Analysis of seed protein profile of an indigenous variety of rice

1.    NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE  : PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR    Geetha S. Naik      Dept. of Botany,    Dr. A. V. Baliga College of Arts & Science, KUMTA –5813432.    UGC APPROVAL NO AND DATE :    MRP(S)-237/08-09/KAKA087/UGC-SWRO Dated 30-3 20093.    UGC APPROVAL NO AND DATE  :    Analysis of seed protein profile of an indigenous variety of rice “kagga” of  central west coast of  india.


This project  is aimed at making a comparative study of two indigenous and less known varieties of paddy, cultivated exclusively in the estuarine fields of coastal North Kanara district, in the State of Karnataka. Estuary is an area near the river mouth, where the river meets the sea. The low lying estuarine fields are always open to tidal effects. Hence the water in the river mouth is highly saline. Only salt tolerant strains of paddy can be grown in such fields.      

    Kagga is a rare  indigenous variety of paddy which is tolerant to salinity and  submergence.  The two landraces known as Bilikagga and Karikagga are being cultivated in the saline estuaries, since centuries. Kari Kagga has darker husk, whereas Bili Kagga has lighter golden yellow husk. Both have bold red kernel. They are also characterized by the presence of long awn. Owing to the red kernel, these landraces of red rice are highly nutritive (Uma Ahuja Kari Kagga possesses medicinal value and has cooling effect. It is little hard to cook and digest, and is cherished more by physically working people.  The slow digestibility of red rice is believed to prevent Type-II diabetes.      

   Kagga also gains importance due to its peculiar method of cultivation. Farmers build embankments fitted with sluice gates to prevent the ingress of salt water from the river. Cultivation is done by natural method which needs neither ploughing nor mannuring. Germinated seeds are broadcasted and the plants grow naturally. During the harvest only the panicles of paddy are cut and the rest of the stalk is left in the field. The paddy stubble left in the field will decompose and provide organic matter. Then the fields are used for fish culture. This paddy cum fish culture practice would fetch the farmer a substantial return. In fact  Kagga  is a zero input crop. The paddy and the fish culture are complementary to each other and this tradition had maintained a perfect balance in the estuarine ecosystem.      

      But, in 1990s the paddy fields were leased out for commercial prawn culture and many paddy fields were permanently converted into fish ponds. It became a lucrative business and many farmers bid good-bye to paddy-culture for the attractive lease money. As salt water was stored in the prawn culture ponds throughout the year the ground water was gradually  contaminated with salt and the natural flow of water in gazani land was also hampered. Public started complaining against the adverse effects and in 1999 the Apex Court intervened to see that all commercial shrimp culture is stopped in view of the C.R.Z. violation.                 

    Thus,  Kagga suffered a setback losing its major area of  cultivation in coastal taluks. The total area under Kagga cultivation has reduced to 1000 acres from about 3000 acres in Kumta. 

         It is in this context, “Kagga”, a time tested, stress tolerant, native variety was selected for this project which is under the threat of extinction.  Along with the comparison of seed proteins of two variations of  Kagga by SDS PAGE, it is also compared with a wild variety(Nere) and a popular variety(Mo4 Bhadra). This kind of work may help in molecular marker assisted selection in breeding work.   

    The fat content in the seed is also estimated which gives a measure of it’s nutritive value. (It is found to be 4.37% in Kari kagga and 2.40% in Bili Kagga )        The results show that, the protein content is 2.50mg/ml. and 1.95mg/ml. in Kari kagga and Bili Kagga respectively. The seed protein analysis showed that, the two kagga varieties looking similar in many respects, are much different with respect to banding pattern of their seed proteins The range of soil salinity to which the Kagga is tolerant was studied.    

           The morphological similarity between two kagga varieties, may be the result of parallel evolution  under the same ecological conditions. The two Kagga var. s are sharing many wild characteristics and may be representing a step in domestication. In other words, they might be incompletely domesticated. Comparison of DNA may help resolve this problem more reliably in future studies.   

      In view of the climate change in future, and increasing soil salinity conservation of this rare germplasm with resistance to stresses like salinity, submergence, disease etc. is very important. The genes imparting these qualities are yet to be identified in this rare variety.  No work has been done on Kagga so far and no literature is available till today. Such genotypes may also be useful in future breeding program to obtain improved transgenic rice varieties.  Hence, Kagga needs to be conserved. Effective measures are to be taken to see that cultivation of Kagga is not hampered. Creating awareness among farmers and the public about the importance of native varieties of Paddy is the need of the hour.  

      The following measures may be taken to save Kagga before it completely disappears from the scene.

1 –Construction of Permanent embankment by the government to help come over the flood problem.
2 – Declaring the Kagga growing area as Kagga conserving area and allow no other  activities, except traditional cultivation of paddy and natural culture of fish in the area.
3 –Documenting Kagga in the People’s Biodiversity Register as an indigenous and threatened crop biodiversity of coastal Uttara Kannada.
4 – Encouraging  the Kagga growing  farmers with incentives for production of seeds  which will help the “in-situ” conservation of a rare variety.
5- Popularize the red rice among the rice consumers for its nutritive value.


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