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Rice bran: Composition and potential

food uses
R. M. Saunders
United States Department of Agriculture, Western Regional
Research Center, Albany, California

Version of record first published: 03 Nov 2009

To cite this article: R. M. Saunders (1985): Rice bran: Composition and potential food uses, Food
Reviews International, 1:3, 465-495

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/87559128509540780


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Food Reviews International, 1(3), 465-495 (1985-86)


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Western Regional Research Center
United States Department of Agriculture
Albany, California


Qualitative and quantitative aspects of proteins, carbohydrates,

lipids, vitamins, minerals, and antinutritional factors in rice bran
and its subfractions are described. The nutritional value meas-
ured in animal feeding tests is summarized for bran, defatted
bran, stabilized bran, and protein concentrates derived by alka-
line extraction of bran. Stabilization of rice bran and how this
process may lead to a quantum change in its utilization in foods
and for recovery of edible oil is discussed. Present uses of rice
bran in foodstuffs are described.


Copyright 1986 by Marcel Dekker, Inc. 8755-9129/85/0103-0465$3.50/0



Increased food production is a major focus of development programs in most

countries. While the primary emphasis of these programs is usually increased
crop production, improved utilization of available commodities (particularly
commodity processing byproducts) could contribute substantially to increasing
food availability. Current (1984) world production of rice is estimated to be in
the order of 420 million metric tons (MMT). This rice, rough rice or paddy,
consists of a white starchy endosperm kernel surrounded by a tightly adhering
bran coat, an adhering gram, with the total enclosed within a loose outer hull,
or husk. All rice is milled prior to consumption, producing hull, bran, germ,
and white rice. While a small amount of rice is consumed as brown rice, which
still contains the bran and germ, white rice is the principal food staple of over
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2 billion people worldwide (1-3).

Rice hulls, which comprise about 25% by weight of paddy, are composed
mainly of cellulose, lignin, and siliceous ash, and have feed and other industrial
uses but no food value (4).
Rice bran and rice germ, on the other hand, are rich in protein, lipids, vita-
mins, and trace minerals (2). These qualities lead to a high demand for these
rice-milling byproducts as animal feed, and they are used extensively, though
not exhaustively, for this purpose throughout the world. Frequently these
milling byproducts are discarded, or at best used for fuel or fertilizer (5).
The quantity of bran and germ available from rice-milling operations
throughout the world is estimated to be on the order of 30 MMT, representing
approximately 4.5 MMT each of protein and oil. Yet except for limited excep-
tions, notably Japan, neither bran, nor germ, nor their associated nutrients are
consumed as foods. Paradoxically, nutrient deficiencies tend to be concen-
trated in areas where rice is consumed heavily (3). Those nutrients present in
bran and germ would help alleviate nutritional deficiencies if the means could
be found to consume them in foods, but with rare exceptions bran is not con-
sumed as food. This is due to the high fiber content and possible hull con-
tamination and to the rapid development of rancidity and free fatty acids.
The properties of rice bran and the obstacles to its utilization as a food are
discussed in this chapter. The technologies developed to overcome these
obstacles are described in varying degrees of detail in order to support the
potential of rice bran and germ for direct food application.
A rice kernel is shown diagrammatically in Figure 1. Figure 2 is a photo-
micrograph of a section of a dehulled (brown) rice kernel.

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Figure 1. Diagrammatic representation of a rice kernel.


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Figure 2. Partial cross-section of a brown rice kernel (light microscopy).


Production and Composition

The term bran1 is generic. The final physical and chemical nature of bran de-
pends upon rice variety, treatment of the grain prior to milling, type of milling
system, degree of milling, and fractionation processes operative during milling.
Figures published on the composition of bran show a wide variation (Table 1),
which reflects the influence of these variables upon the final bran constituents.
Because of such variation it is standard market practice to specify limit
composition. For example, in the U.S. such limits for rice bran may be fat and
protein not less than 12%, ash not more than 17%, and fiber not more than
12%. This practice often leads to deliberate adulteration of clean bran with
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hulls as a profitable venture. The latter action would negate the use of such
bran for direct food use.
In developing countries and to a considerably lesser extent in developed
countries, rice is milled in one-stage (huller) mills that remove a single by-
product mixture of hulls, bran, and germ during the production of white rice.
Hand-pounding of rice as a means of milling also produces this same mixture of
hulls, bran, and germ. While it is difficult to assess how much of the world's
rice is milled by these one-stage operations, it is likely that 70-80% is milled
in this manner (5). It is unlikely that this rice-milling byproduct mixture of
bran and hulls would ever find use as a food source. Even if the mixture is
separated into coarse and fine fractions, little difference is noted in composi-
tion between the fractions (7). The apparently insurmountable problem of
removing hull fragments from bran has led investigators to regard utilization
of bran as a food source from hand-pounding or huller mills as impossible (8,
9). In this case, the revised potential for utilization of rice bran as currently
milled as a food source would realistically be in the order of 25% of the num-
bers noted earlier (Introduction), or about 8 MMT bran, containing 1.3 MMT
protein and 1.4 MMT oil.
However, the use of two-stage or multistage rice mills in which bran and hulls
are removed and recovered separately during the milling process to produce
white rice is growing. These milling operations first remove the hulls (or
husks), either by a disc husker or a rubber roll husker. The latter unit is the
preferred system in any new modernization of rice-milling operations. Prior
removal of the hulls provides a clean brown rice, which in subsequent debran-
ning (whitening) operations yields a bran with minimal hull contamination,

Unless specified otherwise, rice bran denotes bran from both raw and parboiled rice and contains
germ and polish. The author is indebted to his colleague De Irving for supplying Figures 1 and 2.
Table 1. Range in Composition of Rice Bran
Range Protein (%) Fat (%) Fiber (%) Ash (%) NFEC (%)

Minimum 6.7 d ; 11.5 4.7 d ; 12.8 6.2 8.0 33.5

Maximum 17.2 22.6 14.4;26.9 d I7.7;22.2 d 53.5
Ref. 6; compiled from data from India, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Philippines, Spain, Sri Lanka,
and U.S.A.
Dry basis.
Nitiogen-fiee extract.
Huller-type mills.

which is then theoretically suitable for exploitation as a food resource. Whiten-

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ing (or pearling) of brown rice produces bran. This bran is a fine powdery
material, made up of pericarp, aleurone, pulverized germ, and some endosperm
(white rice fragments). A detailed histological and histochemical study of the
caryopsis fragments in rice bran has been published (6). The amount of broken
rice in the bran depends on the rice variety and care taken during milling but is
primarily influenced by temperature and moisture conditions during the paddy
drying cycle (10,11). In most milling operations (>99%) the germ becomes
part of the bran stream, although in a few instances the germ is separated.
Whiteners, or removers of bran (and germ) from brown rice, are of two
types: the abrasion type, such as the cono-mills, and the friction type, such as
the polishers or jet pearlers. Proximate analysis of bran from the two types of
whiteners is shown in Table 2. In some instances calcium carbonate is added as
a milling aid; its presence modifies the resultant bran composition (6).
The yield and composition of bran produced in two-stage or multistage
milling varies with the degree of rice milling practiced. In general, paddy rice

Table 2. Proximate Analysis of Rice Bran

from Friction-Type and Abrasion-Type

Component Friction (%) Abrasion (%)

Moisture 11-13 12-14

Protein 14-16 13-16
Fat 18-21 14-19
Fiber 8-10 9-10
Ash 9-12 8-9
NFE 33-36 45-50
Adapted from Ref. 12.

Table 3. The Degree of Milling

(Percent Removed as Bran) in
Rice in Different Countries

Country Removed

India3'b 4-6
Indonesia8 4
Japan a ' c 7-9
Koreaa'c 7-8
Liberia 4-6
Pakistana 4
Perub 4-6
Philippines3 7
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Spain" 8
Sri Lankaa>b>c 4
Taiwana 7
Thailand a ' b ' c 7-9
U.S.A. 8-10
SeeRef. 13.
See Ref. 5.
See Ref. 14.
SeeRef. 12.

yields theoretically 25% hulls, 65% white rice, and 10% bran, which includes
germ and polish. These figures might be encountered in a sophisticated com-
mercial enterprise. However, in practice the degree of milling (or the amount
of bran removed from the brown rice kernel) varies considerably (Table 3).
As a consequence, the yield and amount of germ and/or polish in the bran
varies, as does the bran composition. The extent of variation in bran composi-
tion as a function of the degree of milling is apparent in Table 4. A low degree
of milling (undermilling) is practiced usually for economic reasons; less bran
removal, with low market value, means more rice, with high market value. A
high degree of milling tends to be practiced where rice is intended for export
or enters marketing channels in which there is a requirement for considerable
shelf storage time. Undermilled rice is less stable than well-milled rice because
of the bran residues left on the kernel. The consumer of rice does, however,
benefit from undermilling, since vitamins, protein, lipids, and trace minerals
are left in the bran fragments still adhering to the kernel.
In those limited instances where polish is separately collected during milling
of the rice kernel, the polish composition would approximate (dry basis):
protein, 14%; fat, 14%; fiber, 3%; and ash, 8% (2,16). Polish is that fraction of

Table 4. Variation in Rice Bran Composition as a Function of the Degree of Rice Millinga

Bran Composition

Degree of Milling Protein Fat Fiber Ash NFE

1st cone 0-3 17.0 17.7 10.5 9.8 45.0

2nd cone 3-6 17.6 17.1 10.3 9.4 45.2
3rd cone 6-9 17.0 16.5 5.7 8.4 52.5
4th cone 9-10 16.7 14.2 5.7 7.5 55.9
Adapted from Ref. 15. Dry basis.
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the kernel where the endosperm and pericarp are joined together. Thus, polish
would be relatively rich in aleurone and subaleurone material.
In general, bran from parboiled rice contains substantially more oil than does
bran from raw rice. Raghavendra Rao et al. (17) report oil content of par-
boiled rice bran to range from 28.2-34.2% compared to 24.2-25.9% for raw
bran at up to 5% degree of milling, although these oil contents are abnormally
high in either case. Benedito de Barber et al. (18) reported an oil content in raw
bran of 19.9% versus 23.1% for the parboiled bran at 4% degree of milling. At
4-9% degree of milling, these oil levels were 12.9% (raw bran) and 13.9% (par-
boiled bran). Migration of fat from the aleurone cells to the outer bran layers
during parboiling, while difficult to perceive, is generally accepted as the main
contributor to the phenomenon (19). Bran from parboiled rice contains less
starch and thus less nitrogen-free extract, but more fiber, ash, and protein.
Less endosperm fragments (starch) show up on the bran because parboiled rice
suffers less breakage during mUling.
It must be emphasized that in the following section on rice bran compo-
nents, the term bran means the bran stream produced in a two- or multistage
rice mill. This bran would be expected to contain the germ.


Protein distribution within the dehulled rice kernel ranges approximately: bran
(including germ and polish), 17-30% (16) and milled rice, 70-83% (16). This
distribution varies with the degree of milling, and to a lesser extent with the
variety and protein content of the grain. The distribution of protein solubility
fractions in bran has been reported (20) to be albumin, 37%, globulin, 36%,
prolamin, 5%, and glutelin, 22%. Values for albumin, 40%, globulin, 21%,
prolamin, 3%, and glutelin, 36% were found elsewhere (21). Resolution of

albumins and globulins and their molecular weights have been reported (22,
The major soluble basic proteins of bran have been described as cytochrome
C and a blue, copper-containing glycoprotein (24,25).
Nonprotein nitrogen accounts for approximately 16% of the total nitrogen
of rice bran (26). Major free amino acids are glutamic acid, alanine, and serine
Rice bran contains numerous enzymes, some of which are likely to be at
least partly of microbial origin. Akazawa (28) has compiled a list of these
enzymes. The enzyme lipase is the most responsible factor in the nonutiliza-
tion of rice bran as a foodstuff (see Rice Bran Stabilization section).
The protein (N X 5.95) content of rice bran usually ranges between 9 and
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17%, although it can be closer to 20% in defatted bran. Protein content is influ-
enced by variety, environment, and nitrogen fertilization.
The amino acid composition of rice bran protein is listed in Table 5.


Major carbohydrates in commercial bran are celluloses, hemicelluloses (or

pentosans), and starch. Starch is not botanically present in the outer pericarp
layers, but because of endosperm breakage during milling appears in the bran.
The quantity varies according to the amount of breakage and degree of milling,
but values of 5-35% could be expected. In an efficient two-stage milling
operation, values of 5-15% would be more likely. Amylose and amylopectin
components in the starch depend on the rice variety. In general, amylose
content would be close to zero in waxy (sweet) varieties, although values as
high as 5.7% have been reported (29), about 10-20% in short- and medium-
grain varieties, and 20-35% in long-grain varieties.
Pentosans have been reported to comprise 8.7-11.4% of bran (30). The
water-soluble hemicelluloses have an arabinose:xylose ratio of 1:8, and contain
galactose and protein (31). Alkali-soluble bran hemicelluloses contain 37%
arabinose, 34% xylose, 11% galactose, 9% uronic acid, 8% protein, and a trace
of glucose (32). Bran cell wall preparations contained hexosans (27-28%),
pentosans (30-34%), protein (8-9%), and uronic acid polysaccharides (5-9%)
(33). Sugars present in these polysaccharides were arabinose (27-31%), xylose
(26-29%), glucose (30-36%), galactose (6-9%), and mannose (2%). Ferulic
acid was present in these cell wall preparations. Other works have shown that
pectic polysaccharides containing rhamnose, fucose, arabinose, xylose,
galactose, glucose, and uranic acid are present throughout the dehulled rice
kernel (34).

Table 5. Amino Acid Composition of

Rice Brana>b

Amino Acid Average Deviation

Lysine 3.88C 0.82

Histidine 2.11 0.57
Ammonia 1.72 0.96
Arginine 6.50 1.31
Aspartic acid 7.62 2.03
Threonine 3.06d 0.69
Serine 4.24 0.73
Tryptophan 1.70 0.51
Glutamic acid 12.84 2.86
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Proline 4.10 1.01

Glycine 4.52 0.86
Alanine 5.67 1.22
Valine 5.45 0.43
Cysteine 1.63 0.58
Methionine 2.22 0.35
Isoleucine 3.94e 0.54
Leucine 6.96 1.44
Tyrosine 3.65 1.28
Phenylalanine 4.47 0.85

% N recovered 85.6 11.3

Adapted from Ref. 12.
Fiist limiting amino acid; Chemical Score 71.
"Second limiting amino acid; Chemical Score 77.
Thiid limiting amino acid; Chemical Score 99.

Cellulose in bran is reported to range from 9.6-12.8% (30) and is concen-

trated in the pericarp-seed coat fraction. Beta-glucans appear in endosperm
cell walls (34). Lignin content of bran ranged from 7.7 to 13.1% (35). Proteo-
glycans rich in hydroxyproline and arabinose have been isolated from rice bran
Free sugars in rice bran are concentrated in the aleurone layer and are re-
ported to range from 3-5%. Glucose, fructose, sucrose, and raffinose have been
reported (38). Nonreducing sugars are more abundant than reducing sugars.
Saunders (21) found 8% sugar in bran (dry basis), of which 80% was sucrose,
5% raffinose, 15% higher oligosaccharides, and only a trace of glucose and


Bran typically contains 10-23% oil, although the value may exceed 23% in
undermilled, parboiled bran. Three major fatty acids, palmitic, oleic, and
linoleic, make up about 90% of the total fatty acids (Table 6). Rice bran oil
is close in composition to sesame, corn, cottonseed, and peanut oils.
Bran lipids are classified into the groups glycerolipids, sterol lipids, and
sphingolipids. The glycerolipids comprise glycerides (89%), glycolipids (8%),
and phospholipids (2%) (43). The glycolipids include predominantly mono-
and diglycosyldiglycerides, the sugars of which are galactose and glucose.
Phosphatidyl-choline, -ethanolamine, and -inositol comprise the phospho-
lipids (44). In the sterol lipid group, free sterols, sterylglycosides, and acyl-
sterylglycosides are present (45). Ceramides and glycosylceramide make up
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most of the sphingolipid class (45). Cholesteryl esters and cholesterol have been
identified in rice lipids (46). A potent antioxidant, oryzanol, is reportedly
present at 1 - 3 % in bran lipids (47).
Rice bran oil contains wax (2-5%). The major wax acids are behenic, cerotic,
isocerotic, and lignoceric, whereas the alcohols include ceryl, isoceryl,
montanyl, and myricyl (42).
Lipids in milled bran are rapidly hydrolyzed by the action of lipases. This
subject will be discussed in detail in the section on Rice Bran Stabilization and
Recovery of Edible Oil.
Comprehensive reviews are available on rice lipids (44,48,49).

Table 6. Fatty Acid Composition of Rice Bran Oil

Composition (%)

Fatty Acid Rangea Typical

Myristic(C14:0) 0.4-1.0 tr
Palmitic (Cl 6:0) 12-16 15.9
Palmitoleic(C16:l) 0.2-0.6
Stearic(C18:0) 1-3 1.7
Oleic (C18:l) 40-60 40.7
Linoleic (Cl8:2) 29-42 37.9
Linolenic(C18:3) 0.5-1.0 1.4
Arachidic (C20:0) 0 0.6
SeeRefs. 39,40,41,42.


Vitamins found in rice bran have been tabulated by Juliano (16). Ranges for
these values are listed in Table 7.
Variation in vitamin content undoubtedly reflects analytical methodology,
rice variety, degree of milling, and hull contamination. However, it is clear that
all vitamins are concentrated in the outer kernel layers, principally in the
aleurone layer and scutellum. By calculation, the bran-germ-polish component
contains 78% of the rice kernel thiamine, 47% of the riboflavin, and 67% of
the niacin. It has been reported (50) that rice milling results in the loss to
human consumption of 76% thiamine, 57% riboflavin, and 63% niacin. Similar
losses would occur in all other vitamins because of their concentration in the
bran and germ.
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Thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin are substantially lower in parboiled bran

than in regular bran (50).


Juliano (16) has tabulated mineral analyses for rice bran, the ranges for which
are listed in Table 8. Minerals are concentrated in the kernel bran layers. The
bran-germ-polish fraction contains about three times the mineral content of
milled white rice. Phosphorus is the major mineral, about 90% of which is

Table 7. Vitamin Content of Rice Brana

Vitamins (ppm, dry basis)

Vitamin A 4.2
Thiamine 10.1-27.9
Riboflavin 1.7-3.4
Niacin 236-590
Pyridoxine 10.3-32.1
Pantothenic acid 27.7-71.3
Biotin 0.16-0.60
Myoinositol 4,627-9,270
Choline 1,279-1,700
p-Aminobenzoic acid 0.75
Folic acid 0.5-1.46
Vitamin B i2 0.005
Vitamin E (tocopherols) 149.2
SeeRef. 16.

Table 8. Minerals in Rice Brana

Component Content (ppm)

Aluminum 53-369
Calcium 140-1310
Chlorine 510-970
Iron 190-530
Magnesium 8,650-12,300
Manganese 110-877
Phosphorus 14,800-28,680
Potassium 13,650-23,960
Silicon 1,700-16,300
Sodium 0-290
Zinc 80
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Adapted from Ref. 16.

phytate phosphorus (16). Silicon would be expected to vary widely since it is

a major component of rice hulls.
Mineral concentration varies with the degree of milling. Some elements (P,
K, Mg) increase initially, then decrease with increasing degrees of milling;
others (Ca, Mn, Fe) show early sharp decreases (51). Mineral composition also
varies with the soil environment. Milling would result in a loss to human con-
sumption of the majority of rice minerals. For example, by calculation, about
80% of the iron is in the bran fraction.


Considerable research has been reported on conversion of rice brans into sub-
fractions which may contain more of the desirable nutrients and less of the
undesirable components. Protein has been generally used as an index of positive
enrichment, which in some cases has led to the term "protein concentrates"
being applied to some bran subfractions. Fiber has generally been considered
an index of undesirable components, although this has been modified to some
extent in recent years because of the purported desirability of dietary fiber.
Fractionation processes include specialized dry milling of raw or parboiled
brown rice, air-classification of rice brans, and aqueous extraction of brans at
ambient or alkaline pH followed by recovery of fractions differing in their
solubility or emulsification properties. None of these processes has been
adopted by commerce to any great extent.

Dry Fractionation

The separate collection of individual bran streams from different abrasive

(whitening) cones encountered in some milling operations can provide bran
fractions of differing composition (52). However, with the exception of rice
polish, which is sometimes collected separately, individual collection of bran
streams is not practiced. Even the theoretical opportunity to collect bran sub-
fractions during milling of brown rice is absent in the majority of rice-milling
Fractionation of bran via particle size classification has not been particularly
successful. Houston and Mohammad (53) sieved a defatted rice bran (10.6%
protein) through a 40-mesh screen, providing 52.5% of the material as a
product containing 13.4% protein and 8.7% fiber. Air-classification of finely
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ground defatted rice bran (10.6% protein; fiber 11.4%) provided a high protein
(12.3%) fraction in a 48% yield, containing 6.9% fiber (53).
Through pin-milling and air-classification, defatted rice bran of original pro-
tein and fiber contents of 19.4% and 8.2%, respectively, was converted into
subfractions containing protein as high as 23.5% and fiber as low as 1.9% in
50% yield (Table 9). Unfortunately, the ash content of the protein-enriched
subfractions is probably too high for direct food application.
Fine grinding and air-classification of full-fat rice bran did not provide frac-
tions of composition different from that of the starting bran (53,54).

Wet Fractionation

Wet grinding of full-fat rice bran using disk, rotating, or colloidal mills fol-
lowed by wet-particle size classification using meshes or hydrocyclones yielded

Table 9. Air-Classification of Pin-Milled Defatted Rice Brana

Yield Protein Fiber Ash

Fractionb (%) (%) (%) (%)

Coarse 50 16.7 14.1 _

Fine 50 23.5 1.9 21.1
Coarse 52 15.6 13.9
Fine 48 23.6 2.6 21.4
Coarse 86 19.5 8.8 -
Fine 14 17.7 4.1
See Ref. 54.
"Runs at different settings for separation of fractions.

Table 10. Yield and Composition of Fractions Derived by

Wet Processing of Full-Fat Rice Bran a

Yield Protein Fat Fiber


Starting bran 100 14.5 14.6 9.5

High-fiber fraction 32 13.1 13.0 17.8
Low-fiber fraction 57 16.9 17.1 3.0
Aqueous concentrate 11 6.1 6.3 0.5
Adapted from Ref. 6.
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three fractions: (1) a high-fiber fraction, (2) a low-fiber fraction, and (3) an
aqueous concentrate of vitamins and minerals (Table 10) (6). Unfortunately
this process suffers from the associated high drying costs.
Protein concentrates of various compositions have been prepared from full-
fat and defatted rice bran by an alkaline extraction technique similar to the
process of preparing protein isolates from soybeans. Solubilization of nitrogen
in rice bran as a function of pH has been investigated (55,56). Earlier, condi-
tions had been recommended for alkaline extraction of rice brans, namely pH 9
at room temperature for 15 min (57). This process has been patented (58).
These conditions were deemed appropriate for economic purposes and for the
avoidance of negative amino acid-alkali reaction products. Screening of the
aqueous alkaline mixture to remove particulate (fiber) material provides an
aqueous phase containing a major portion of the original bran protein, lipid,
and starch. A protein-lipid-starch concentrate could be obtained from the
aqueous phase by heat or acid precipitation (Table 11). Removal of starch prior
to protein precipitation altered the protein composition as shown in Table 11.
Lipid extraction from these protein concentrates would increase the final pro-
tein level.
The composition of the fatty acids in these subfractions averaged oleic,
48.9%, linoleic, 37.0%, palmitic, 14.1%, and traces of steric and linolenic,
similar to the rice bran pattern (Table 6) (57). The amino acid patterns of
these subfractions and those of the bran from which they were prepared are
listed in Table 12. Lysine is no longer the first limiting amino acid in the sub-
fractions. The subfractions are enriched in iron (57).
To decrease water required for processing (and hence drying costs), this
process was refined to provide a liquids recycle operation (57,58). A formula,
y = x (1.97n + 4.35) was determined, where y equals the weight of aqueous
alkali, x equals the weight of rice bran, and n equals the recycle batch number.
In practice, the solids content of the recycling liquid phase leveled off at cycle
Table 11. Yield and Composition of Fractions Obtained from Rice Bran by
Alkaline Extraction8

Yield Protein Fat Fiber Ash Starch

Bran Recovery Procedure (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%)

Rice bran
Heat 20.5 22.8 32.7 0.7 11.7 22.9
Heat, starch removed 12.2 33.3 49.2 0.5 4.5 1.3
Acid 16.8 28.2 41.7 1.0 5.2 20.4
Acid, starch removed 12.3 35.8 50.8 0.6 3.3 1.5
Defatted rice bran
Heat 20.5 33.7 8.2 1.6 17.0 25.5
Heat, starch removed 9.3 58.2 16.2 1.0 6.1 3.2
Acid 16.8 43.0 12.2 1.6 5.7 29.7
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Acid, starch removed 11.0 62.3 17.7 0.6 3.4 1.6

Adapted from Ref. 57. Dry basis.
^This bran actually contained 5.4% fat.

Table 12. Amino Acid Content of Rice Bran and Subfractions Prepared
by Extraction of Rice Bran at pH 9 a ' b

Bran Subtraction

Amino Acid Rice Bran Heat-Precipitated Acid-Precipitated

Lysine 4.41 C 5.19 5.08

Histidine 2.42 2.92 2.97
Ammonia 1.92 1.49 1.49
Arginine 7.19 8.80 8.69
Aspartic acid 9.56 8.50 8.15
Threonine 3.69 3.54C 3.62C
Serine 4.52 4.64 4.55
Glutamic acid 13.09 13.62 14.16
Proline 3.79 4.58 3.66
Glycine 5.27 5.71 5.54
Alanine 6.18 6.23 6.00
Valine 5.85 6.29 6.09
Isoleucine 3.53 d 3.69d 3.72d
Leucine 6.72 6.97 6.84
Tyrosine 2.54 3.27 3.04
Phenylalanine 4.20 4.64 4.15
Cysteine 2.24 1.72 1.82
Methionine 1.83 1.76 1.66
Nitrogen recovery (%) 85.65 90.68 88.47
Adapted from Ref. 57.
First limiting amino acid; Chemical score, 81 (bran); 89 and 91 (subfractions).
^Second limiting amino acid; Chemical score, 88 (bran); 92 and 93 (subfractions).

Table 13. Yield and Compositions of Fractions Prepared from Rice Bran by
Extraction with Sweet or Acid Wheya

Yield Protein Fat Fiber Ash

Whey Type (%) (%) (%) (%) (%)

Sweet whey
starch present 23.1 23.3 31.0 2.0 8.6
starch absent 8.5 47.8 46.4 0.1 1.5
Acid whey
starch present 21.8 34.0 24.0 3.2 11.5
starch absent 6.7 54.1 32.1 0.4 3.2
Adapted from Ref. 61.
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5, at 6.5% solids, half of which was sucrose, glucose, fructose, and raffinose
Subfractions from bran and defatted bran also have been prepared via
alkaline extraction by Chen and Houston (59) and Lynn (60), respectively.
Yield and composition were similar to those products described in detail above.
Whey adjusted to alkaline pH has been used to extract rice bran as a means
of deriving subfractions enriched in protein (61-63). Typical yields and com-
positions are reported in Table 13 for these materials with and without starch
removal during the extraction procedure.
Several enzymes have been tested in an effort to improve extractability of
protein from rice bran. Amylases showed some improvement, whereas cellu-
lases, proteases, and pentosanases did not (60,64). Use of hydrogen peroxide
(65) or fine grinding (55) did not improve protein extractability from rice
bran, although fine grinding did improve extractability from purified rice germ
Mitsuda et al. (66) report high-protein subfractions recoverable from rice
bran by extraction with sodium dodecyl sulfate, ammonium hydroxide, sodium
hydroxide, sodium chloride, or urea. Yields ranged from 14 to 30%. Alcohol
extraction of the material extracted with sodium hydroxide yielded a protein
isolate, 94-99% protein. Incorporation of an anion-exchange resin in the
extraction medium improved protein recovery.
Another process to wet-fractionate rice bran has been described by Mihara
(67). Bran is first ground in water, then separated into aqueous and solid phases
by centrifugation. From the aqueous phase, a protein-oil complex is removed
by chemical means, then deoiled to produce a protein concentrate and oil.
Phytin is recovered by precipitation, leaving a vitamin-enriched aqueous phase.
Starch is further fractionated from the solid phase by resuspension and particle-
size classification. The yield and composition of subfractions are listed in

Table 14. Wet Fractionation of Rice Brana

Yield Water Protein Fat Fiber Ash Carbohydrate

Bran Subfraction (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%) (%)

Protein 11.0 8.6 78.5 1.8 0 2.9 8.3

Starch 14.5 5.4 1.6 0.5 1.7 0.7 90.1
Phytin 8.0 n.a. 0 0 0 41.2 . 0
Oil 16.5 n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
Vitamin concentrate 22.0 n.a. 11.2 n.a. 0 n.a. 87.3
Solids residue 25.0 2.2 13.1 6.8 26.3 2.6 48.8
Adapted from Ref. 67. n.a., not available.
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Table 14. This process is complicated, requiring substantial drying, and is thus
not likely to be economic.

Organic Solvent Fractionation

Rice bran disintegrated in hexane with a high-speed blender was sieved through
60-mesh screens. The fraction passing through the 250-mesh screen, after
hexane removal, yielded (35-40%) a product containing 22% protein, 50%
carbohydrate (80% starch), 4% fiber, and 20% ash, dry basis (68).


The utilization of rice bran as a food is limited to some extent by its fiber
content, but the major obstacle is its instability. Enzymes, both natural to the
bran and of microbial origin, are the major cause of bran deterioration. Lipases,
and to a much lesser extent oxidases, are responsible for these deteriorative
changes by promoting hydrolysis of the bran oil into glycerol and free fatty
acids (FFA). Hydrolysis and oxidative rancidity are associated with this de-
terioration. The consumer experiences bitterness and a soapy taste (6). Within
the intact rice kernel, lipases are localized in the testa-cross layer region, while
the oil is localized in the aleurone and germ (69). Thus, the substrate and
enzyme are compartmentalized. However, once these regions are disrupted
during the milling process, enzymatic hydrolysis is possible and proceeds
rapidly. Microorganisms present on the surface of the kernel would also then
have access to the bran oil (70).
One process to avoid this problem has been commercialized, namely the
X-M Process, in which rice is milled under hexane (71). In this manner, the

oil is separated from the bran during the milling operation to produce an oil
which can be directly refined for edible purposes. The bran from this operation
can then be desolventized (via heat) to provide defatted rice bran, which in
fact has some food applications. Because of poor economics, the X-M Process
is no longer in operation.
Thus, throughout the world, lipase and bran oil do come into immediate
contact once the rice is milled. The rate of FFA release is very high and is
affected strongly by environmental temperature and moisture. FFA release of
5-7% in a single day or up to 70% in a month has been widely recorded. As
FFAs increase, the refining loss for potential edible oil production increases
more rapidly since losses during refining are two to three times the FFA
percentage (9). Rice bran oil normally contains 1.5-2% FFA at the time of
milling; less than 5% FFA is desirable in the crude oil for economic recovery
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of refined edible oil (9).

These deleterious enzymes in rice bran can be destroyed by heat. In practice,
this heating (stabilization) must be done in as short a time as possible after
milling, and thus prior to appreciable accumulation of FFA. Cost-effective
stabilization of rice bran immediately after milling would singularly transform
rice bran into a food resource with worldwide impact (9,72). This has long
been recognized by investigators, and numerous bran stabilizers have been

Stabilization Processes

Procedures to stabilize rice bran through heat-treatment include retained-

moisture heating, added-moisture heating, and dry heating. These systems are
tabulated in Table 15. With the exception of the microwave and infrared
heating devices, the advantages and disadvantages of these various stabilization
systems have been discussed (72). The microwave system suffers from the high
cost of magnetrons, which have a limited life, and the need fo further pelletize
the bran prior to oil extraction. Likewise, the infrared system suffers from the
short life of the infrared lamps, the high cost of replacement, and the need
to further pelletize the bran prior to extraction of oil. Perhaps the most
somber observation is that none of the systems developed during the sixties
and seventies have been accepted commercially and thus presumably are
Dry heating is attractive because of its simplicity of operation and the
general availability of hulls as a fuel source, but reports on effectiveness of
stabilization are conflicting. Added moisture methods are effective, but steam
is required, and bran must be dried after steaming. Systems that retain the
ambient moisture under pressure at high temperature and then utilize the

Table 15. Rice Bran Stabilization Processes

Stabilization Method References

Retained-Moisture Heating Methods

Extrusion cookers: Brady extruder (continuous) 9,72,73
Extrusion cooker: Kist extruder (continuous) 74
Rotating drum (batch) 75
Microwave tunnel (continuous) 76
Infrared heat (continuous) 77

Added-Moisture Heating Methods

Screw conveyors (continuous) 78-82
Extrusion cooker: Anderson extruder (continuous) 83
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Dry-Heat Methods
Open-pan roasting (batch) 84
Stationary bed (batch) 85
Steam-jacketed conveyor (continuous) 86
Flu-gas-jacketed screw conveyor (continuous) 87
Oil-jacketed screw conveyor (continuous) 88
Fluidized bed (batch) 89,90

added heat to drive off some of the moisture as pressure is released appear
effective and efficient.
Extrusion cooking with low-cost extruders, which run on electricity and in
which heat is generated through friction with no steam or drying requirement,
appear most appropriate (72). Preliminary economic analysis indicated that the
use of such an extrusion cooker in rice-milling operations to stabilize bran for
edible oil recovery would be financially feasible (9). This prediction appears
to have been borne out in practice (73).
Only in one case has a thorough economic analysis been made of the sta-
bilization system, namely the Brady2 extruder system (9). The simplicity of
this unit, its low cost,3 and effective stabilization at high-quality continuous
throughput seem to predicate its eventual use in developed and third world
countries, albeit only at multistage rice mills.

Reference to a company and/or product named is only for purposes of information and does not
imply approval or recommendation of the product to the exclusion of others which may also be suitable.
U.S. $15,000 in 1985.

Table 16. Storage Stability of Stabilized Rice Brana

Raw Bran Stabilized Bran

Test Initial 28 Days Initial 28 Days

FFA (%) 4 51 3 4
H2O (%) 11 12 7 10-11
Bacteria (X 102/g) 82,000 7,400 9 4

Stabilized on a Brady extruder; stabilized 10 min after milling (see Ref.


Barber and Benedito de Barber (12) point out that research and development
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work on rice bran stabilization had never gone beyond the heat-stabilization
stage. Recent work on stabilization using the Brady extruder has addressed
poststabilization consequences, including handling, storage stability, oil extrac-
tion and refining, chick and pig feeding, and incorporation of stabilized brans
into foods. These are described in some detail below.
In practice, it has been recommended that extrusion at 130C, followed by
holding the bran for 3 min at 97-99C prior to cooling, effectively stabilizes
the bran (73,91). In this process, a temperature of 130C is attained entirely
through friction, and the bran is at this temperature only a few seconds. Sim-
ilar conditions were noted in another extruder system (74). In addition to
destruction of lipase activity, peroxidase activity was also destroyed under
these extrusion conditions. Long-term storage studies (Table 16) indicated
that stability against FFA development persisted for at least four months,
contrary to most processes using dry heat to stabilize (12). Extrusion-
stabilized bran was essentially sterile (Table 16). At these stabilization con-
ditions, electrical energy requirement was 0.076 kwh/kg (73). Extrusion-
stabilized rice bran contained 6-7% moisture and was in the form of small
flakes, with 88% larger than 0.7 mm in diameter. This material could be ex-
tracted with hexane to recover oil without further pelleting (92), in contrast
to most other stabilized brans, which require agglomeration or pelleting prior
to oil extraction (12). The crude oil was refinable using conventional (40)
winterizing, dewaxing, neutralization, bleaching, and deodorization (92).
The refined oil compared favorably in color and flavor with other vegetable
oils. It contained 170 mg/kg of tocopherols (Vitamin E) and would thus be
expected to be stable. Fatty acid composition of refined oil is shown in
Table 6 (under Typical).
Stabilized rice bran and extracted stabilized bran in which oil was added
back in the test showed a 20% improvement in feed efficiency compared to
unstabilized bran when fed to chicks at 60% of the ration (93). Stabilized bran

was marginally inferior to unstabilized bran when fed at high levels (20-40%)
to pigs (94). Elsewhere, Tortosa et al. (95) had shown a slight improvement in
pig performance when fed rice bran stabilized by another procedure (79) when
compared to the unstabilized bran.
Stabilized and hexane-extracted stabilized rice bran from the Brady ex-
trusion system have been tested in food systems (96,97) (see section on Food

Recovery of Edible Oil

The prime reason for stabilizing rice bran is to convert this resource into one
providing edible oil. Edible rice bran oil at present is obtained in Japan and
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India only in those cases where the bran can be extracted within a short time
after milling prior to FFA buildup. In these cases the bran is steam-agglom-
erated (Japan) or pelleted (India) prior to hexane extraction. Oil-refining to a
high degree is practiced in Japan using either alkali-refining or physical-refining.
Cost-effective stabilization technology using extrusion is now available on a
scale suitable for small and large two-stage or multistage rice-milling opera-
tions. Stabilization at single-stage rice mills is considered impossible due to the
poor economics in extracting rice bran containing hulls and thus having low oil
content. The extrusion process has the advantage of not requiring additional
pelleting prior to extraction, and in fact the cost of stabilizing is probably
similar to the cost of pelleting. Extrusion conditions have a positive nutritional
effect upon the bran as far as poultry feeding is concerned, and no negative
effects upon swine feeding. Most importantly, the stabilized bran can be stored
for long periods prior to extraction without loss of oil quality (92).
Since the economics appear favorable (9), one can expect that production
of edible rice bran oil will increase in the near future through implementation
of low-cost extrusion technology.


The general nutritive value of rice bran has been well established in composi-
tional data and pertinent references listed elsewhere in this chapter. Actual
studies on biological value using test animals is severely limited. Some idea
of energy value and nutrient digestibility as a feed is evident in data listed in
Table 17, although bran compositions are not defined and these values are
likely to be low compared with those encountered in a good quality bran. If
one assumes typical starch and sugar contents to be 10% and 5%, respectively,

Table 17. Energy Values and Digestibilities of Rice Brana

Digestible Metabolizable Protein Total Digestible

Animal Energy Energy Digestibility Nutrients
Species (kcal/kg) (kcal/kg) (%) (%)

Cattle 2,910 2,171 65 66

Sheep 3,527 2,632 68 80
Swine 3,578 3,028 76 81
Adapted from Ref. 98; dry basis.

the caloric content of the representative friction-milled rice bran (Table 2) cal-
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culates to 2950 kcal/kg.

The content (Table 2) and amino acid composition (Table 5) of rice bran
protein appears favorable compared to other cereal grains, but protein is of
limited digestibility. The reason for this has not been entirely established, nor
has it been confirmed in human studies. However, if protein digestibility is
low in animals, it can be expected to be low in humans. Nitrogen digestibility
of rice bran in rats was reported to be 58.5% (57). Titus (99) reported a value
of 59% for chicks and Maymone et al. (100) a value of 60.2% for sheep.
Measurement of nitrogen digestibility in rice brans and germ using rats (21)
recorded values of 59.5-79.3% for five rice brans, 71.2% for defatted bran, and
84.9% for rice germ. Nitrogen digestibility in the protein-enriched fractions
prepared by alkaline extraction of rice bran were 83.4% (heat precipitated)
and 89.6% (acid precipitated) (57).
These limited rat-feeding data indicated that protein digestibility in rice-
milling products is inversely proportional to the fiber content. This relation-
ship exists for wheat-milling products (101). Rice bran protein, which is
histologically associated with the fibrous outer pericarp and/or aleurone
layers, is not readily available to digestion. Rice protein bodies contribute to
low protein digestibility. Most protein in the subaleurone layer, and that which
would be present in the bran to considerable extent, exists as protein bodies
(102). These protein bodies have been shown to be not fully digestible, and the
digestibility decreases further after cooking (103). Tanaka et al. (51) have
described rice globoid particles in the aleurone layer which contain substantial
phytic acid. Phytic acid has a negative effect upon protein digestibility (104).
Protein efficiency ratios (PER) reported for rice bran, rice polish, rice germ,
and bran subfractions enriched in protein obtained by alkaline extraction are
listed in Table 18. The high values reported for PER reflect a protein nutritive
value one would expect from the amino acid chemical score (Table 12) for

Table 18. PER Values for Rice-Milling Byproducts and Protein-

Enriched Fractions Obtained by Alkaline Extraction of Rice Bran

Rice Material PER Reference

Bran 1.61,1.92 105

Bran 1.59 57
Defatted bran 1.7-1.9 60
Defatted bran 2.07 21
Alkaline extracted 1.99,2.19a 57
protein-enriched bran 2.31,2.36,2.37,2.49a 21
subfractions 2.24,2.32,2.38 b 21
Germ 1.90 105
Germ 1.74 21
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Six subfractions differing in method of preparation and/or drying,
prepared from the same rice bran.
"Three subfractions differing in method of preparation and/or drying
prepared from the same defatted bran.

subfractions prepared from bran. These PER values are extraordinarily high for
a material derived solely from a cereal source.
Bran stabilized by the Spanish procedure (Table 15) (79) showed a PER
value in rats of 1.59 compared to 1.66 for the unstabilized bran (21). These
values were not statistically different, and nitrogen digestibility was the same
(73%) for both brans. In another study on these same materials, stabilization
resulted in a small though significant improvement in nitrogen balance but no
difference in PER values in rats (106).
Bran stabilized by extrusion (Table 15) (73) showed a 20% improvement in
feed efficiency compared to unstabilized bran when fed to chicks at 60% of
the diet (93), although it was slightly inferior to unstabilized bran when fed
to pigs (94).
In those feeding tests using stabilized bran, no adverse effects upon nutritive
value through the heating process were observed. On the contrary, antinutritive
factors were destroyed (see next section).
Bioavailability of nutrients other than protein from rice bran has not been
studied to any extent. Maymone et al. (100) report digestibility by sheep of
lipids, crude fiber, and organic matter to be 79.5%, 31.2%, and 59.5%, respec-
tively. Crampton and Harris (98) list total digestible nutrients to be 60%
(cattle), 73% (sheep), and 74% (swine).

Antinutritive Factors
Enzyme inhibitors noted in rice bran include trypsin inhibitor (107) and pepsin
inhibitor (66,104). The pepsin inhibition is believed to be caused by phytate
in the bran (104). The trypsin inhibitor is proteinaceous (107). Alpha-amylase
inhibitors like those found in wheat are absent (108).
Other potentially deleterious components in rice bran include hemagglutinin
(109), an antithiamin factor (110), and estrogenic activity (111). Trypsin
inhibitor and hemagglutinin activities were destroyed by heat during the
stabilization process (112,113). Chicks fed unstabilized raw bran had a sig-
nificantly heavier pancreas than chicks fed stabilized bran (93), though no
difference was noted in pancreatic weight between rats fed stabilized or un-
stabilized bran (21). Growth depression in chicks fed raw (unstabilized) bran
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has been noted frequently (93,114) and occasionally in pigs (6,94). Heat
treatment invariably improves feed performance in chicks, even though residual
trypsin inhibitor activity may be present (114).
Phosphorus is the most abundant mineral in rice (Table 8). According to
McCall et al. (115), phosphorus occurs as phytic acid (89.9%), nucleic acid
(4.4%), inorganic phosphate (2.5%), carbohydrate (2.3%), and phospholipid
(1%). Phytic acid, myoinositol hexaphosphate, occurs entirely in the bran
(116) and is associated with the aleurone layer. Bran obtained from 4% degree
of milling had phytic acid content of about 3%, 23 times the level found in
whole brown rice (116). The particles isolated from aleurone by Tanaka et al.
(51) contained 9.4% myoinositol and 11.6% phosphorus. Aleurone particles
described by Ogawa et al. (117) contained 67.2% phytic acid, 18.9% potassium,
and 10.8% magnesium.
There is controversy concerning phytic acid and nutrient availability. In vitro
observations suggest it is a protease inhibitor, but whether this plays a role
in vivo needs to be substantiated. Far more prevalent in the literature is the
question of the influence of phytic acid upon mineral availability (118).
Phytates have been considered to prevent absorption of mineral elements,
particularly divalent elements, and there are numerous studies to support this
claim. However, Morris and Ellis (119) reported iron in monoferric phytate to
be totally available to rats, and Graf and Eaton (120) report that phytic acid
had no substantial effect upon absorption of calcium or iron in mice.

Dietary Fiber
Only one study has been carried out on the dietary fiber content of rice bran
(121). The results are listed in Table 19. From these limited data, a regression

Table 19. Crude Fiber and Dietary Fiber of Rice

Bran Measured by In Vivo and In Vitro Procedures

Dietary Fiber3

In Vivob In Vitroc Crude Fiber

Rice Material (%) (%) (%)

Bran 1 48.6 n.a. 14.5

2 42.1 n.a. 11.1
3 37.8 36.4 8.8
4 29.5 32.2 7.9
5 25.6 n.a. 4.1
Defatted bran 44.3 n.a. 9.8
Germ 17.7 20.4 3.0
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Brown rice 6.2 7.2 1.2

Moisture-free basis. See Ref. 122. n.a., not available.
SeeRef. 122.

equation was derived in which in vivo dietary fiber (y) is related to crude fiber
(x): y = 3.34x + 5.69 (r2 = 0.931).


Rice bran finds extremely limited use in foods, primarily because of the asso-
ciated oil deterioration problem (see section on Rice Bran Stabilization) and
hull contamination. Rice polish, though only manufactured in a few locations,
finds use in baby foods. Defatted bran use also is extremely limited, but a wide
variety of products exist,4 including specialty breads, a carrier for artificial
spices, a protein supplement and binder ingredient for meat and sausage
products, a raw material for production of hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, a
breakfast cereal and snack food ingredient, a tableting excipient, a source of
inositol, and an ingredient in pickles (6).
Stabilized rice bran finds limited use in rice flours and breakfast cereals in
the United States.
Numerous potential food uses for full-fat and defatted rice brans have been
well proven in laboratory tests but not yet in commercial practice. These

The author is indebted to Dr. J. Hunnell of Riviana Foods, Houston, for providing some of this

include bread, muffins, pancakes, cookies, pies, and cakes using raw or
stabilized full-fat bran (60,96,97). Protein concentrates from bran have been
extensively studied as ingredients in breads, beverages, pasta, and confections
(21,60). Levels of up to 10% tended to give satisfactory products from an
organoleptic viewpoint. Nutritionally, protein content was invariably increased.
Oil extracted from bran in Japan is refined and used as an edible oil.
Estimates on actual tonnage vary widely, though 10,000 MT per year seems
reasonable. In India, edible oil production from rice bran seems to vary widely
from year to year, with not less than 5000 MT per year being produced.

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Only in rare instances is rice germ separated from bran during the rice-milling
operation. This is the case in Spain and Egypt, where the germ commands a
premium price as a feed. It is believed that a very small quantity of purified
germ finds specialty food use in Japan. The merits of using rice germ as a food-
stuff have been thoroughly documented (6,123). Germ is rich in protein
(~25%), oil (~30%), and vitamins and trace minerals. It would seem wise to
devise and install germ separators for modern rice-milling operations; the
nutritional and economic returns appear to warrant such a move.


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Paul, Minn., 1972a.
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Washington, D.C., 1970.
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pp. 191-216.
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Manuals, ARM-W-12, 1980.
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Ed., AVI Publishing Co., Westport, Conn., 1980, pp. 790-862.
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Vienna Report ID/.WG.240/3, 1976.
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Marketing Research Report 1120, 1981.
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Valencia, Spain, Vol. IV, Rice Bran Utilization: Food and Feed, S. Barber and
E. Tortosa, Eds., Inst. Agric. Chem. Fd. Tech., Valencia, Spain, 1977, pp. 1-99.
13. H. G. R. Reddy, F. Gariboldi, and Y. Joko, "Report of the Expert Study Group on the
Rice Bran Oil Industry," ECAFE-AIDC, Bangkok, Thailand, 1970.
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Expert Study Group on Rice Processing Machinery," ECAFE-AIDC, Bangkok,
Thailand, 1971.
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R. Vega, J. Agric. Chem. Fd. Technol., 10:244 (1970).
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Paul, Minn., 1972, pp. 16-74.

17. S. N. Raghavendra Rao, T. K. Ananthachar, and H. S. R. Desikachar, J. Fd. Sci. Tech.
(Mysore), 2:115(1965).
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Conf. 1974," Valencia, Spain, Vol. IV, Rice Bran Utilization: Food and Feed,
S. Barber and E. Tortosa, Eds., Inst. Agric. Fd. Chem. Tech., Valencia, Spain, 1977.
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rahmanyam, UNIDO/FAO/ECAFE Seminar on Industrial Processing of Rice, Madras,
India, 1977.
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Chem., 43:145(1966).
21. R. M. Saunders, unpublished data (1974).
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