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Enhancing the health-beneficial qualities of whole grain rice
M. CHEN (1), B. Min (2), C. Bergman (3), A. McClung (1), S. Pinson (1) (1) Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center, Stuttgart, AR, U.S.A.; (2) Univ. Maryland East Shore, Princess Anne, MD, U.S.A.; (3) University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, U.S.A..

The majority of rice consumed is in its milled form and is primarily composed of starch. The evidence is increasing that the portion of starch that is resistant to hydrolysis in the small intestines has health benefits. We evaluated a set of high amylose varieties for resistant starch levels. Varieties with higher resistant starch content, after cooking, compared to conventional US high amylose types were identified. The consumption of whole grains is recommended by many health related agencies because this may reduce the risk of developing various chronic diseases. Whole grain rice, with the bran layer intact, provides more nutrients than milled rice, including the lipophilic antioxidants and phenolics. The typical whole grain rice sold across much of the world is light brown in color. Recently, rice varieties with purple and red colored brans have gained significant attention because of their higher levels of phenolic compounds including anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, respectively. These phenolics have been proposed as having health beneficial properties in addition to their antioxidant property. We have studied a diverse set of genotypes with purple and red pigmented brans and determined that it is possible to develop improved varieties with bran containing high levels of total phenolics, anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins. Significant genotypic variation in concentrations of lipophilic antioxidants (vitamin E family and gamma-oryzanol) has also been found. Since rice is consumed after cooking, results on the stability of these compounds to hydrothermal processes will be discussed. In conclusion, high levels of and varying profiles of bioactive compounds in the bran and endosperm of rice were identified using diverse genotypes. This provides opportunity to develop specialty rice varieties enriched with compounds proposed as having health-promoting properties.