Chinese scientists spot genetic way to clean up contaminated rice

Updated 2017-09-28 09:30:51 Global Times

Scientists spot genetic way to clean up contaminated rice

A prominent Chinese rice expert recently announced that he and his research team have made a breakthrough in removing cadmium from rice, which could make the grain safer and cleaner.

Rice contamination of this kind could lead to kidney failure or bone cancer, according to the website of agriculture authority in Huaihua, Central China's Hunan Province.

The website added that the problem of rice contaminated by cadmium is obvious in Hunan.

Professor Yuan Longping, who is known as China's "father of the hybrid rice," described this new development at a new rice exhibition in Hunan, Hunan Daily reported on Monday.

"We've seen a breakthrough in rice seed breeding, in removing genes containing or absorbing cadmium in the parent seeds. And, if they are clean, then the rice seed is clean," said Yuan.

Media have been reporting, since back in 2013, that the soil in many of China's key rice-producing regions contains high levels of cadmium, lead, arsenic and other harmful heavy metals.

The latest figures from the Environmental Protection and Land and Resources ministries show about 16 percent of China's land is polluted by cadmium, arsenic, lead, mercury and other heavy metals.

With the improvement in the standard of living, we need to place emphasis on the quality, and not just the quantity, of rice, as opposed to the past century, when the focus was merely on quantity to meet basic food demands, Yuan said in a recent documentary, Huihuang Zhongguo or "Brilliant China."

Yuan's new achievement in cadmium removal will most likely help reverse the domestic problem of crops containing heavy metals, said the Hunan Daily report.

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