Friday, March 13, 2015

Rice R & D (Innovation & Technology) News -06-12 March,2015

Global campaign for 'golden rice'

Reaz Ahmad
Patrick Moore
A global campaign that supports the genetically modified "golden rice" and promotes the cause for fighting child mortality entered Bangladesh yesterday as part of its three-nation Asia tour. The campaign -- Allow Golden Rice Now -- is being spearheaded by a man who happens to be a convert from the world's biggest anti-GMO (genetically modified organism) lobby -- Greenpeace.“If golden rice were a cure for cancer, malaria, or Ebola, it would have been approved 10 years ago. In that time, 20 million people, mostly children, have died. This is a crime against humanity,” said Patrick Moore, the campaign head and a Canadian ecologist, at a press briefing in Dhaka yesterday.
Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace and an ex-director of the world's largest green group, left Greenpeace as he considered its positions on various issues unscientific.In 2013, along with his brother Michael Moore, he founded the Allow Golden Rice Society -- a non-profit organisation dedicated to seeing golden rice approved for commercial agriculture.Golden rice is a genetically modified rice variety capable of fighting child mortality and blindness caused by vitamin A deficiency. The rice is infused with vitamin A producing beta carotene taken from maize.Along with Manila-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Bangladesh is now at the forefront in developing golden rice. However, crops derived through agricultural biotechnology and genetic engineering are often met with opposition from the anti-GMO lobbies.
The Allow Golden Rice Now campaign that began on March 4 will run in Bangladesh for four days and tour the Philippines and India up to March 20, as these are the few countries where vitamin A deficiency is a major cause of child mortality."Two million children and many mothers die each year from a lack of this essential vitamin. It is the greatest cause of child death today. Golden rice is the obvious cure, but because it was created with genetic science, Greenpeace and the anti-GMO movement fervently oppose it," Moore said.
On August 8, 2013, Greenpeace instigated the destruction of golden rice scientific field trials at the IRRI in the Philippines. The Allow Golden Rice Society is actively campaigning for the approval of the rice so it can be delivered to the 200 million children who are deficient in vitamin A.“All we ask is that Greenpeace and their allies make an exception for golden rice in their opposition to GM crops,” he said. “Millions of lives are at stake.
”The members of the Golden Rice South Asia Tour also include Horst Rehberger, a senior German politician; Uwe Schrader, a German expert in biotechnology, and Hans-Jörg Jacobsen, a German heading Plant Biotechnology at the Institute of Plant Genetics of Leibniz University in Hanover.“I want to seek solutions to different problems and not just oppose one thing or the other," Moore told The Daily Star. He deplored that some 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight.
"This tragedy can be eliminated with golden rice… but has been blocked by Greenpeace for over a decade. During that time over eight million children have gone blind and then died."Moore and his campaign team lauded Bangladesh for being the first among all Asian nations in introducing GM vegetable - Bt Brinjal. "We will see Bt Brinjal fields on Friday," Moore said, adding that they also sought to meet Bangladesh's agriculture minister on Thursday.

Understanding plants' immune systems could lead to better tomatoes, roses, rice

Plants that are infected with speck disease often have wilted leaves and damaged fruit. Credit: University of Missouri
Spring is just around the corner and for millions of Americans, that means planting a garden with plenty of fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes. However, some of the plants will be infected by bacteria, leading to stunted growth and less nutritional value. Now, a University of Missouri research team has uncovered new regulations of defense pathways for plants. This discovery could lead to helping those home-grown tomatoes fight off certain bacteria better and has implications for pear trees, roses, soybeans and rice.
  "Each year, millions of dollars are lost from damage to crops and ornamental plants caused by pathogens, which include a bacteria known as Pseudomonas Syringae," said Antje Heese, assistant professor of biochemistry at MU. "This bacteria directly affects tomatoes and causes speck disease that permanently damages the fruit and leaves. In our study, we used Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant that has the same immune response as tomatoes but grows at a faster rate, to study the immune responses of plants.

"Previously, researchers thought that a plant defended itself against bacteria by activating a specific, several-step process. However, Heese's team found that if the plant is exposed to bacteria, it actually activates its immune system using three separate mechanisms.Heese and her research team, including MU graduate student John M. Smith, confirmed that each mechanism responding to the infection is doing so independently of the other two mechanisms, and that each of these mechanisms must have the right amount of specific proteins, called immune receptors, in the right place to respond appropriately. Having the right combination provides the plant with an effective and efficient immune response. This discovery could allow future scientists to create new strategies to help plants fight disease and lead to better crops.
"Like any living organism, plants have limited resources and they have to use those resources effectively," Heese said. "If the plant makes too much of the proteins responsible for these mechanisms, they will suffer in other areas, such as creating quality fruit. This same discovery can be applied to many crops, including rice and soybeans, and ornamental plants, including roses, pear and apple trees. The information discovered in this study gives scientists something new to study in plants, with the eventual goal of better crops and ornamental plants."The study, "Loss of Arabidopsis thaliana Dynamin-Related Protein 2B Reveals Separation of Innate Immune Signaling Pathways," was published in PLOS Pathogens.

PH scientists, farmers chide Canada-based group over alleged refusal to debate on GMO rice safety

InterAksyon file
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino farmers and scientists based in Laguna province criticized a Canada-based lobby group over its alleged refusal to engage in a public debate on the safety of genetically engineered rice.
“The rabid Golden Rice lobby group, Allow Golden Rice Now! has left the Philippines with their tails behind their legs, and cowed by the intense resistance showed by the farmers opposing the unsafe and unwanted Golden Rice,” said Masipag, a nework of farmers’ groups, scientist and non-government organizations in the Philippines.

Masipag said the lobby group from Canada had toured the Philippines from March 3 to 10 to campaign “for the adoption of the genetically modified ‘Golden Rice’.”The visit was part of the group’s Asia campaign tour. They will also travel to Bangladesh and India to promote Golden Rice. Headed by Patrick Moore, the group “peddled the genetically modified rice while demonizing the farmers and other sectors who had expressed their opposition to the Golden Rice,” according to Masipag.“It appears (that) Patrick Moore and his cohorts chose not to face the farmers in a debate because they know that they will be exposed as frauds and agents of disinformation,” said Dr. Chito Medina, Masipag national coordinator.
“Instead they sneak around the country spewing misleading claims on the technology, and even on organizations that are critical to Golden Rice,” added Medina.According to Masipag, Golden Rice “has been modified to express beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A…which is being developed by the International Rice Research Institute” to supposedly address Vitamin A Deficiency in developing countries such as the Philippines.”But Filipino farmers allied with Masipag insisted that there were enough Vitamin A-rich foods in nature and in cultivated farms “making Golden Rice unnecessary and unwanted.”“We cultivate a number of vegetables and fruits that are safe sources not only of Vitamin A, but also other nutrients that our body needs to be healthy,” said Lolit Saberola, a farmer from Tayabas, Quezon. “As a mother, I would not want to expose my children and grandchildren to Golden Rice.
”More than 70 farmers from the provinces of Quezon, Nueva Ecija, and Pangasinan trooped to the Department of Agriculture last March 6 to urge the agency to stop the commercialization of  Golden Rice in the country.Masipag farmers, along with the Resist Agrochemical TNCs alliance displayed vegetables such as malunggay (moringga), sweet potato, water cabbage, lettuce, yellow potatoes as examples of local and natural foods that are rich in important nutrients. The group likewise called for a genuine agrarian reform, as most Filipino farmers do not even have their own land to till, as well as access to other basic agricultural services.
“The sneaky ways of Allow Golden Rice Now shows that their lobbying is based (neither) on principles nor science, but are underhanded and deceiving,” said Medina.“They would be better off to go back home and understand first the core issue of hunger and poverty in the developing countries rather than pontificate on technologies that are not appropriate, unnecessary and unwanted," he added.

Traces of Chinese Plastic Rice Found in India

Mar 12, 2015

Plastic rice made by mixing potatoes, sweet potatoes and Chinese polymer is similar to natural rice and can hardly be differentiated by mere look. However, when cooked, the rice remains hard and soup made by it forms a plastic sheath, which burns like plastics when burned.How is this rice made? The potatoes are first turned into the shape of rice grains and industrial synthetic resins are then added to the mix in order to get the texture of rice.This type of plastic rice is said to be causing gastritis and other stomach related diseases.Such type of rice packages have been found to be selling in some parts of India's southern state Kerala, according to local sources.
Consumers told local sources that such packages are undetectable as they are being mixed with normal rice packs. It is understood that this type of rice is being imported from China or is being bought online from Chinese and Singapore supermarkets.Experts noted that currently there's no system to check imports of such rice into the country. But going forward, the Indian government may have to put some procedures in place to avert the entry of such artificial and harmful products into the country. India basically does not need to import rice given its huge production potential.
Earlier, Chinese plastic rice as well as the locally produced Chinese rice have been criticized for one being poisonous and the other being toxic after being contaminated with metals such as cadmium.


Rice Bran Oil - The Healthy Oil for Healthy Living

Mar 12, 2015
Dieticians are of late recommending rice bran oil for maintaining a healthy heart and body. They say rice bran oil, which is made from bran that is rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants.An important feature of rice bran oil is that it has an ideal balance of polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) and monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and is free of trans-fats. An equal proportion of PUFA is MUFA is essential for oils to maintain nutritive quality even at high temperatures. It is for this reason that foods cooked with rice bran at high temperatures are seen to absorb less oil. It therefore does not stick to food and tends to feel less oily on tongue.
Rice bran oil is known as heart-friendly oil as it contains the right amount of the oryzanol, which is known to reduce cholesterol absorption and increase cholesterol elimination, says an India-based Nutritionist & Weight-Management Expert. The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization (WHO) are recommending rice bran oil as the best choice for improving serum cholesterol levels.
Antioxidants present in the rice bran oil are known to boost the metabolic rate and help in weight loss. Its antimutagenic properties are helpful in increasing immunity as well as preventing cancer.Rice bran oil also contains suqalene, which is helpful in retaining softness of the skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties are known to reduce the effects of menopause like hot flashes.

ORYZA Rice News


Perennial Rice: Revolution in Rice Cultivation Mar 11, 2015

Rice is a labor and water intensive crop, and of late the global warming and climate changes have been posing severe challenges for rice production thereby threatening the world food security. Rice cultivation is also said to harm the environment by eroding soil fertility as well as releasing harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Researchers are working towards developing a perennial rice variety, which need not be planted every year, and will yield good amount of rice for many years. Such a variety can be developed by crossing domesticated rice varieties with its wild predecessors, say researchers. Such a variety are deep-rooted and so they can hold soils in place for a long time , survive extremes of weather conditions and water supply.
Chinese scientists at the China-based Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences are on the verge of completing a decade long trials on a perennial rice variety PR23, which can provide yields similar to conventional rice varieties for over four years. China's National Science Foundation and Land Institute have started a series of field trials on PR23 and once the Yunnan government approves the variety, it may be grown commercially.
However, critics say perennial varieties are low yielding and would not be able to feed the world's growing population. They also noted that one potential difference between the traditional varieties and perennial rice varieties is that while traditional varieties divert 30-60% of their energy to producing seeds, perennial varieties divert the same energy to growing roots to help plants sustain for years.  



Hain Celestial : Celebrates Innovation at Natural Products Expo West 2015; Features Over 100 New and Exciting Food, Beverage, Snack And Personal Care Products


03/09/2015 | 05:34am US/Eastern
Release date- 06032015 - LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y - The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAIN), a leading organic and natural products company providing consumers with A Healthier Way of Life, today announced that over 100 new products will be featured at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California starting today.Expo West is the world's largest event devoted to natural and specialty food and beverages, organics, supplements, health and beauty, natural living and pet products. Hain Celestial's products will be rolling out now through the end of 2015 and sold in selected markets in the United States. In its last fiscal year, Hain Celestial's new products generated over $100 million in net sales on a worldwide basis.
The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
'This is a banner year for Hain Celestial's innovation pipeline. We are proud of our brands and our new product innovation that demonstrates our continued leadership in the organic and natural space,' said Irwin D. Simon, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hain Celestial. 'Our ability to globally source distinctive ingredients, coupled with our nimble, innovation-focused culture, has resulted in product uniqueness with quality and speed-to-market that rival the rest. Our exciting line-up features food, beverage, snack and personal care products for all age groups and lifestyles, with particular attention to millennial consumers, an important segment for Hain Celestial's growth.
'Natural Products Expo West 2015 is expected to feature over 2,600 exhibitors and more than 60,000 participants who will be able to preview the exciting Hain Celestial product line-up first-hand.'This year, our booth includes a digital experience in support of two programs. The first is our new partnership with CARE to support girls' education around the world, and the second is our on-going leadership to make mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food products a reality in the United States. Our new products along with these digital initiatives exemplify our high standards for quality, value, enjoyment and social responsibility,' concluded Irwin Simon.
In the year since the last Expo West Hain Celestial has acquired new brands that extend the Company's existing portfolio of innovative and high quality natural and certified organic products. The new brands include Rudi's Organic Bakery, a leading organic and gluten-free brand offering a diversified line of bread and baked goods products and fresh and frozen FreeBird chicken and Plainville Farms turkey that are never, ever given antibiotics. More recently, Hain Celestial purchased the Live Clean personal care brand and Empire Kosher.Some of the highlights of this year's lineup of new products includes:
Arrowhead Mills brand adds three new cereals including two new Organic Sprouted Granolas made with organic whole sprouted oats and buckwheat in Maple & Apple and Apple and Ginger varieties, and Organic Gluten Free Coconut Rice and Shine Hot Cereal made with Fair Trade Coconut.BluePrint introduces new nutrient-packed 100% juices-Arugula Kale and Chard Basil. Arugula, kale, apple, romaine, celery, cucumber, lemon and ginger provide a dose of essential daily vitamins and minerals and superfoods chard and collards, basil, apple, romaine, celery, cucumber and lemon combine for a flavorful and nutritious choice.

Celestial Seasonings announces completely re-imagined packaging and a variety of innovative new product lines that appeal to new and existing tea drinkers alike. The new products include Sleepytime Honey and Watermelon Lime Zinger Herbal Teas; Celestial Organics Herbal and Wellness Teas; Celestial Teahouse Chai Teas; Celestial Lattes in shelf-stable ready-to-drink and aseptic concentrate formats; Celestial Loose Leaf Tea Blending Kits; and two new flavors of Celestial Organics Kombucha.
The DREAM brand expands its plant based offerings with a new platform of coconut based yogurts and frozen dessert bites. Coconut Dream Yogurts have a creamy consistency with a tropical twist and come in five luscious flavors: Plain, Vanilla, Strawberry, Blueberry and Raspberry. Coconut Dream Frozen Dessert Bites, the first and only coconut based bite size frozen treats, are delicious frozen nuggets coated with rich thick chocolate.Earth's Best Organic introduces redesigned and value sized packaging and new snacks for toddlers. The Earth's Best Tendercare Diapers and Wipes have a fresh new look, giving babies pure, chlorine free protection. Value size options include Earth's Best Frozen Fish Nuggets, made fromMarine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified Sustainable Alaskan Pollock and Earth's Best Organic Infant formula the #1 Organic Formula brand*, is now offered in 50% larger value can. Earth's Best Organic Freeze Dried Snacks are tiny finger-sized freeze dried fruits and veggies with a soft texture for a nutritious first snack. Varieties include Corn & Edamame and Strawberry, Banana & Apple.
Ella's Kitchen has new, nutritious snack and beverage options for children. Ella's Kitchen Organic Cookies are lightly sweetened only with honey and contain 2 grams of sugar per serving. Organic Multigrain Snacks are made with gluten free grains including Quinoa & Brown Rice and are available in varieties including Lentil & Carrot Sticks. Kids beverage options from Ella's Kitchen include Organic Coconut Water to help rehydrate and replenish nutrients and Nutritional Shakes that are packed with vitamins and minerals essential for growing big and strong.Garden of Eatin' Cantina Style Corn Tortilla Chips are thin and crispy like you'd find in an authentic 'Mexican Cantina.' Available in White Corn with Lime and Blue Corn with Sea Salt.GG Unique Fiber Scandinavian Thins, baked wheat crispbread in Raisin & Honey, with 40 calories and 3 grams of fiber per serving.
Imagine has a strong soup season planned for Fall of 2015. New products include Imagine Seafood Stock which is MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified, Imagine Organic Unsalted Free Range Chicken and Vegetable Broths sold in a 4-pack of 8 fluid ounce cartons, and a new line of refrigerated Imagine Culinary Soup in 22 ounce tubs in 5 delicious varieties, including 3 vegetarian soups such as Potato & Kale, and 2 chicken soups including Lemon Chicken Quinoa.Plainville Farms debuts Organic Deli Breast products-Oven Roasted Turkey, Honey Turkey and Hickory Smoked Turkey and Organic Ground Turkey.Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery Garlic Toast and Cheese Toast are a gluten-free take on the popular Texas Toast category. These delicious 'heat and serve' items also contain 5 grams of fiber per slice.Sensible Portions Puffs made with Organic Corn are gluten-free and available in four delicious varieties: Cheddar, Sour Cream & Onion, Tomato Basil and Veggie.
TERRA Wasabi Chips, sharp and spicy wasabi flavor on a seasonal blend of potato chips.Tilda ready-to-heat rice is made with only the finest, authentic Basmati rice. Available in four delicious flavors: Pure Basmati, Brown Basmati, Brown Basmati and Quinoa and Mexican Style Chili Bean.Spectrum Whole Chia Seed is now available in a 22 ounce Value Size. Whole Chia Seed is rich in Omega-3 ALA fatty acids and a good source of fiber.Westbrae Natural condiments have the same great taste but are now USDA Organic. The full line of Organic condiments include: Stoneground Mustard, Stoneground Mustard-No Salt Added, Dijon Style Mustard, Yellow Mustard and Unsweetened Ketchup.
Yves Veggie Cuisine brand is introducing delicious new vegan burgers, patties and appetizers to its line-up which contain on-trend ingredients such as Kale & Quinoa. New Yves Veggie Cuisine Kale & Roots Vegetable Patties with brown rice and ancient grains and Yves Veggie Cuisine Kale & Quinoa Bites are non GMO, gluten free and packed with veggies.Hain Celestial's featured personal care products include:
Alba Botanica brand introduces Fast Fix, four botanically-powerful solutions to common beauty emergencies, and Clear Spray SPF 50 Broad Spectrum Sunscreens for single-touch continuous spray-on sun care convenience without chemical propellants.JASON brand introduces two Sheer Spray Lotions for feather-light moisture in a convenient, continuous spray and the Smoothing Coconut Body Care Collection to deliver intense moisture to extremely dry skin.
The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
The Hain Celestial Group (NASDAQ: HAIN), headquartered in Lake Success, NY, is a leading organic and natural products company with operations in North America, Europe and India. Hain Celestialparticipates in many natural categories with well-known brands that include Celestial Seasonings, Earth's Best, Ella's Kitchen, Terra, Garden of Eatin', Sensible Portions, Health Valley, Arrowhead Mills, MaraNatha, SunSpire, DeBoles, Casbah, Rudi's Organic Bakery, Gluten Free Cafe,Hain Pure Foods, Spectrum, Spectrum Essentials, Walnut Acres Organic, Imagine, Almond Dream, Rice Dream, Soy Dream, WestSoy, The Greek Gods, BluePrint, FreeBird, Plainville Farms,, Empire Kosher,Kosher Valley, Yves Veggie Cuisine, Europe's Best, Cully & Sully, New Covent Garden Soup Co. , Johnson's Juice Co. , Farmhouse Fare, Hartley's, Sun-Pat, Gale's, Robertson's, Frank Cooper's, Linda McCartney, Lima, Danival, Natumi, GG UniqueFiber, Tilda, JASON, Avalon Organics, Alba Botanica, Live Clean and Queen Helene. Hain Celestial has been providing A Healthier Way of Life since 1993. For more information, visit
SOURCE The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
Amanda Castelli, 516-587-5000
(c) 2015 Electronic News Publishing -, source ENP Newswire


Indonesia Plans Rice Planting and Harvesting Cycle to Ensure Continuous Stocks and Curb Imports

Mar 06, 2015

The government of Indonesia is planning to design a cycle of rice plant of harvesting covering the entire nation to maintain continuous stocks in the country, according to Reuters.The President was quoted as saying that simultaneous harvesting across the country has been leading to excessive stocks during the harvesting season leading to price falls. A cycle of rice planting and harvesting will help to increase farmers' yields, maintain continuous stocks throughout the year thus stabilize rice prices. Such as system will also help to curb rice imports, he said.He also urged the farmers to increase the paddy yields from the current 5 tons per hectare to 9-10 tons per hectare. He noted that the government would support the farmers by providing the adequate infrastructure, including irrigation systems, seeds and rice machinery.The President also noted that the government would announce the paddy price next week and it would be in line with market conditions and farmers' expectations.USDA estimates Indonesia to produce around 36.5 million tons of rice, basis milled (around 57.4 million tons, basis paddy), and import around 1.3 million tons of rice in MY 2014-15 (October - September).

Talks On Agri And Rice Farming Institute Positive

March 07,2015
 by Ranoba Baoa, SUVA
Talks on establishing Grace Road Food Company Limited’s first training institute ended on a positive note in Navua this week.Minister of Agriculture Inia Seruiratu, and Grace Road Food managing director Daniel Kim, established focused on Agriculture Training Institute and the Rice Research Institute took place.Grace Road plans to open the institute come October.The purpose of constructing the educational institutions, according to Grace Road, is understood to not be limited to transferring the farming techniques with the basis of hands-on field experience.

However the company’s vision is to have these institutions grow to be a place of intellectual convention to anyone who want to understand and on-site practices for farming.Mr Kim said: “We sincerely appreciate Mr Inia Seruiratu’s supporting our project from the beginning.“We want to rebuild the Rice Industrial Area in Navua, Nausori, and Tailevu.“With this intimate cooperation with the Government and the generation of talentthrough the Agricultural Institution and the establishment of Rice Research Center, we will invigorate the Rice Industry.”Through this revitalisation, Mr Kim said, Grace Road will achieve its 2020 Fiji Rice Self-Sufficiency Scheme.”

Mr Seruiratu responded with great optimism to the company’s vision, and promised full support for the rapid actualisation of the plan.“The education of the agriculture institute should not be limited to the technical aspects of farming, but create entrepreneurship simultaneously.”
Bioethanol from nipa sap to aid farm mechanization

Distillation plant set up in Quezon to convert sap from nipa palm into fuel farm hand tractors, pump boats and generators

By Gilbert P. Felongco, CorrespondentPublished: 14:52 March 8, 2015Gulf News

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Manila: The Philippine government is banking on biofuel from nipa sap to power its drive towards farm mechanisation in far-flung coastal areas of the country.According to the Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the government has established a distillation facility in the village of Binonoan in Infanta, Quezon that could convert sap taken from the nipa palm into fuel that runs piston engines such as those used by agricultural hand tractors, pump boats and electricity generators.Nipa (scientific name: Nypa Fruiticans), grows abundantly in the costal areas of the Philippines where its dried fronds are used as roofing materials for huts.

The water palm can also be found in other countries located in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.The sap from the nipa can also be fermented into vinegar.According to Engr. Alexis T. Belonio, the government intends to put up more distillation plants to process nipa into biofuel.The distillation facility in Infanta was among three the government planned to put up in three years.“This facility built basically produces hydrous bioethanol (95 per cent alcohol) fuel to be used for small farm machines,” Belonio, lead inventor of the technology, said.Hydrous bioethanol, he said which can be produced from the farm like nipa sap, sugar molasses, and sweet sorghum, is a good alternative for fuelling pumps, threshes, dryers and small rice mills.

The biofuel project dovetails with government plans to increase farm mechanisation in the country. “We need to increase rice production. One way to do this is to improve [farm practices from land preparation to post-harvest], and by [doing this], we need mechanisation. In mechanisation, we need fuel, so what is mechanisation without the gasoline? [With this facility], we have an option [on what energy type to use],” said Belonio, the first Filipino to win the Rolex Award for Enterprise in 2008 for his breakthrough creation of a simple rice hull-powered stove.Former PhilRice Executive Director Eufemio Rasco junior for his part, said the government is aware of the pressing need for alternative fuel to run farm engines.

“We want to manufacture machines for farming that do not depend on fossil fuel,” said. “With our depleting fossil fuel supply, the bioethanol technology is a cost-efficient system because we can now produce and use clean energy at the least cost,” Belonio said.Aside from biofuel derived from nipa sap, the government is also looking at other possible sources of feedstock, such as coconuts and water lilies, the latter which is highly abundant in the country and is often regarded as a nuisance to river systems as they clog the waterways and often cause flooding.The project is jointly implemented by the Mariano Marcos State University, PhilRice, the University of the Philippines Los Baños, and the local government unit of Infanta.

Rare 'green' power plant opens

SAN JOSE CITY–The country’s first power plant that runs on commercial rice hulls or rice husks (“ipa”) was activated here on Friday.The facility was put up by 21 rice millers here in a joint venture with the Union Energy Corp. owned by businessmen Lucio Co, and called the San Jose City ìiî Power Corp. (SJC iPower).“Our plant is 100 percent [fueled] by rice husks,” said Edgardo Alfonso, chief executive officer of the SJC iPower.“It is generating a gross capacity of 12 megawatts and is feeding 10.8 MW to the Luzon grid (of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines).”The remaining 1.2 MW are kept in reserve.The generating plant operates on a 7-hectare lot in Barangay Tulat here.
It employs 100 personnel.“We use 330 metric tons of rice husks every day to power the plant,” Alfonso said.“The plant is clean as it is equipped with a facility that limits harmful emissions way below the limit set by the government,” he said.He said rice millers buy and mill palay not only from parts of Nueva Ecija but also from Isabela, Pangasinan and the Ilocos provinces. This leaves enough supply of husks for the plant.
“That’s why we are putting up another plant with the same output of 12-MW electric power,” Alfonso said.Husks are agricultural wastes, which the corporation now buys from member-rice millers at P1 a kilogram.In a project brief, SJC iPower said the power project was inspired by the study, “Enhancing the Energy Self Sufficiency of Rice Mills in the Philippines,” commissioned by the European Community-Association of Southeast Asian Nations Energy Facility and undertaken by the Philippine Rice Research Institute and Full Advantage Phils. International Inc.Co contributed P1 billion for the project. He was elected chair of the board while Leonardo Dayao serves as president.The plant was completed in October 2014. It underwent four months of testing and fine-tuning.Energy officials said the rice hull-powered plant here is the first biomass power project in the country to be launched after the feed in-tariff rates were approved on July 27, 2012. Anselmo Roque, Inquirer Central Luzon

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Arsenic in rice is a big risk

Consumer Reports” Food Safety and Sustainability Center tested 128 samples of basmati, jasmine and sushi rice. The data was analyzed with the 2012 Consumer Reports’ tests and FDA data; this provided 697 samples of rice. Results indicated that different levels of arsenic were found depending on where the rice was grown.
White basmati rice from California, India and Pakistan as well as sushi rice from the United states had approximately half of the inorganic arsenic found in other types of rice, while all types of rice from Arkansas, Louisiana,Texas, as well as rice labelled simply as “grown in the U.S.” had the highest levels.Brown rice, while more nutritious, has 80 percent more arsenic on average than white rice of the same type from the same location. This is because arsenic tends to accumulate in the outer layer of bran, which is removed in the manufacture of white rice.Based on these findings, if an individual is consuming rice with the lowest amount of arsenic and this is the only rice product one consumes, Consumer Reports recommended weekly maximum consumption are 4 1/2 servings (approximately 1 1/8 cup uncooked rice) for adults and 2 3/4 servings (approximately 2/3 cup uncooked rice) for children.

Other types of grains also can contain arsenic but in lower levels than rice. Consumer Reports studied 114 other types of grains and found that bulgur, barley and faro have very little arsenic. Gluten-free grains like buckwheat, millet and amaranth, as well as corn-based grains such as polenta and grits, had negligible amounts of arsenic, which makes them better alternatives than rice-based products for the gluten-sensitive population. Quinoa, had varying levels of arsenic, on average comparable to the other grains; however some samples showed quite a bit more arsenic, although the higher samples were still lower than rice.Preparation and cooking of rice also can help minimize the arsenic content.
 Research shows that it can remove approximately 30 percent of rice’s inorganic arsenic content. Make sure to wash rice before cooking, filling a bowl with water and rice or scrubbing the rice in a colander while running water through the rice. Cook rice in plenty of water — 1 cup of rice to 6 cups of water — and strain the rice like you would pasta, when the rice is cooked.Rice is a perfect example of how the world of food has changed. Not only have we contaminated the Earth but we also rely on far too many processed foods that seem to be healthy. However, when we change a whole food by processing it, there can be unintended consequences. Then we allow big food companies that manufacture these products to educate us about nutrition through their marketing schemes.
As consumers we must be aware of all processed foods and minimize their use. We must also educate ourselves and understand that we cannot rely on the government or the media to protect our best interests. As the consumers, we have to use the power of our spending dollars to affect change. Whether it be purchasing specific types rice, buying whole foods for your family, choosing organics or supporting companies opposed to GMOs, this is how we are going to change the face of food in America.Grosse Ile resident Theresa Edmunds is a certified health counselor who works with individuals to create health through natural living principles. Contact her at Information in this column should not be considered medical advice.



Hain Celestial Celebrates Innovation At Natural Products Expo West 2015

Features Over 100 New And Exciting Food, Beverage, Snack And Personal Care Products

PR Newswire,LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., March 6, 2015
LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., March 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAIN), a leading organic and natural products company providing consumers with A Healthier Way of Life™, today announced that over 100 new products will be featured at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California starting today.  Expo West is the world's largest event devoted to natural and specialty food and beverages, organics, supplements, health and beauty, natural living and pet products.  Hain Celestial's products will be rolling out now through the end of 2015 and sold in selected markets in the United States. In its last fiscal year, Hain Celestial's new products generated over $100 million in net sales on a worldwide basis.

"This is a banner year for Hain Celestial's innovation pipeline.  We are proud of our brands and our new product innovation that demonstrates our continued leadership in the organic and natural space," said Irwin D. Simon, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hain Celestial.  "Our ability to globally source distinctive ingredients, coupled with our nimble, innovation-focused culture, has resulted in product uniqueness with quality and speed-to-market that rival the rest.
Our exciting line-up features food, beverage, snack and personal care products for all age groups and lifestyles, with particular attention to millennial consumers, an important segment for Hain Celestial's growth."Natural Products Expo West 2015 is expected to feature over 2,600 exhibitors and more than 60,000 participants who will be able to preview the exciting Hain Celestial product line-up first-hand.
"This year, our booth includes a digital experience in support of two programs. The first is our new partnership with CARE to support girls' education around the world, and the second is our on-going leadership to make mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food products a reality in the United States. 
Our new products along with these digital initiatives exemplify our high standards for quality, value, enjoyment and social responsibility," concluded Irwin Simon.In the year since the last Expo West Hain Celestial has acquired new brands that extend the Company's existing portfolio of innovative and high quality natural and certified organic products.
 The new brands include Rudi's Organic Bakery®, a leading organic and gluten-free brand offering a diversified line of bread and baked goods products and fresh and frozen FreeBird® chicken and Plainville Farms® turkey that are  never, ever given antibiotics.  More recently, Hain Celestial purchased the Live Clean® personal care brand and Empire Kosher.
Hain Celestial's featured personal care products include:
o    Alba Botanica® brand introduces Fast Fix, four botanically-powerful solutions to common beauty emergencies, and Clear Spray SPF 50 Broad Spectrum Sunscreens for single-touch continuous spray-on sun care convenience without chemical propellants.
o    JASON® brand introduces two Sheer Spray Lotions for feather-light moisture in a convenient, continuous spray and the Smoothing Coconut Body Care Collection to deliver intense moisture to extremely dry skin.
SOURCE The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.

Bühler Group and TPS Group sign rice reprocessing lines in Indonesia


Thursday, 05 March 2015 06:16

The Bühler Group has signed an agreement to supply the TPS Group, Indonesian rice and noodle producer, with two 17 tonnes per hour rice reprocessing lines worth US$7mn

(From left) Harsinto Huang, CFO of TPS Group Syambiri Lioe, CEO of TPS Group Joko Mogoginta, president of the Bühler Group for Asia Dieter Voegtli and Tomas Soleman. (Image source: Bühler Group)
According to the group, the contract, signed in Jakarta, marks a further milestone in Bühler’s continuing expansion in rice processing across Asia and is a significant step forward for the TPS Group, following its entry into the rice business in 2010.The installation of the rice reprocessing plants at Sidrap, South Sulawesi, is expected to increase the TPS Group’s total production capacity by 240,000 tonnes per year, with warehouse capacity increasing to 30,000 tonnes. The project by Bühler will be commissioned by mid-year 2016.TPS Group currently has three rice processing plants across Indonesia including PT. Jatisari Rejeki at Cikampek in West Java), PT. Indo Bears Unggul at Cikarang in West Java and PT. Sukses Abadi Karya Inti at Sragen in Central Java with a total capacity of 480,000 tonnes.

Investment for the TPS Group’s South Sulawesi sites will increase the manufacturer’s total production capacity to 810,000 tonnes per year while underlining its commitment to achieve a five per cent share of milled rice production volume in Indonesia by 2020, according to the Indonesian firm.Rustom Mistry, director, head of rice processing, Asia for Bühler, said, “The agreement with the TPS Group demonstrates Bühler’s commitment to develop state of the art processing solutions and an acknowledgement of our global capability to supply complete process engineering solutions, driven by our leadership in rice research and technical excellence.
By choosing Bühler to support its rice processing lines, the TPS Group is well positioned to meet its plan of achieving a significant share of the milled rice production in Indonesia. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the TPS Group.The deal demonstrates Bühler’s significant investment in its customer partnerships, technical innovations and localised service and support, which is serving the demands for processing and optical sorting solutions from rice processors around the world. This significant agreement is further evidence of Buhler’s reputation as the number one technology partner of choice in rice processing.”

The Man Who Discovered Thiamin

Today, we take vitamin B1 for granted. But it took a horrible, wasting disease—and lots and lots of chickens—for scientists to discover it.

A chicken who presumably consumes plenty of thiamin.
Photo courtesy feryswheel/Flickr
This essay is adapted from Vitamania: From Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection by Catherine Price, published by Penguin Press.
In the mid-1800s, a strange sickness was devastating parts of Southeast Asia. Known as beriberi, it began with intense swelling of the legs and feet and a general sense of numbness, especially in the extremities. Victims developed a distinctive gait, lifting their knees high in the air and swinging their legs forward so that their drooping toes wouldn’t catch on the ground. Their urine became concentrated and their appetites waned, even as their bodies wasted away. Eventually, they lost their voices and died in suffocating convulsions. Its cause was a mystery; no one knew a prevention, let alone a cure.
Today, we know that beriberi is caused by a deficiency in a vitamin called thiamin, also known as B1, that’s found in foods including yeast, grains, nuts, and meat. Thanks to our awareness of vitamins and to thiamin’s abundance in our diets, beriberi is no longer a threat. But while few people suffer from beriberi today, there’s no denying its historical significance. By establishing one of the first links between a dietary deficit and a specific disease, beriberi played a crucial role in kick​starting the process of scientific inquiry that led to the discovery of vitamins—which in turn opened the door to a broader understanding of both deficiency diseases and human nutrition as a whole.
This path was not straight, however, and the existence of vitamins wasn’t easy to figure out. In fact, when the Dutch physician Christiaan Eijkman arrived on the Indonesian island of Java in 1886 to investigate the causes of beriberi, he wasn’t searching for a nutritional cause at all. Instead, inspired by the most exciting medical event of the century—the discovery that diseases like malaria and cholera were caused by germs—he was on the hunt for a beriberi-​causing bug.
The emergence of this “germ theory” of disease in the late 1800s was inarguably one of the greatest medical advances in history. But for nutritional science its impact was more complicated. Germ theory’s central tenet—that disease is caused by thepresence of something—hid the idea that disease could also be caused by something that is lacking. Germ theory’s light was so bright, so illuminating, that it blinded scientists to the idea that disease could be caused by something that wasn’t there.
Working in a hospital in what’s now Jakarta, Eijkman procured a flock of chickens—a lucky choice, since chickens and pigeons are two of the only animals other than humans that frequently develop the disease—and began injecting them with blood samples from human beriberi patients to see if he could infect the birds.After a couple of months, he saw symptoms in some of his injected chickens that looked like the nerve damage that occurred in people with beriberi. Then again, he saw the same symptoms in his control group.
But Eijkman was not deterred—many pathogen-borne diseases are transmitted by air, and the two groups of chickens had shared cages. He got some new chickens and put them into private cages. The controls still developed nerve damage. Concluding that perhaps his whole laboratory had become infected, Eijkman procured yet another group of chickens and kept them in a totally separate location. Then things got really strange: Not only did none of the new chickens get sick, but the sick birds began to recover. By November 1889, all signs of the disease had disappeared.
This bizarre mass recovery was good for the chickens, but it was bad for Eijkman, who appeared to have lost his animal model. However, Eijkman did not give up. Instead, he tried to find a variable that could have accounted for the sudden change. One day, the laboratory keeper told him something intriguing: In the month before the birds developed nerve damage, the cook had been providing leftover white rice from the hospital’s kitchen as their feed.
At the time, white rice, otherwise known as polished rice, was something of a luxury—or at least not something you’d give to laboratory chickens that you wanted to infect with a deadly disease. That cook had been replaced, and his successor, Eijkman later related, “refused to allow military rice to be taken for civilian chickens.” So the birds had been switched back to their usual rations of brown, unpolished rice. Soon thereafter, the nerve damage disappeared.Today, we know why the polished rice caused problems. Rice polishings—like the outer coatings of many whole grains—contain thiamin, among other vitamins and nutrients. The more thorough the milling process, the less thiamin that remains.
Unaware of this—and still grasping for a bacterial explanation—Eijkman happened to strike up a conversation about his beriberi investigations with a friend who was the medical director of all the prisons in Java. The friend realized that different prisons on the island fed inmates different types of rice, and that prisons varied in how many cases of beriberi they reported. He offered to gather this data to determine whether rice had anything to do with human beriberi—and, therefore, whether Eijkman’s chicken work was relevant to the human disease. Sure enough, when the final numbers were tallied, it turned out that while only 1 out of 10,000 prisoners developed beriberi in the prisons that served mostly brown rice, 1 out of 39 developed it in those that served white. Among long-​term white-​rice–​eating prisoners, the rate went up to 1 out of 4.
The story around Niacin (B3) is similar, but with an interesting twist.  In meso-american cultures, corn was generally consumed after it had gone through the process of "nixtalmization"; this involved soaking it in an alkali solution.  More...
While it took years and many more experiments for scientists to accept beriberi as a deficiency disease, Eijkman received the 1929 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his recognition of this “anti-​beriberi factor,” which by then was known as thiamin, and for developing research methods that influenced later nutritional scientists and advanced vitamins’ discovery. Today, beriberi has become so uncommon that most of us don’t even know its name.
From our vantage point, it’s tempting to scoff at how long it took for the idea of vitamins and nutritional deficiency diseases to be accepted. But like all scientists, these researchers were working with incomplete information, interpreting their results in the context of their time. The fact that they didn’t figure everything out immediately does not reflect a failing on their parts. That’s just how the scientific process works.
From Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection by Catherine Price. Reprinted by arrangement with Penguin Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright Catherine Price, 2015.

Debate Over Genetically Engineered ‘Golden Rice’ Heats Up

FILE - International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) bioplant scientist Sophan Datta shows during a press tour a variety of experimental "golden rice" being tested inside sealed IRRI greenhouse in Laguna, Nov. 27, 2003.
Simone Orendain
Scientists in the Philippines are at work on a strain of rice that could solve one of the world’s major health challenges: a vitamin A deficiency.  The so-called, “golden rice”, which has been genetically engineered to produce beta carotene, has led to opposition from GMO opponents, including Greenpeace. To supporters of golden rice, the crop offers enormous potential for eliminating as many as two million deaths each year from vitamin A deficiency, which mainly impacts young children and pregnant women. The beta carotene in the new rice is a precursor for Vitamin A, which is missing in the diets of millions of people in the developing world. The deficiency is a leading cause of childhood blindness, and is a public health problem in many countries.

Pros vs cons
Canadian ecologist Patrick Moore says there should be no debate over whether farmers should grow golden rice. “Why is there not the same revulsion at two million children dying," Moore asked. "To let golden rice out so at least some people can get it and maybe more and more and more?”

But critics, including the Greenpeace environmental group, have long opposed the crop because of the genetic engineering involved in its creation. Moore was an early member of Greenpeace in the 1970s and early 80s, but has since become a critic of the group’s stance on a range of issues, including golden rice.
“Genetically engineered crops consist almost entirely of herbicide tolerant and insect resistant crops marketed to developing countries” Greenpeace said in an emailed statement in response to queries about Moore’s criticism. The statement also said the group finds this model detrimental to people’s health, farmers’ livelihoods and the environment.

Public financing 

Unlike some genetically modified crops designed by corporations that patent the plants, the golden rice being developed in the Philippines is financed by public funds. A range of philanthropic and public sector groups have worked to engineer the crop and improve its production.
They hope that farmers in the developing world will eventually grow it, addressing a major public health issue that many scientists say is on the scale of malaria or tuberculosis.
But Manila-based Greenpeace Southeast Asia Agriculture Campaigner Daniel Ocampo said after 20 years of research golden rice is not ready for consumption, and could be more dangerous than its supporters will admit.
“It’s still in the laboratory. It’s not available commercially," Ocampo said. "So it’s really misleading the public when they say that it’s going to be one of the solutions to Vitamin A deficiency.”Greenpeace is instead pushing what it calls “ecological agriculture” which it said is climate resilient and will let people access food that meets their nutritional needs.
A year and a half ago, a group of anti-GMO activists overran one of the golden rice test plots in the Philippines' Bicol region and destroyed it in a protest against the project. The incident raised the profile of the conflict over golden rice, and led some to accuse Greenpeace of being behind the protest and the destruction. But the organization says it had nothing to do with it.The International Rice Research Institute just south of Manila has been doing breeding experiments with golden rice for nine years, but said they must still conduct more research before it is ready for human consumption.