12 January - 20 June 2016

Rice bran, the next superfood? It could be beneficial for human health and nutrition

According to a US study by Zarei et al. from Colorado State University, rice bran could be the next superfood. The researchers suggest that rice bran, which is removed from whole grain rice during processing and used as animal feed, could have benefits for human health and nutrition.

According to a US study by Zarei et al. from Colorado State University, rice bran could be the next superfood. The researchers suggest that rice bran, which is removed from whole grain rice during processing and used as animal feed, could have benefits for human health and nutrition. The most common way of consuming rice bran is in the form of an oil, but rice bran could be used in baked goods, breads, smoothies, and cereals.

The study, published in Rice, notes that rice bran is “known to undergo hydrolytic rancidity after processing from the whole grain”, however thermal treatment applied to the rice bran, stabilises it and prevents rancidity.

Using an approach called food metabolomics or “Foodomics”, which uses multiple chromatography and mass spectrometry, the researchers identified and measured the amount of different molecules present in three U.S. rice varieties (Calrose, Dixiebell and Neptune).  These varieties of rice have been previously used in human dietary intervention trials.  The rice bran was assess for bioactive compounds that have disease control and prevention properties.  As well as using this approach, Zarei et al. used a literature search to determine bioactive compounds. 

The researchers report that the rice bran was found to contain 453 metabolites.  The scientific literature review showed that 65 of the metabolities had medicinal/nutritional properties of which 16 had never been identified in rice bran. The metabolites were “described as antioxidative and anti-inflammatory (35 metabolites), antimicrobial (15 metabolites), cancer chemopreventive (11 compounds), anti-hyperlipidemic (8 metabolities), anti-hyperglycemic (6 compounds) and anti-obesonogenic (2 compounds)”. The authors note that cofactors, vitamins and amino acids were found to make up almost 50% of the total small molecule content of rice bran. 

Zarei et al discuss their findings and state that “rice is a promising candidate for dietary supplementation and nutritional therapy for prevention of chronic and infectious diseases via its antioxidant composition.” They indicate that understanding the “relative contribution of rice bran compounds and the mechanisms of antimicrobial action could be helpful in combating emerging and existing problems associated with antibiotics.”  Rice bran also was found to have a protein content of 12-15% that Zarei et al state deserves attention as it could help tackle nutrition shortages that are a major global health concern. A single serving of rice bran (28 grams) is reported to “deliver more than half of the daily nutritional requirements for thiamine, niacin and vitamin B6.” 

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable expertise in developing a wide range of food and drink products at a laboratory and pilot scale.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

RSSL can test the antioxidant capacity of foods.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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