According to a website www.sbs.com.au, it has been reported that Australian scientists are working towards developing a new rice variety that has health benefits of brown and colored rice varieties but with the texture of white rice. In this matter, it has been narrated that the scientists are exploring the possibility of developing such a rice variety based on the results of a study released by researchers of Charles Sturt University and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI). The project was aimed to find the processing conditions that boost the nutritional content of white rice and a development of such a ‘wonder rice’ which is important to address nutritional deficiencies in some parts of the world, as stated by the scientists engaged under this project.
Further, the findings of the project have recommended that the rice-species should be fine-tuned to concentrate more iron and other minerals in the core of the grain, so loss is less when the outer bran layer is removed during milling to create white rice. As per the observations of the study it has been indicated that parboiling rice grains before milling would help to retain nutrients such as iron, manganese, potassium and zinc during processing. In addition, it also ensures that the nutrients are not lost when the outer bran layer is removed during milling to create hite rice. Moreover, the results also showed that soaking rice grains in salted water at 90˚C and then steaming the grains was the most effective method of processing for retaining nutritional value by encouraging the migration of nutrients from the outer rice bran layer into the core.
Under this project, it has also been revealed that the findings have opened a door of opportunity for us to engineer the nutritional quality of rice. Furthermore, we are currently working to fine-tune rice species to express more iron and other important nutritional minerals in the grain core during growth and soaking, as narrated by a NSW DPI researcher and the Project Leader of the study. It has also been reported by the Rice Chemist at the NSW DPI that it would take about 10 years to come up with such a rice variety. However, this treatment of Australian rice can be implemented, by fortifying it with iron, soon if the demand is there. In case if we wanted to say ‘yes let’s go’, we can do to achieve this with the right production equipment in a year. But, it all depends on the market and on demand. Meanwhile, the scientists are currently working to create a white rice variety that has lowest glycaemic index (GI).