Exploring the Nutrient Diversity of Colored and White Traditional Rice Varieties

Greg Howard
16th May, 2024

Exploring the Nutrient Diversity of Colored and White Traditional Rice Varieties

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study analyzed metabolomic differences between pigmented (Kullkar) and non-pigmented (Milagu Samba) traditional rice varieties from Tamil Nadu
  • Researchers identified 168 metabolites in both rice types, including fatty acids, sugars, terpenoids, plant sterols, phenols, and carotenoids
  • Pigmented rice (Kullkar) showed higher levels of beneficial compounds like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can help reduce cholesterol
The recent research conducted by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University provides a comprehensive analysis of the metabolomic variations between pigmented and non-pigmented traditional rice varieties of Tamil Nadu, specifically Kullkar (red rice) and Milagu Samba (white rice)[1]. This study is significant as it sheds light on the diverse metabolites present in these rice varieties and their potential contributions to Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2), which focuses on ending hunger, achieving food security, and promoting sustainable agriculture. Using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS), the researchers identified a total of 168 metabolites in Kullkar and Milagu Samba. These metabolites include fatty acids, sugars, terpenoids, plant sterols, phenols, and carotenoids, among others. To differentiate between the two rice groups, the metabolite profiles underwent various data mining processes such as principal component analysis (PCA), Orthogonal Partial Least Square Discrimination Analysis (OPLS-DA), and heat map analysis. OPLS-DA identified 144 differential metabolites with significant variable importance in projection (VIP) scores and fold changes. A volcano plot further illustrated these differential metabolites, showing 64 down-regulated and 80 up-regulated metabolites. The findings from this study align with previous research that has highlighted the metabolic differences between pigmented and non-pigmented rice varieties. For instance, a study on pigmented rice (Oryza sativa L.) identified 110 metabolites and revealed that black and red rice contain high levels of flavonoids, which are associated with plant color. The same study also found that black rice has elevated levels of terpenoids, while non-pigmented rice had relatively low levels of secondary metabolites[2]. This earlier study supports the current findings by confirming the complex interactions between different metabolites in pigmented and non-pigmented rice. Additionally, research on anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid, has shown their potential health benefits. For example, cyanidin 3-O-beta-D-glucoside (C3G), a common anthocyanin, has been demonstrated to suppress inflammatory responses in rats, providing a biochemical basis for its use as a functional food factor[3]. This is relevant to the current study as it highlights the potential nutritional and health benefits of metabolites found in pigmented rice varieties like Kullkar. The current study also builds on previous research that evaluated the extraction of phenolics, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins from different rice samples. It was found that specific solvolytic solutions and extraction steps could effectively recover these compounds from pigmented rice[4]. This methodological insight is crucial for further investigations into the functional and nutritional properties of the metabolites identified in the current study. Moreover, a widely-targeted metabolomics-based approach has previously identified 732 metabolites in various rice strains, revealing significant differences in metabolic pathways such as flavonoid and anthocyanin biosynthesis between pigmented and non-pigmented rice[5]. The current study's pathway enrichment analysis, which identified three distinct enriched pathways, further corroborates these findings and underscores the metabolic diversity of traditional rice varieties. In summary, the research by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University provides a detailed metabolomic profile of Kullkar and Milagu Samba rice varieties, identifying significant differences in their metabolite compositions. These findings not only enhance our understanding of the nutritional and functional properties of these rice varieties but also contribute to achieving SDG 2 by promoting the cultivation and consumption of nutritionally rich rice.

AgricultureBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Unravelling the metabolomic diversity of pigmented and non-pigmented traditional rice from Tamil Nadu, India

Published 15th May, 2024


Related Studies

2) Metabolite Profiling Reveals Distinct Modulation of Complex Metabolic Networks in Non-Pigmented, Black, and Red Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Cultivars.


3) Cyanidin 3-O-beta-D-glucoside suppresses nitric oxide production during a zymosan treatment in rats.

Journal: Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology, Issue: Vol 48, Issue 4, Aug 2002

4) The revisited levels of free and bound phenolics in rice: Effects of the extraction procedure.


5) Comparative analysis of rice reveals insights into the mechanism of colored rice via widely targeted metabolomics.


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