The Balehonnur-based Central Coffee Research Institute (CCRI) has said that it will announce a new brand of coffee on the market in December 2007.
After 21 years of research, the CCRI expects to release the new variety on December 15. The yet-to-be named hybrid, hi-yielding arabica variety is resistant to diseases such as leaf rust and relatively less resistant to the widely prevalent white stem borer.
CCRI officials said trials of the new variety were being conducted with some 500 growers across the coffee growing regions. The new variety yields about 30 per cent more coffee per hectare at 2,000 kg as compared to the other varieties in plantations like Kaveri, Hemavati and 795 among others.
In another development, the Central Food Technological Research Institute has developed a new robusta coffee variety that has zero-level caffeine after six years of research.
Traditional robusta coffee contains about five to six per cent of caffeine and in the new variety the caffeine level is almost zero. The genetically modified caffeine-less variety was handed over to the Coffee Board by CFTRI officials at Mysore recently.
The CCRI has also reportedly taken up the coffee genome sequencing project in collaboration with four other research institutes. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT)-funded project is currently being executed in collaboration with the Central Food Technology Research Institute, Mysore, The University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, Madurai Kamaraj University, and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology.
It is assumed that the coffee genome contains over 30,000 genes of which only about 100 genes were known. CCRI, which is part of the International Coffee Genome Network, may take about another five years to sequence the genes of robusta variety.
The 100-year-old CCRI is to be renamed as the Indian Institute of Coffee Research (IICR).