ITI develops rice varieties to address health problems
The Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) together with the Regional
Rice Research Development Centre, Bombuwala are developing nutritional
and functional properties of traditional and improved rice varieties to
address the national health problems under a treasury funded project.
An ITI official said that the research has already started and the
objectives of this project are selecting rice varieties with high iron
and low phytate content to develop rice varieties with high iron and low
phytate content, develop rice varieties having a low Glycemic Index (GI)
to prevent diabetes, improve the antioxidant value of rice and
identifying the most suitable rice varieties in Sri Lanka.
A data base will be available soon under the first phase of the study
which includes data on physico chemical, functional and sensory
properties,as well as soil and plant data of all rice varieties -
traditional and developed in Sri Lanka.
Pic by Amila Chandrasiri
This will be useful for scientists, breeders and agriculturists and
the public, said the official. The study identifies varieties having the
best nutritional and functional properties and those varieties will be
used for the enhancement of the functional characteristics of rice
through bio fortification or breeding.
The rice varieties developed under the project will be released to
the farmers by the Regional Rice Research Development Centre, Bombuwala
as practised now after following the standard procedures. The official
said that the aim of the project is to make the rice varieties with
developed functional properties to reach consumers at normal prices
prevailing in the market.
Rice is the staple food of Sri Lanka and it is grown in about 900,000
hectares producing three million mts. It is the staple food of Sri
Lankan households. Therefore, attempts to improve its nutritional and
functional properties will directly benefit the people.
So far no organised research has been carried out in Sri Lanka to
enhance the properties of rice varieties in Sri Lanka. She said that
Iron deficiency has been identified as a major health problem in Sri
Lanka and is the main cause of anemia. Anemia is a national problem in
It is defined as a condition with lowered oxygen carrying capacity of
blood where the haemoglobin content of the blood is below the
established cut off levels.
This condition results in low working capacity, low birth weights,
and reduced immunity to infections. As rice is the staple food of Sri
Lankans rice will be used as an effective vehicle to enhance the iron
consumption of people under this project. The average iron content of
Sri Lanka's rice varieties is about 2(c)3 mg/100g.
Studies have shown that traditional rice varieties have a higher iron
content than improved rice varieties. Rathal, Rathu Heenati and Sudu
Heenati contain a comparatively higher iron content. The bio
availability of iron to the human body is reduced by the presence of a
constituent called Phytate which binds iron.
One of the major objectives of this program is to select rice
varieties with high iron and low phytate content having satisfactory
sensory properties and nutritional value for breeding to develop rice
varieties with high iron and low phytate content.
Rice protein is an important source of nutrition providing about
sixty per cent of our daily protein requirement. The protein content of
rice is relatively low. However, due to the high quantity consumed by
people; the amount of rice protein potentially available to people is
high. The rice protein is recognised to be uniquely nutritious with a
good component of sulphur containing amino acids and its hypo allergenic
There is a variation in rice protein content in various locations due
to soil and climatic conditions. Traditional rice varieties contain a
higher amount of protein compared to the improved varieties.
The protein content of traditional rice varieties vary from 8% to 13%
while it is 6% to 11% in improved varieties. Traditional varieties such
as Pachchaperumal, Rathal, Dahanala, Katamanjal and improved varieties
such as Bw 272(c) 6b, at 307, at 306 show higher protein contents.
The second objective of the ongoing research study is to develop rice
varieties having a low Glycemic Index (GI) targeting the diabetic or the
diabetic prone population. Starch is the main component of rice. It
mainly constitutes amylose and amylopectin. The Amylose content in Sri
Lanka's rice varieties vary from 25(c)30% except for a few low amylose
varieties. Rice varieties containing more than 25% amylose is referred
to as high amylose varieties which shows a low glycemic index.
GI is the amount of glucose released to the blood within a specified
time period after consuming a particular food. When low GI food is
consumed, it slowly releases glucose to the blood. High amylose rice is
beneficial to diabetic people. This program intends to select rice
varieties with low GI and further develop incorporating other sensory
and nutritional characteristics.
The dietary fiber in rice has an influence on GI. When the amount of
dietary fiber is high, the food is a low GI food. Unpolished rice
contains 4(c)6% dietary fiber and polished rice has one-third of it.
Therefore, it is more beneficial to consume rice with bran. When we take
a high dietary fiber diet, it digests slowly. Therefore, it also reduces
the food intake.
The third objective of the study is to improve the antioxidant value
of rice. Antioxidants such as Vitamin E and Anthocayanin pigments are
found in the rice bran. Reactions of free radicals that are formed in
the body are known to contribute to many health problems such as
cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.
Antioxidants present in certain food if taken appropriately reduce bad
effects of free radical reactions and related diseases.
The ongoing study has identified rice varieties containing such
antioxidants and it is aimed at developing such varieties with
acceptable sensory and nutritional properties.Rice is mainly consumed as
whole grain and processed rice products are derived from brown rice,
milled rice, brokens, dry milled flour, wet milled flour and rice
Rice is used to produce gluten free rice bread, noodles, baby foods,
crackers, breakfast cereals, rice milk and beverages. Such processed
rice products are very popular in South East Asian countries such as
Thailand and China where rice is grown in large quantities.
The official said that physicochemical properties of rice such as
amylose content, pasting behaviour and gelatinisation temperature are
important in determining the quality of processed rice products. These
physicochemical characters are inherent to rice varieties.
The fourth objective of this study is to identify the most suitable
rice varieties in Sri Lanka for processed rice products. The ITI has
identified that high amylose rice varieties are suitable for rice
noodles. ITI has also conducted research to find out the suitable
varieties for rice bread and breakfast cereals, said the official. SG
ESG for textile and apparel industry launched
Infinite Computer Solutions, a global service provider of
infrastructure management, intellectual property leveraged solutions and
IT services launched the Enterprise Solutions Group (ESG) for the
textile and apparel industry in Sri Lanka.
Infinite is the business and implementation partner for Datatex
Textile ERP in India, South Asia and Australia.
Head ESG, Guruprasad S. Rao said with the launch of the services
Infinite envisages that its IT and Business Consulting initiative will
add value to the apparel industry in Sri Lanka.
"Since the apparel industry involves a large manpower Infinite's
initiative will have a major socio-economic impact in the country", Rao
The company also launched the Safe Passage Program to help apparel
and textile companies to shift to Datatex from generic solution with a
Infinite has developed expertise in the apparel and textile sector
during the past four years with 14 implementations in India, China,
Bangladesh and Italy.
Datatex Textile ERP solution enables apparel and textile
manufacturers to increase productivity by addressing issues pertaining
to planning, merchandising, sales, materials, manufacturing, costing and
Infinite which was set up seven years ago has a turnover of over US$
The company has offices in the United States, Europe, Singapore and
Toshiba's e-Studio Solutions, the pulse setter
A new breed that pushes the technological advantage and functional
ease way beyond has just hit the market. Characteristically, Toshiba, is
the pulse setter.
The e-Studio Solutions suite, is a multitude of easy to use cost
saving software tools that enhance the functionality of the studio
hardware to the highest levels of performance.
John Keells office Automation (Pvt) Ltd., expects these to create the
next wave of high performance office applications which will
revolutionise the way we work, said Vice President/CEO, Chandima Perera.
The Toshiba solutions suite includes the following:
Toshiba e-BRIDGE Re-Rite is a unique OCR solution that integrates
with Toshiba MFPs to enable a one-touch automatic OCR and conversion of
paper documents into editable digital documents that can be sent to
shared network folders, email addresses or FTP sites.
SLTnet goes 3G
Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) upgraded its international internet backbone.
SLTnet, the internet arm of SLT, the largest internet service provider
(ISP) in Sri Lanka today offers up to 3 Giga bits per second (Gbps)
international internet bandwidth, adding even more capacity to be of
better serve to the nation.
SLT has direct connectivity to Global ISPs in Asia, Europe and USA
and the highest rated social networking, web application and video
service providers in the world. This is part of the company's drive to
cater to the internet users' needs by providing faster access to
information at any time, any where and on any device via its Next
Generation Network (NGN) architecture.
With this initiative, SLT provides internet users in Sri Lanka super
fast access to online web applications such as web search, web mail,
calendar, images, VoIP calling applications, audio, video and maps among
a host of other most popular features on the internet. SLT is also in
the process of further upgrading and improving the direct connectivity
with social networking, web application and video service providers as
and when the need for broader bandwidth arises.
SLT Chairperson, Leisha De Silva Chandrasena said, "Today the
internet market is rapidly developing. There has been an increase of
internet traffic in Sri Lanka, which has been a considerable investment
for SLT over a period of time.
Also we see that the demand for Broadband in Sri Lanka is on par with
global trends. Taking this into account, we want to provide a quality
internet experience to Sri Lankan internet users.
hSenid launches Total HR Outsourcing Services
hSenid with over a decade of solid experience stands out from the
rest as the most promising name for total HR solutions in Sri Lanka.
As a company which goes for innovation and change, hSenid launched
its latest offering - Total HR Outsourcing Services.
The services cover many areas such as a web based enterprise-class
human resource solution specifically catered to small and mid-sized
businesses (SMBs) at an affordable monthly rental, total HR department
outsourcing where all HR activities will be taken care of by hSenid and
also Payroll outsourcing where companies can hand overall payroll
processing tasks to hSenid.
"You don't face the capital expenditure involved in buying hardware
and software and upgrading it every few years or issues connected with
operational activities of an HR or payroll department.
We will take care of those worries for you," said founder and CEO
Dinesh Saparamadu. hSenid's latest offering "Total HR Outsourcing
Services" was launched in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia and Chennai, India.
The initiative by hSenid incorporates, the latest global trend which
is popularly known as SaaS (Software as a Service) and also the facility
of outsourcing your total HR department activities. SaaS is a model that
enables the software deployment in which applications are hosted by a
service provider to customers via the internet for a monthly
The services provided by hSenid will be available in India, Malaysia,
Singapore, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. hSenid being the leader in HRIS
solutions in Sri Lanka with over 70% corporate market share is the only
solution provider in Sri Lanka which covers over 18 industry sectors in
HR, Payroll and Attendance solutions with a customer base of over 550