In focus: Blast disease in rice
- Blast disease is a fungal disease that infests rice severely threatening food security worldwide.
- In India, blast disease is epidemics occurred 7 times between 1980 and 1987 in AP, HP, Haryana and TN.
- Blast disease in rice is caused by fungus Magnaporthe oryzae which is one of the top 10 fungal plant pathogens in the world.
- It can infest rice plant in every stage of growth right from seedling including leaves, roots, nodes, panicles etc.
- Use of fungicides
- Fertilizer management
- Planting at a time when pathogens are dormant
- Breeding programme employing disease resistant cultivars
- The pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae has adaptability to various environmental conditions and therefore widespread.
- Managing the disease with fungicides is expensive and also has side effects on human health and environment.
- The pathogen is extremely virulent posing a constant challenge to disease resistant varieties.
- In this regard, identifying new spectrum of genes responsible for development of disease resistance in the rice genome is necessary.
- This work was undertaken by ICAR-NRRI.
- Once the disease resistant genes are mapped, the rice germplasms dominant in the identified disease resistant genes can be used in breeding programmes.
In brief: National Gene Bank
- National Gene Bank was established in 1997 under National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR).
- National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources primarily deals with crop improvement and diversification in India by maintaining and augmenting genetic diversity.
- Its activities include germplasm exploration, exchange and conservation and plant quarantine.
- In this direction, National Gene Bank was established as safe repository to conserve the seeds of crop germplasm.
In brief: National Rice Research Institute, Cuttack
- NRRI is the successor of Central Institute for Rice Research in India.
- The Central Institute for Rice Research was established to arrest sever food shortage that occurred in the aftermath of the Great Bengal Famine.
- It is under the Crop Science Division of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
- Primarily providing research support for stabilizing rice productivity in India.
- To collect, evaluate and conserve rice germplasm.
- Integrated pest, disease and nutrient management.
- Maintain a database of features of rice and rice-based cropping systems in India.