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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Highlights
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New in February, 2014 - Recent Publications, Grants AwardedHonors and Awards Received, Outreach, Non-technical ArticlesCritical and Emerging Issues


Recent Publications -


Min, B., McClung, A.M., and Chen, M.-H. 2014. Effects of hydrothermal processes on antioxidants in brown, purple and red bran whole grain rice (Oryza sativa L.). Food Chemistry 159, 106-115.


The consumption of whole grain cereals is strongly recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans because of their protective effects against many chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Antioxidants in whole grain cereals are considered major contributors to this health-beneficial potential. Because rice is cooked prior to consumption, the concentration of natural antioxidants and their health-promoting potential in rice may be impacted by processing methods. In this study we found that wet-cooked brown rice retained the concentrations of compounds associated with vitamin Es (vitamin E and other vitamin E family members) and gamma-oryzanol antioxidant, while the wet-cooked parboiled brown rice had higher concentrations of these antioxidants compared to un-cooked brown rice. These results indicate that cooking and processing rice does not diminish these health beneficial compounds.


Ma, J., Jia, M. H., and Jia, Y. Characterization of rice blast resistance gene Pi61(t) in rice germplasm.  Plant Disease, Posted on line March 6, 2014.


Rice blast disease, caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, is one of the most devastating diseases in rice worldwide. Rice cultivars containing blast resistance genes are essential for combating rice blast disease successfully. New blast resistance genes can be discovered by mapping and closely examining regions of chromosomes. Pi61(t) was determined to be a major resistance gene effective against common blast races  in the US; and five US rice cultivars were found to carry Pi61(t). Rice breeders may use these cultivars and DNA markers linked with Pi61(t) to develop improved resistance to blast disease in new rice varieties through a marker assisted selection approach.

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Grants Awarded - none to report.



Special invited presentations given, or honors and awards received -


The project entitled “Development of Practical Diagnostic Methods for Monitoring Panicle Blight Disease” was awarded in the amount of $60,000 to Yeshi Wamishe (University of Arkansas) and Yulin Jia (DBNRRC) by the Arkansas Rice Research and Promotion Board.  The award will begin on April 1, 2014, and end on March 31, 2015.


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Public Outreach/Stakeholder and Collaborator Contacts -

March 1  Dr. Georgia Eizenga was part of the local Cub Scout Fun Day attended by approximately 30 scouts and their parents.  The event is sponsored by the Saracen District (Arkansas) of the Boy Scouts of America.  Dr. Eizenga presented information on the research she performs with rice, discussed the scientific method, and the cub scouts (ages 6-10) made a “Fizz-inflator“ to demonstrate the scientific method and discuss chemical reactions.  These experiences met the requirements for the Cub Scout Science belt loop.


March 2  Dr. Yulin Jia consulted with Dr. Lieceng Zhu, an Associate Professor & Assistant Chair in the Department of Biological Sciences at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, NC on rice materials to use to investigate if high temperature will affect the non-host resistance of rice plants to Hessian fly infestation. Dr. Jia provided Nipponbare rice seeds for this study.


March 4  After working with an entrepreneur in Texas for over a year testing different rice varieties, DBNRRC provided a large bulk of milled rice of one southern cultivar to conduct pilot scale tests to determine suitability for making fresh Asian-style noodles.


March 5  Seed of the USDA/ARS variety Rondo was distributed to an extension agent for field testing in Florida. Rice is grown on limited acreage in Florida and in areas where sugarcane is also grown.


March 11  Drs. Anna McClung, Ming-Hsuan Chen, and Rolfe Bryant of DBNRRC and Ms. Delilah Woods (ARS, CA) consulted with a private company on modification of milling methods to assure high quality rice functionality.


March 13  Dr. Yulin Jia consulted with Dr. Joe Kepiro, of Rice Researchers, Inc., in Glenn, CA, regarding the use of DBNRRC rice germplasm to assist with development of medium grain premium sushi rice that will be resistant to blast disease.  Dr. Kepiro is requesting 63 improved genetic stocks from DBNRRC, all of which carry blast resistance genes. 


March 14 Dr. Yulin Jia consulted with Dr. Shane Zhou, Research Plant Pathologist/Assistant Professor at Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Beaumont, TX, on hosting Mr. Rasim Unana, a visiting scholar from Trakya Agricultural Research Institute in Edirne, Turkey.  Mr. Unana will be learning about blast disease research at DBNNRC for 4 weeks beginning April 1, 2014.


March 14 Drs. Anna McClung, Ming-Hsuan Chen, and Rolfe Bryant of DBNRRC conducted a teleconference with Drs. Karen Bett-Garber and Stephen Boue (ARS, LA) to discuss opportunities for research collaboration on rice grain quality.


March 18 Dr. Anna McClung responded to a request from the Arkansas Educational Television Network to provide ideas on research being conducted at DBNRRC that may be suitable for short videos to be shown on public television about agricultural research in Arkansas.


March 20 In support of an outreach effort that is part of a NSF funded project with Dr. Susan McCouch at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Dr. Anna McClung provided seed of several early maturing rice varieties to 25 growers in the northeastern USA that are trying to establish domestic grown rice for local markets in NY, VT, NJ, MA, ME, PA, NH, and MD.


March 20 Seed of two colored bran varieties were provided for farm scale production in Texas to an entrepreneur who is interested in marketing colored bran rice to restaurant chefs.


March 28  Dr. Yulin Jia discussed in a telephone conference with Dr. Amei Amei, an Associate Professor of Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, the results of evolutionary analysis of rice blast resistance gene, Pi-ta, in rice germplasm.


During March 2014, 458 rice accessions from the Genetics Stocks Oryza (GSOR) collection were distributed to researchers in the USA, Belgium, and Turkey.



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Non-technical Articles Published - none to report


Critical or Emerging Issues - none to report


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For more information, please contact Anna McClung, Research Leader,

Last Modified: 4/3/2014
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