Identifies factors affecting grain quality in conventional and specialty rices, including aroma and taste.
Undertakes a trait discovery program to identify value-added grain traits for rice.
The Cereal Quality Laboratory at the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center was established to look at rice genetic lines that could be used by breeders to enhance the value of the US rice. This is done by examining the chemical and functional characteristics of various genetic lines for value-added traits such as, low phytic acid, low lipid oxidizing enzymes, and aroma. There are more than 100 volatile compounds, that are examined for their impact on rice quality. The structure of rice starch and the genetic variations in starch synthesizing enzymes are evaluated to determine how these impact functional characteristics (cooking and processing quality). In collaboration with other scientists, rice is examined for volatiles that may serve as an sect attractant in the field. The laboratory is equipped to use small sample size for most analysis, which is ideal for assisting breeders in assessing the quality of genetic lines that are being evaluated for potential release as new cultivars.