According to the sources, it has been reported recently that a team of Canadian and Chinese researchers have identified “superstar” verities of rice crop that can reduce fertilizer loss, thereby helping farmers to cut costs as well as to reduce environmental pollution in the process. Further, the rice varieties that the researchers have identified belong to both Indica; the world's most popular rice type commonly grown in India, China and Southeast Asia and Japonica (the rice used in sushi) genotypes. During the studies, it has been observed that the Zhongjiu25 (ZJ25) and Wuyunjing7 (WYJ7) were the most effective genotypes among Indica and Japonica varieties, respectively. In addition, we have this bucolic idea of agriculture – animals grazing or vast fields of majestic crops but the global reality is that it is one of the biggest drivers of environmental pollution and climate change, as per one of the studies conducted by the authors Herbert Kronzucker, Professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
Furthermore, under this project Prof Kronzucker in collaboration with a team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences looked at 19 varieties of rice to see which ones were more efficient at using nitrogen. It has been revealed that anything that one can do to reduce demand for nitrogen, both environmentally and for farmers in the developing world struggling to pay for it, is a significant contribution, as highlighted by the researchers. Moreover, the researchers identified a novel class of chemicals which is produced and released by the roots of rice crops that directly influence the metabolism of soil microbes. It has also been found that key microbial reactions that lead to an inefficiency in nitrogen capture can be significantly reduced in certain varieties of rice plants through the action of those specific chemicals released from root cells. Further, one of the main reasons that the crops waste so much fertilizer is that they were bred that way. In the past, fertilizers were relatively inexpensive to produce because fossil fuels were abundant and cheap.
In view of the findings obtained, the plant geneticists bred crops that responded to high fertilizer use regardless of how efficient they were at using nitrogen. These inefficiencies used to be of little interest, but now, with fluctuating fuel prices and growing concerns over climate change, it's a much bigger issue as stated by Prof Kronzucker. It has been expected by the researchers that this study published in the journal New Phytologist, will help to inform rice-growing strategies throughout Asia. However, one option could be to provide farmers with government incentives like tax credits and to switch to more towards nitrogen friendly variety. While, other outcome could be better breeding programmes where even better species of crops can be produced and there is no reason a crop can't result in less pollution which may also by saving farmers money too, the two are not incompatible.