Serpong – BRIN Public Relations. The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) through the Nuclear Energy Research Organization (ORTN) conducted research to improve the quality of porang plants (Amorphophallus muelleri) using gamma radiation. Acting Head of Isotope and Radiation Application Research and Technology Center, ORTN BRIN, Roziq Himawan explained that the gamma ray radiation mutation technique can be used to improve the porang varieties.

“The aim of improvement is to increase tuber productivity, glucomannan level in tubers, resistance to pests and diseases, and resistance to drought. The irradiated parts are the buds or tubers, folds, and seeds,” said Roziq, during a Webinar on Technical Guidance and Socialization on Propaktani under the theme Utilization of Gamma Ray Radiation Technology to Support the Success of Agribusiness in Various Porang-Based Products, held online, Thursday (17/2).

Porang is one of Indonesia’s treasures of tubers. Chairperson of the Indonesian Women University Graduate Association (ISWI), who was representing the Director General of Food Crops, Ministry of Agriculture, Retno Sri Endah Lestari,  said that porang is a tuber plant that has many benefits and powerful properties for the health.

“The glucomannan contained in the porang plant has many benefits, among others as the raw material for the food and non-food industries, and the health,” said Retno.

She further said that porang is popular and received much attention recently following the success of porang farmers in East Java, who become billionaires thanks to their creativity, perseverance, tenacity, and hard work in developing, modifying, and innovating the porang cultivation system. They are creative farmers who succeeded to create porang farming revolution.

Porang is now widely cultivated. Porang cultivation is very prospective in the future, and porang flour markets are already available in countries such as Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Australia, and South Korea.

Irradiation Technology for Material Preservation and Sterilization

In addition to improving plant varieties, irradiation technology can also be used for food preservation and sterilization of medical devices. Acting Head of the Nuclear Facility Engineering Center, ORTN BRIN, Kristedjo Kurnianto said that the agricultural products that are not managed properly will be damaged due to non optimal post-harvest processing and the climate change.

“Gamma irradiator is one of options and solutions for sterilization and preservation of foodstuffs, medicines, and medical products. The benefits of irradiation are to inhibit sprouting, eradicate insects, extend shelf life, reduce pathogens, and quarantine,” he explained.

The advantages of gamma rays, explained Kristedjo, are having a very high penetrating power, comprehensive effect but must be with the right radiation dose, simple process at room temperature so that the shape and color of the product will not change, not causing radiation, not using chemicals, and is of course safe.

He said that gamma irradiation technology has proven to be more superior than the conventional one. Irradiation can be a solution used for preserving food products, improving product quality so that the selling value does not decrease.

In addition, to get rid of undesirable properties in porang plant varieties, gamma irradiation can also be used through genetic mutation techniques, so that new varieties of porang plants with better properties are obtained.

“Utilization of gamma irradiation technology is expected to support the successful cultivation and development of porang agribusiness in Indonesia,” concluded Kristedjo (la, IS/ ed: tnt)