Probing Rice Bran's
By Marcia Wood
September 8, 2000
The health-promoting benefits of rice bran--the nutritious, light-brown
layer that covers the familiar white kernel--might be enhanced as a result of a
new study led by Agricultural Research
Service scientists. Agency researchers at Albany, Calif., will investigate
various food-processing techniques to find out whether specific technologies
convert key compounds of bran into forms that are easier for the body to absorb
The investigation will look at two different kinds of rice bran fiber and at
antioxidant compounds already known to prevent formation of harmful molecules
known as free radicals.
Rice bran adds a rich, hearty, natural flavor to breads, breakfast cereals,
crackers, cookies and other foods, according to Wallace H. Yokoyama of the
ARS Western Regional Research Center at
Albany. He leads the new research, which is being conducted under a new
cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with The Rice
Foundation, Houston, Texas. Paul A. Davis of the
University of California,
Davis, Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif., will also collaborate.
In preliminary experiments with wheat, Yokoyama and Davis showed that
different techniques for processing wheat bran into cereals made a significant
difference in reducing the incidence of a colon cancer indicator in laboratory
rats. Their new work with rice will also track colon cancer incidence in rats.
Plans call for using three or four variations in processing the bran with a
standard piece of food-processing equipment known as an extruder.
Yokoyama outlined the new research today at the Western Regional Research
Center's Symposium and Exposition. The event, marking the 60th anniversary of
the center, included tours of newly renovated laboratories and a look at the
center's pilot-scale manufacturing facility--also scheduled for major
ARS is USDA's chief research arm.
Scientific contact: Wallace H. Yokoyama, ARS Western Regional
Research Center, Albany, Calif.; phone (510) 559-5695, fax (510) 559-5777,