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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #205588

Title: Adding Value to Rice Through Research

item McClung, Anna
item Chen, Ming Hsuan
item Yan, Wengui
item Fjellstrom, Robert

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2006
Publication Date: 12/1/2006
Citation: Mcclung, A.M., Bergman, C.J., Chen, M., Yan, W., Fjellstrom, R.G. 2006. Adding Value to Rice Through Research. Meeting Proceedings. Available:

Interpretive Summary: US rice research programs have been successful in developing cultivars having high yield and improved disease resistance. Over the last 20 years export markets for US produced rice have fluctuated whereas the domestic market has been slowly growing. Thus, the rice industry is now focusing more on quality issues including milling, processing, cooking, and nutrition that are important to the domestic market. In addition to developing rice cultivars having standard acceptable quality, there is interest in developing product diversity through added value. The ultimate recipient of added value products is the consumer. Currently, one of the fastest growing markets is the development of rice for use in convenience foods that are frozen, cooked and fresh packed, or pre-cooked and dried. Characteristics of rice used for these products must be suited for the specific industry partner’s processing technology. Interest is developing in exploring differences in rice appearance (grain shape, color), cooked texture, and flavor (taste and smell). Although all of these differences are under genetic control, some may be more strongly affected by processing (eg. texture) than others (eg. color). In addition, the market for organically produced foods is growing by some 20% per year. Consumers perceive that organic rice has enhanced nutritional quality and results in a reduced impact on the environment. Identifying “heirloom” cultivars (varieties that were grown prior to the high input agricultural system of today) that are well suited for organic production is an important need of organic farmers. Thus, there is a tremendous opportunity for the research and breeding communities to develop new products and new knowledge that will help sustain these new added value markets.

Technical Abstract: The changing global marketplace has resulted in the loss of some traditional U.S. rice export markets but it has opened a diversity of new specialty markets. These new domestic markets require an expansion of breeding research from targeting traits that are necessary for a bulk commodity (i.e. yield, milling quality, and pest resistance) to characteristics that add value and lead to product differentiation. Genomic technology is allowing researchers to better understand the contribution of genetic and environmental factors on rice phenotype. Genomic information coupled with the shift in market demands is facilitating the development and use of marker assisted breeding for value added traits in rice. It is crucial that breeders work closely with industry end users to develop rice cultivars that will meet the new criteria for these specialty markets. Molecular markers are helping breeders develop such novel products faster and more effectively than ever before offering new opportunities for research and product innovation that increase consumer satisfaction.