PUSA1885: New Variety of Basmati

Context: PUSA1121, a popular variety of basmati rice known for its aroma and long grains, and favoured by exporters, will no longer be recommended by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, a top official said. The unit of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) would instead promote a new and improved variety of aromatic rice labelled PUSA1885.

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About PUSA1885

  • It is the new alternative to PUSA1121 as all its characteristics such as aroma, grain length, off-white colour and best cooking results have been retained while adding resistance to pest attacks.
  • This variety has been developed through molecular marker-assisted breeding incorporation of two genes each for bacterial blight resistance namely, xa13 and Xa21; and blast resistance genes Pi2 and Pi54.
  • It has semi-tall plant stature with extra-long slender grains.
  • It will require much fewer agrochemicals and will save farmers as much as ₹3,000 per acre on pesticides, while the yield will be four to seven quintals more.
  • India exports some ₹40,000 crore worth of basmati every year to North America, Europe and the Middle East. 
  • Two other basmati varieties, PUSA1509 and PUSA1401, have also been replaced by PUSA1847 and PUSA1886.
  • All three new varieties are resistant to pests and give 20% more yield than their older versions.

About PUSA1847

  • It is an improvement of the popular Basmati rice variety, Pusa Basmati 1509 with inbuilt resistance to bacterial blight and blast disease developed through molecular marker-assisted breeding.
  • This variety possesses two genes each for bacterial blight resistance namely, xa13 and Xa21; and blast resistance namely, Pi54 and Pi2.
  • It is an early maturing and semi-dwarf Basmati rice variety with an average yield.
  • This variety was released for commercial cultivation in 2021.

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