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Friday, 14 October 2011, 14:00 HKT/SGT

Source: B&L Corporation
B&L's Stevia Laboratory Demonstrates Successful Salt Removal in Brine Damaged Rice Paddies
- Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, Dramatically Improved Efficacy in Rice Growth -

TOKYO, Oct 14, 2011 - (ACN Newswire) - B&L Corporation has announced that it experienced dramatic improvement in soil conditions following the application of its agricultural products for salt removal from rice paddies which were brine damaged due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

B&L's Stevia Laboratory Demonstrates Successful Salt Removal in Brine Damaged Rice Paddies

B&L's natural agricultural products, which had been suggested for improving soil for rice planting, have now proven highly effective.

A research group from Beppu University headed by Professor Keiko Okamoto performed the tests and confirmed the results in the rice paddies of Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture. Comparative tests were conducted using B&L's natural agricultural products in the test paddy, and no B&L materials in the control paddy.

The difference was remarkable between the two paddies. While the majority of rice in the control paddy withered, close to 100% of the rice grown in the test paddy continued to grow and did not wither.

In addition, as days passed, the rice production capacity in the test paddy neared usual annual rice production.

B&L natural agricultural products have proven to be highly effective in revitalizing agriculture in the Tohoku region. The industry-academia project hopes to resuscitate damaged rice paddies across the region as part of the on-going effort to restore the tsunami-effected areas.

Outline of Trial

The trial was conducted under the supervision of Professor Keiko Okamoto, Beppu University, specialist in the field of Stevia and Stevia-related applications, with the support of B&L Corporation.

I. Trial plot

The trial plot was selected where cultivation appeared to be possible from this year onward, where there was tsunami damage and salt damage, but without piles of rubble. The control plot was another ordinary plot adjacent to the trial plot. The rice cultivator selected was a full-time rice farmer, who had not previously used stevia agricultural materials. Location of trial plot and control plot: Hebita District, Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi Prefecture. Seedling variety: Hitomebore (resistant to damage by cold, but with about the same resistance to salt damage as other varieties)

The vicinity of the trial plot was slightly inland from the Ishinomaki coast. This area was not so badly affected by the tsunami that agriculture would have to be abandoned due to rubble and other debris. In the Hebita District, the expressway served as a sea defense, so damage was not so severe that agriculture must be abandoned. However, the area has suffered severe salt damage.

II. Stevia materials and processes used

Stevia material:                  Process:

Fermented liquid extracted        Extracted from stevia plant
from stevia using hot water       using a specific method, 
                                  concentrated and matured

Residue from stevia extraction    Finely powdered dried stevia plant
The trial plot and control plot were specified on May 16, 2011, and the above stevia materials were applied to the trial plot. On May 21 or 24, 2011, the seedlings were transplanted. On June 2, 2011, fermented stevia extract, as water admixture, was reapplied.

III. Discussion

As can be seen from the photos, there is a clear difference between the paddy field in the trial plot with soil improved using stevia materials, and the paddy field where stevia materials were not used.

One reason why the stevia materials were effective for soil improvement in salt-damaged paddy fields may have been the high potassium content of the materials (potassium is also one of the three major fertilizer elements). The stevia materials contain 13.4% potassium.

It is thought that the growth of rice in paddy fields with salt damage due to seawater was hindered by sodium ions from the seawater. It is also possible that the high potassium content of the stevia materials replaced sodium in the salt-damaged paddy fields, but regarding this point, further basic research is necessary.

The stevia extract used in this trial had the effect of promoting root growth. This effect may also have contributed to the success of this trial.

Regarding the mechanism of the "salt damage remediation effect from stevia materials" obtained at this site, B&L will continue basic research and accumulate research results.

About Stevia

The genus Stevia distributed from Paraguay and Brazil belongs to the family Compositae within the tribe Eupatorieae. Members of Stevia comprise herbs and shrubs. The taxonomy of Stevia is very complex. Estimates on the number of species within the genus range from 150 to 300. One member of this genus, Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, is unique to be known for leaves of incredible sweetness. When synthetic sweeteners were prohibited in Japan as carcinogenic in the late 1960s, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries introduced Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni to Japan from Paraguay for the manufacture of natural sweetening. The plant's leaves, the aqueous extract of the leaves, and purified steviosides are used as sweeteners, with 30-45 times the sweetness of sugar and one-ninetieth of the calories. Stevia-based sweeteners are now more popular in Japan than any other country, accounting for 40% of that sweetener market.

About JBB Stevia Laboratory

JBB Stevia Laboratory, Ltd. was established in 1988. In 1989, it succeeded in the mass production of Stevia Extract Liquid, a product made mainly from the stems and partly from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, and soon after released the Stevia Extract Liquid healthy drink "Healthy Pocket" and a plant-activating Stevia Extract Liquid "Farm A". It has since been involved in the research and development of wide ranging Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni informed products including personal health and cosmetic products, animal health products, agricultural products, and environmental products. Unique insights and manufacturing processes developed over 30 years are contributing to Stevia solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems. For more information, please

B&L Corporation
Mr. K. Hirose

Topic: Research and development
Source: B&L Corporation

Sectors: Daily Finance, Chemicals, Spec.Chem
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