Thursday, August 8, 2013

BARC grows 41 varieties of crops through 'nuclear agriculture'

A day after the world's first synthetic burger was unveiled in London, India had its own Eureka moment of food modification. The Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) announced Tuesday that it had developed 41 varieties of crops under its nuclear agriculture programme in Trombay. These include 15 varieties of groundnut, three kinds of mustard, two types of soyabean and one variety of sunflower. Eight types of moong, four kinds of tuvar, five kinds of urad, and one variety each of chouli, rice and jute was cultivated.
Dr Suresh G Bhagwat, head of nuclear agriculture & biotechnology, BARC, said this at a Press Club Knowledge Series event organised by BARC and the Public Relations Council of India (PRCI). He said, If India has to be self-reliant in food production it is imperative to embrace nuclear agriculture technology. More so because agricultural land is becoming scarce and the demand for food is growing.'' Bhagwat said radiation on plants can enhance genetic variability'' which can be harnessed for developing new varieties of crops like cereals, pulses and oilseeds. These can be infused with special qualities like increased yield, disease resistance, early maturity and salinity- or water-stress tolerance. BARC has also developed elite varieties of banana.

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