Academic Venture Fund - 2014

Sustainable Rice: Less Water, Less Arsenic

Rice growing with limited water

Rice is the staple food for half the world's population. Most rice is grown in flooded fields, consuming massive water in regions where the groundwater may contain high levels of arsenic—arsenic that moves through the soil and ends up in the rice. Arsenic is toxic to rice plants and can cause cancer in human beings. The researchers will test low-water rice farming practices to determine if they reduce arsenic in rice across a range of soils, while maintaining yields. The goal is to save water while ensuring higher long-term yields and a safer, more nutritious crop of the world's most important staple food.

Investigators: Louis Derry, Beth Ahner, John Duxbury, Erika Styger