Indian scientists win international awards

Friday, 12 November 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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New Delhi, Nov 12 (IANS) Scientists from India have cornered many prestigious rice-research awards announced during the International Year of Rice.

The winners include rice breeder S. Mallik, meteorologist G. Nageswara Rao and microbiologist Ashutosh Pathak.

Rice breeder S. Mallik of the Rice Experiment Station in Chinsurah, West Bengal, has bagged this year's Senadhira Award for developing rice varieties for rain-fed lowlands, according to results confirmed at the World Rice Research Conference in Japan last week.

The Senadhira Award, declared once in two years, honours a leading Asian scientist working in rice research.

Mallik spent 27 years generating technologies for the rain-fed lowland ecologies in India. Thirty-four of his breeding lines have been recommended for release through the national testing programme, and many other lines sent to international nurseries have performed well, the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said in a statement released here.

IRRI said scientists from India also did well in a series of seven $500 awards for short scientific papers presented by International Rice Research Notes (IRRN), a journal that completes three decades next year.

Meteorologist G. Nageswara Rao was the first author of the winning paper in the socio-economic category, for a study on advance estimation of rice production in India from weather indices.

Rao, who works under the UN Development Programme and heads the meteorology department at Arba Minch University in Ethiopia, collaborated on the paper with former colleagues at the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture in Hyderabad.

The third winner Ashutosh Pathak is a microbiologist now working for a water purification firm in Uttaranchal while serving as a faculty member and advisor in food technology at Allahabad University. He won in the field of pest science and management.

In Crop Management and Physiology, the award went to a paper by a group funded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research at the Central Rice Research Institute in Cuttack, Orissa.

"The group has been working on developing a suitable technique to screen rice varieties exhibiting submergence tolerance," said Ramani Kumar Sarkar, a senior scientist and first author of Chlorophyll fluorescence parameters as indicators of submergence tolerance in rice.

Sarkar added: "The traditional technique of submerging rice plants and then looking for survivors helped in identifying submergence tolerance, but resulted in the loss of valuable material during screening. So we tried a non-destructive technique based on chlorophyll fluorescence parameters to differentiate between tolerant and susceptible genotypes."

From Bihar, a paper by R. Thakur won in plant breeding. It looked at Santosh, a high-yielding variety for rainfed lowlands, developed through participatory breeding.

Other prize-winning research came up from Pakistan, Thailand and China.

Source: IANS
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