for health conscious consumers in the modern era.

On February 20th, a press conference was held to share some of the impressive details of the research and a memorandum of understanding was signed between NPUST and DaBomb Protein Co. Ltd., a company that will be working with the university to help bring new value to the rice industry. 

NPUST President Chang-Hsien Tai stated that “in response to the many different challenges the agriculture industry is facing, NPUST has been integrating technologies from different areas of expertise on campus. Whether the problems are related to agriculture techniques, water and soil conservation or labor shortages, we are finding ways to apply research results directly to the field.”

Professor Yu-Min Wang, Director of the Department of Civil Engineering explained that “using the SPRI System of Probiotic and Rice Intensification reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides – and the natural probiotics used help improve soil quality. It also allows for lower water usage and higher overall production value. NPUST has begun using this technology to extend service to farmers. Currently it is being applied in Tainan, Taitung and Pingtung and hopes are that in the future it will spread throughout Taiwan, not only benefiting the soil but also allowing more people to taste this flavorful rice.”

The rice that the team is using in its research is the Kaohsiung 147 (KH147) variety cultivated by the Kaohsiung Agriculture Research and Extension Center. Not only does the rice perform very well in the desired conditions, but when combined with the research of Assistant Professor Su-Ju Lin of the Department of Plant Industry, the results are even better. Professor Lin discovered that γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), which has been become a popular supplement in recent years, exists in its highest concentration when the rice buds are 1.5mm long –and, through a unique soaking and germinating technique, the length of the bud can be limited to precisely that length with a germination rate of 95%. In the past, Taiwan relied on agriculture as it transitioned to industry; but current development is using industry to complement agriculture and leading it into an era of smart cultivation.

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