SORIZ is a new culture in the new millennium!

Vyacheslav Mykhailovych Sokolov, General Director of the Breeding and Genetics Institute of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Candidate of Agricultural Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences;

Dremlyuk Hryhoriy Kupriyanovych, chief scientific associate of the SGI of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences.
Oleksandr Pavlovich Vereshchynskyi, Chairman of the Board of JSC “Ukragroprod”, candidate of technical sciences.
More than 15 years have passed since research on the practical use of remote hybridization between grain sorghum and its wild relatives was started at the Breeding and Genetics Institute (Odesa) and the Moldovan Institute of Maize and Sorghum, within the framework of the South-Western Breeding Center. The first hybrid forms obtained could not satisfy agricultural production. In search of further solutions, our Moldovan colleagues returned to the selection of ordinary food sorghum hybrids, and scientists of the Selection and Genetic Institute (Odesa) with the help of a specially developed selection method (a.s. USSR No. 843874) performed a new cycle of complex crossings using various rice grain forms.
In the process of selection of the best genotypes, it was necessary to change and correct countless characteristics, from the architecture of plants and the chemical composition of the grain to the organoleptic and food-tasting properties of the cereal. So, light-grain forms were even “repainted” in a yellowish-sun color with the help of genetic methods to give the cereal an attractive appearance.The work carried out made it possible to create the original initial material on the basis of which the first Ukrainian crops were synthesized, which marked the emergence of a new grain crop called “soriz”, i.e. rice-grain sorghum.
In contrast to other hybrids, for example, from food sorghum of Moldovan selection, Soriz varieties harmoniously combined the vitality of sorghum and the food and taste advantages of rice. Under optimal conditions, varieties of corn produce a grain yield of up to 50 t/ha, and in acute drought conditions – at least 30 t/ha. Soriz grain is characterized by increased hardness (up to 30 standard units according to the international classification), glass transparency of 85-95%, protein content of 13.5-15.0%, good taste qualities of the cereal, which determines its high-tech processing and significant nutritional value. In 1995, one of our best varieties at that time, which were submitted to the State variety testing, Odesky – 302, confirmed its advantages and was recognized as the national standard of Ukraine.
Specialists of the Odesa Biotechnological Institute, the Odesa Biotechnology Institute, the Odesa State Academy of Food Technologies and a number of other institutions were engaged in evaluating the features of soriz grain, determining the directions of its use, and creating a scientific basis for further development of technologies.
The study of the agricultural technology of growing corn was also carried out by a number of teams, in particular, the Kherson Institute of Irrigation Agriculture, where our crops were sent for testing and which gave our colleagues the opportunity to collect experimental material on the agricultural technology of the culture and evaluate its agricultural significance. The results of the mentioned work served as a course for further selection.
Unfortunately, the decline of domestic science due to lack of funding did not allow timely creation of conditions for the industrial introduction of culture. However, interest in it grew and new forces were spontaneously involved in the work on “improvement” in various places: agronomists became “breeders”, and entrepreneurs – “agrotechnicians” and “specialists – grain processors”. Against the background of the absence of reliable and scientifically based information, various interpretations and actions that contradict common sense have arisen. Thus, in some publications of an advertising nature, strange properties are attributed to soriz, and in the best case, fragmentary “pieces” of long-existing, unfinished research works are reprinted, without even a hint of their source. Seeds of dubious origin, which can only tentatively be called soriz, are offered for cultivation, and artisanal, uncontrolled production, which has invaded grain processing and is ready to produce anything and from anything, threatens to finally “improve” the culture to an inedible level.
Yes, for too long, sorrel was a culture of only research plots and laboratories, but still, scientific work on its implementation did not stop, even without premature “advertisement”, and it has results. Currently, the varieties of Odesa selection have a high level of self-renewing heterosis and are not inferior to hybrids in terms of productivity. With a special sowing method, our Surprise variety showed a yield of 88.0 t/ha, and the Olymp variety – 93.4 t/ha. Odesskyi – 333 and Surprise varieties passed state tests and were proposed in the Register of Plant Varieties of Ukraine for the year 2000. A number of experimental varieties are characterized by unique properties, including the content of physiologically active substances, for example, tocopherol, and may, upon completion of appropriate research, be considered as a source of raw materials for children’s, dietetic, curative-prophylactic, or geriatric nutrition products. However, the free reproduction of our varieties, as well as the selection of “new” ones from them, can lead to the loss of their genetic constitution, and with it – productivity and the most valuable properties. That is why we do not recommend using seeds of unknown origin, and in order to avoid compromising the culture, we ask you not to use the name “soriz” to the material not of Odesa selection.
In the last five years, the issue of completing the formation of scientific and research support necessary for the industrial introduction of culture has become the subject of attention of specialists of Ukragroprod CJSC (Odessa). In cooperation with scientists of the already listed institutions and NGO “SIMO” (Odesa), with the advisory support of experts from the Kyiv State University of Food Technologies and the Kyiv Research Institute of Food Chemistry, an analysis of existing studies was conducted and a number of new ones were performed, which were not enough for the comprehensive solution of practical problems. As a result, a regulatory framework was created, agreed with the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, which regulates the conditions for the harvesting and use of wheat grain for food purposes and the quality of processing products. The developed technologies for the production of groats and some other products of advanced processing with various equipment support, their approval was carried out, and the best from the point of view of cost minimization and implementation of quality requirements were determined.
In 1999, the work performed allowed Ukragroprod CJSC, with the assistance of agricultural enterprises and the Aliyagh KhPP of the Odesa region, the Soroksk KhHP of the Vinnytsia region, and a number of food producers to conduct a production experiment on the industrial cultivation and processing of rye grain, its use in the food industry. In the course of the experiment, the organizational, technical, technological, and economic aspects of the cultivation of sorrel in large massifs, transshipment, processing at multi-ton capacity, and application in complex farming conditions were tested and worked out for the first time.
The results show that the scientific and technical support created today is sufficient, and the culture itself is ready for industrial use.The decline of the general culture of agricultural production and processing, the low level of their material and technical support should be included among the restraining factors. Stimulating factors are the high technological level of culture as a whole and grain, serious interest of consumers in the prospects of use. The analysis of the formation of the cost of rice grain processing products and trends in the grain market shows that this crop can be profitable both for those who will grow it and for those who will process, use and consume it.