Utilization and Product
Development - 92
Project Leader and Principal UC Investigators
R.N. Sayre,Cereal Product Utilization Research Unit, Western Regional Research Center, USDA-ARS, Albany, CA
Research that will ultimately pay off with new products for domestic and
foreign markets is the work of a team of scientists at the USDA's Western
Regional Research Center in Albany.
One area that has received much attention in recent years concerns the nutritional-benefits of rice bran-specifically, its documented ability to lower serum cholesterol.
Scientists worked this past year on new experimental techniques to identify cholesterol-lowering fractions from rice bran; to analyze cholesterol levels in hamsters; and to evaluate how to maintain high density lipoprotein ("good" cholesterol) in the blood while lowering low-density lipoprotein ("bad" cholesterol). Their overall objective is to understand the mechanism by which rice bran affects cholesterol metabolism.
Scientists isolated a portion of the rice bran to gauge its ability to lower cholesterol. This fraction lowered liver cholesterol somewhat; however, a diet based on whole bran proved to be more effective. This suggests that several different fractions of rice bran are working to lower cholesterol levels.
Researchers are also attempting to develop a deeper understanding of the textural changes in baked products containing rice. In one experiment they repeatedly exposed cooked short grain and long grain . rice to several freeze-thaw cycles. They hope to learn from this experiment more about the physical properties of amylose in rice starch.
Another study indicated that refrigeration of bran prior to baking extends the storage life of the bran and improves flavor in baked products. A more detailed study is in progress.
Work is also progressing to develop high-quality rice pasta products.. . Researchers found that processing and cooking characteristic were significantly improved by preconditioning rice flour with additional moisture. As a result, they've added an on-line-steam preconditioner to the extruder used in these tests to facilitate production of rice pasta.
A collaborative effort is also under way at several research facilities to' use near infrared reflectance (NIR) technology to predict the amylose content of milled rice from both breeders' samples and from commercial cultivars. Amylose content is Important because it affects the eating quality of rice, as well as the texture of processed products.