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Science: Prof. Herry Utomo evaluates the growth of new generations of high-protein rice lines.

According to the American Society of Agronomy, it's an unfortunate fact that many people in developing nations don't get enough protein in their diets. What they often do get a lot of, however, is rice. With that in mind, scientists have improved upon a type of rice that has over 50 percent more protein than regular varieties.

Two years ago, a Louisiana State University team led by Prof. Herry Utomo released a high-protein long-grain rice cultivar known as Frontière. It was developed via a traditional breeding process, and it has an average protein content of 10.6 percent – that's a 53-percent increase over the protein content of the conventional Cypress rice with which the team started.

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Additionally, it requires less heat, time and water to cook.

In order to address that shortcoming, Utomo and colleagues recently tested 20 newly-developed lines of high-protein rice

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This new line is now ready for final field testing. It is hoped that the harvested rice could serve not only as a basic food, but also as a source of protein-rich rice flour, rice milk, or other food ingredients.

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Scientists have also recently introduced new high-protein varieties of bananas and potatoes.

the original Frontière line is now being grown commercially in Illinois. Farmers reportedly don't incur any extra costs, or need to change their current rice-growing practices in any way.

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"There are hundreds of millions of people around the world who depend on rice and eat it three times a day, but their access to protein is very limited by availability and cost," explains Herry Utomo, a professor at Louisiana State University. "High-protein rice can be used to help solve the worldwide problem across social, cultural, and economic issues."

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