ARS Scientists Improve Nutrients Adding Value to Rice Crop

Dan Research, Specialty Crops, This Land of Ours, USDA-ARS

Improvements to a worldwide food staple. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

Steamed rice and meat dish
Photo by Dragne Marius on Unsplash

Rice, already the primary staple for half the world’s population, is getting a makeover from a research team in New Orleans, Louisiana. The results are a more healthful grain and many potential new products. The team, based in the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Southern Regional Research Center, is making rice a more valuable commodity by developing new technologies that capitalize on the grain’s natural health benefits.

Research chemist Stephen Boue says, “We’re interested in processing treatments that enhance resistant starch and other bioactive components.”

Studies are underway to determine Bioactive compound’s role in the prevention of cancer, heart disease, and other diseases. One such development is a rice variety that is more beneficial to human health.

Rice contains 76–78 percent starch, and cooked rice typically contains one or two percent of starch that resists digestion, but the newer rice varieties have eight to ten percent resistant starch, or more. Resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine; rather, it passes through to the large intestine, where it ferments and produces beneficial metabolites.

Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s This Land Of Ours program here.

ARS Scientists Improve Nutrients Adding Value to Rice Crop

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.