Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Fragrance in Jasmine Rice

Tale of Towering Thais!

I have always love fragrant Thai jasmine rice or grainy Basmati, but I love the former better. Goes damn well with a jolly hot curry, maybe a scorching beef Vindaloo, with deep fried tumeric-marinated chicken, papadum, mint cucumber and pineapple, and chutney, and wash all down with long cold beer, or several (beers, that is)!

Well, Thai scientists have discovered the gene responsible for making the jasmine rice aromatic. But before we can say, “please, can have a look-see lah” , those Thais have wisely taken out a patent to protect the know-how from rival rice producing nations, including Australia.

Dr Apichart Wannavijitr, the leader of Thailand's rice genome project, says that there is a genetic mutation responsible for the fragrant aroma of jasmine rice. And to prove that point, they have ‘converted’ non-fragrant Japanese rice into fragrant rice. The technique may also be applied to improve other crops including wheat, corn and soybeans.

Australian researchers have since repeated the feat but tough luck, it’s patented. But the Thais are happy to license other producers.

Truly Towering Thais. Incidentally I have a hopeless mango tree that fruits hugh but tasteless and odorless mango - I think it's called apple mango. Hmm, maybe if ........

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