Biotech Updates

CAS Scientists Increase Essential Fatty Acid in Rice Bran

April 30, 2014

Rice bran, the byproduct of converting brown rice to white rice, is rich in dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. Thus, with the use of biotechnology, rice bran can be richer in α-linolenic acid (ALA) which could be beneficial not just in human health but also in oil industries.

Zhi Jie Yin and colleagues at Chinese Academy of Sciences introduced ω3/Δ15 fatty acid desaturase genes cloned from rice and soybean into rice to increase the production of ALA. The transgenic rice embryo and bran exhibited increased ALA by over 20 percent compared with the non-transgenic control.

ALA accounted for about half of the total fatty acid content of the embryos and bran of transgenic plants, which was comparable to the ALA content of linseed and perilla seeds. The researchers also observed that the trait of high ALA content was stably inherited by the following generations. The enhanced ALA content was also found to be digestible and absorbable for humans.

ALA-enriched rice bran may be a solution to ALA deficiency with the production of healthy bran oil for humans and animals feed.

Read the research article at