International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) (ISARC) 

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) (Varanasi, India) is dedicated to finding ways to improve global food security. To enhance their speed breeding efforts IRRI decided to use Heliospectra Smart Lighting system. The ELIXIA lights are designed to provide the perfect conditions for plant growth and can be adjusted to mimic natural light cycles, and the IRRI researchers were able to create an environment where crops could grow quickly and efficiently. 

Using speed breeding techniques, the research team from IRRI has successfully developed a protocol called ‘SpeedFlower’. In a recent publication by Kabade et al., 2023 titled

SpeedFlower: a comprehensive speed breeding protocol for indica and japonica rice

the team highlighted the effectiveness of speed breeding techniques supported by Heliospectra lights to achieve 4-6 generations in a year to reduce the development of new varieties by 2-4 years. 

The researchers achieved remarkable advancements in generation turnover and genetic gain, laying the groundwork for rapid development and deployment of improved rice varieties. This approach helps grow crops faster, which is crucial for developing new varieties quickly.  

Using speed breeding techniques with Heliospectra led lights to significant achievements for IRRI: 

  • Reduced Breeding Time: IRRI could speed up the breeding process from years to months, allowing them to save time and rapidly develop new crop varieties. 
  • Increased Diversity: Speed breeding allowed IRRI to explore a wider range of crop varieties, to introgress new traits from donor to recipient for improved local varieties.  
  • Better Resource Management: By speeding up the breeding process, IRRI could use fewer resources like land, water, and labor, making their work more sustainable and cost-effective. 
  • By using LED lights in speed breeding facility researchers can overcome seasonal constraints, longer generation time and variations in flowering time. 
  • Faster Variety Release: With speed breeding, IRRI could release new crop varieties more quickly against emerging diseases, pests, to withstand the speed of climate change, ensuring that farmers had access to the latest and most resilient crops. 
Speed breeding protocol IRRI

“By working with partners like Heliospectra, we hope to further increase the speed and efficiency of to our breeding programs. This will help ensure that farmers around the world have access to the best possible crop varieties to meet the challenges of the future.”  

– Vikas Kumar Singh, Uma M Singh and Pallavi Sinha, Regional Breeding Lead-South Asia, IRRIV


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