Submitted to: International Rice Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/19/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Breeding efforts for rice have been focusing on increasing yield and improving quality (milling yield and grain quality), while maintaining cooked rice sensory properties to meet consumer preferences. These breeding targets will no doubt continue as the main foci for the rice industry. However, the demand for specialty rice, especially aromatic rice, has been increasing in recent years. In addition, partnerships with the food industry have created opportunities to develop rice cultivars with unique functional properties, which, with the industry’s innovative processing methods, result in new convenience food products on the market. Recently the growing interest shown by consumers when choosing food for health products has resulted in increasing numbers of functional foods and dietary supplements on the market. Milled rice is generally considered as a food providing energy, and is high in glycemic index. Increasing evidence through research has shown that resistant starch, the starch fraction that escapes digestion in the small intestine of healthy humans and passes to the colon to be fermented by microbiota, has health benefits in lowering postprandial glucose level, increasing mineral uptake and laxation, reducing pathogen levels and inflammatory bowel diseases; and has potential in preventing colon cancer. Thus, milled rice with higher resistant starch might attract consumers and components of the food industry interested in consumption and utilization of healthier rice. Whole grain rice, with the bran layer intact, provides more nutrients than milled rice with respect to dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and bioactive compounds, including lipophilic antioxidants (vitamin E family and gamma-oryzanol). These lipophilic antioxidants have shown various health-beneficial effects including prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, which in part might be attributed to their antioxidant activity. Typical whole grain rice cultivars on the market have light brown bran color. Recently, rice with pigmented bran has gained a lot of attention because of the higher content of phenolic compounds that have antioxidant activity, and because of specific flavonoids, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins. These pigmented flavonoids, commonly present in fruits, have many health beneficial potentials in addition to their antioxidant property. In addition, a survey of 1763 rice varieties has shown they differ in minerals contents, like zinc and iron. In conclusion, the new market opportunities for rice grain include focus on the development of specialty rices from a health food market perspective. With the current trend in industry and consumer interests in healthier diets and food products to go with a healthier life style, nutrient-dense rice should find its market and new uses by the food industry and consumers.