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December 18, 2014

RIKEN Nishina Center signs MoU with Universitas Hasanuddin of Indonesia

Universitas Hasanuddin Rector Dwia Aries Tina Pulubuhu (left) and Nishina Center Director Hideto En'yo at the signing ceremony

On December 10, a signing ceremony was held at the RIKEN Nishina Center (RNC) for a memorandum of understanding with Universitas Hasanuddin of Indonesia. The MoU is for research collaboration on improving indigenous Indonesian crops using heavy-ion beams and analyzing the resulting mutagenic properties.

RNC adds value to plants by irradiating plant seeds with heavy-ion beams to induce mutagenesis. This research has been conducted on various plants, but for rice, in particular, research in collaboration with domestic agricultural experiment stations in Japan is ongoing to achieve improved salt tolerance, dwarfing, and early maturation.

Universitas Hasanuddin has been preserving different kinds of indigenous Indonesian rice with disease resistant, nutritional, and aromatic properties. In Indonesia, demand is growing for tasteful and healthy rice, such as black rice and aromatic rice, and these kinds of rice are preferred over high-yield regular rice. Indonesian rice, however, is long-stemmed, has low yield, and takes a long time to grow, characteristics that make it unsuitable for new cultivation methods.

Under the terms of the MoU, the Ion Beam Breeding Team of RNC's Accelerator Applications Research Group will irradiate indigenous rice plants supplied by Universitas Hasanuddin with heavy-ion beams to develop new, hardy breeds that will still possess the good traits of Indonesian rice.

A part of this research is supported by the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI), Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP), "Technologies for creating next-generation agriculture, forestry and fisheries," funded by the Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution, NARO.