Benefits of radiation-modified carrageenan plant growth regulator revealed

By Ma. Cristina C. Arayata

MANILA, Nov 12 (PNA) — The benefits of radiation-modified carrageenan plant growth regulator (CPGR) were revealed via the presentation of Multi-location Trials of Radiation-modified Carrageenan Project on Thursday at Brgy. Balatong B in Pulilan, Bulacan.

A team headed by Gil Magsino of the National Crop Protection Center – University of the Philippines – Los Banos (UPLB-NCPC)conducted the trial in Bulacan.

The collaborative program was implemented by the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), the Philippine Rice Institute (PhilRice), UPLB-NCPC, and was funded by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD)

According to Magsino, the project yielded the following results: on grain weight, application of three and six bags of chemical fertilizer per hectare (ha), combined with 200 ppm (or 20 mL/L) of CPGR yielded higher grain weight (450 g and 455 g/10 hills, respectively) than the farmers’ practice of applying nine bags of chemical fertilizer/ha, which yielded only 275 g/10 hills.

Furthermore, productive tillers and panicle length (length of inflorescence) were also significantly higher in the test crops compared with those in the farmers’ field.

Productive tillers are the rice stems that bear panicles (rice inflorescence) with fertilized grains, while longer rice panicle is associated with producing more rice grains.

Magsino highlighted that radiation-modified carrageenan is a good plant growth promoter and inducer of resistance against major pests of rice.

According to PCAARRD, CPRG also makes the rice stems stronger, making the rice more resistant to lodging. It added that CPGR is compatible with farmers’ practice on fertilizer application. Only a small dose of CPGR is needed to serve as an effective organic fertilizer.

Meanwhile, a farmer’s forum was also conducted in Bulacan after the project presentation.

PCAARRD also noted that CPGR promotes resistance to rice tungo virus and bacterial leaf blight. Moreover, it highlighted that it has no harmful effects on beneficial insects and anthropods.

Carrageenans are described as a family of linear sulphated polyssacharides extracted from edible red seaweeds. Due to their gelling, thickening and stabilizing properties, carrageenans are also widely used in the food industry.

Studies conducted by the PNRI showed that when polysaccharide is subjected to modified irradiation technology, it can be used as an effective plant growth promoter. (PNA)