The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) will test local rice varieties for a food processing application that produces low-protein rice, a healthier alternative for people suffering from kidney disease and diabetes.

The research on protein rice will be implemented using Biotech Japan Corporation`s propriety technology. Biotech Japan Corporation is an exclusive manufacturer of plant-origin lactic acid bacteria, a naturally-occurring element found in grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans that can be used to reduce protein content in milled rice and cooked rice.

In a meeting with officials from the Niigata-based corporation, PhilRice executive director Eufemio T. Rasco Jr said that the partnership is vital as production of low-protein rice is limited only to Japanese rice.

The Philippine Renal Disease Registry reported in 2008 that more than 1.2 million Filipinos suffer from chronic kidney disease in which 41% of the cases resulted from diabetes.

The Japanese corporation, established in 1994, said that it is necessary to reduce ingestion of protein in kidney patients to lessen the burden on the kidneys.

“By helping reduce the amount of protein in rice and bread, which are common staple foods, kidney patients will be able to have better qualities of life,” the company stated.

An experimental facility at the PhilRice Central Experiment Station in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija was also proposed to pilot test the food processing technology in the country through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

“This groundbreaking facility will enable us to learn about the technology and conduct our own researches later on if we want to create similar products,” Rasco said.

“An additional advantage of this partnership would be our people`s exposure to Japanese work values in terms of quality control and assurance, plant operation, marketing strategies—the culture of continuing improvement,” he added.

A follow-up meeting is scheduled on February 2015 to secure the Memorandum of Agreement among PhilRice, Biotech Japan Corporation, and JICA with a target kick-off in April.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute