Indian researchers have developed a rice variety that’s resistant to Arsenic (As). The new rice variety, Muktoshri, also called IET 21845, was developed jointly by the Rice Research Station at Chinsurah, West Bengal Department of Agriculture, and the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow. Work on developing the variability started in 2006 and by 2013 the scientists were successful. This variety uptake a very little amount of arsenic from soil and water as compared to other sorts of rice. the variability yields 55 quintals per hectare within the Boro season and 45 quintals to 50 quintals per hectare within the Kharif season, respectively. Several studies have shown that Arsenic from groundwater and the soil can enter the food chain through paddy.
- Muktoshri Also known as IET 21845 is the world’s first Arsenic resistant rice variety.
- It is developed from Rice Research Station at Chinsurah, West Bengal & National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow.
- Muktoshri is an Arsenic-resistant high-yielding, aromatic, thin variety of rice, named so by the CM Mamata Banerjee.
- It has enabled farmers in 81 Arsenic-affected blocks to cultivate rice.
The Problem of Arsenic contamination:-
Arsenic is of course present at high levels within the groundwater of various nations. it is highly toxic in its inorganic form. Arsenic contamination of groundwater is widespread and there are a variety of regions where arsenic contamination of drinking water is critical. Long-term exposure to arsenic from drinking water and food can cause cancer and skin lesions. It has also been associated with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. In utero and early childhood, exposure has been linked to negative impacts on cognitive development and increased deaths in young adults.
The 10 chemicals of public health concern (Source- WHO):-
1) Air pollution.
2) Arsenic (As).
4) Benzene (C6H6).
5) Cadmium (Cd).
6) Dioxins and dioxin-like substances.
7) Inadequate or excess fluoride.
8) Lead (Pb).
9) Mercury (Hg).
10) Highly Hazardous Pesticides.
Arsenic is one among WHO’s 10 chemicals of major public health concern.
It is now recognized that a minimum of 140 million people in 50 countries is a beverage containing arsenic at levels above the WHO provisional guideline value of 10 μg/L.
As per the newest report of the Central spring water Board (CGWB), 21 states across the country have pockets with arsenic levels above the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) stipulated permissible limit of 01 milligrams per liter (mg/l).
In India, arsenic contamination was first officially confirmed in West Bengal in 1983. on the brink of four decades after its detection, the scenario has worsened, about 9.6 million people in West Bengal are at immediate risk from arsenic contamination in groundwater.
West Bengal is among the States with the very best concentration of arsenic in groundwater, with as many as 83 blocks across seven districts having higher arsenic levels than permissible limits.