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Potential New Medium Grain Variety
Breeders are optimistic following performance of LA2162

By Dr. Brooks Blanche
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In 2009, medium grain rice acreage increased dramatically compared to recent years. Strong demand and lower medium grain stocks resulted in higher prices compared to the historical average. As a result, many growers produced more medium grain than usual, and some producers may have grown medium grain rice for the first time.

Researchers at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station have developed new experimental medium grain lines that exhibit many good agronomic, yield and cooking characteristics. One line in particular, LA2162 (URN 065), has been closely evaluated for three years in the Commercial Advanced Yield Trial conducted across the Louisiana rice-growing regions.

  Efforts to enhance grain
protein content
 

New emerging rice-based products, such as rice milk, high-protein rice flour and rice whole grain cereals, are examples of potential markets that emphasize the nutritional quality of rice. A rich source of natural dietary energy, rice is also a good source of thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. Non-milled (brown) rice contains a significant amount of dietary fiber. Rice bran is a natural source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, specific oils and some disease-fighting phytochemicals.

The Biotechnology Laboratory at the Rice Research Station in Crowley, La., has analyzed more than 2,000 new lines developed from Louisiana varieties and germplasm lines. Crude protein content as high as 14.51 percent was found among new entries derived from Cocodrie. The highest protein content found among new entries derived from Cypress was 14.2 percent. Typical protein content in the varieties Cocodrie and Cypress are between seven percent and 8.5 percent.

We have recovered 183 lines developed from Cypress with protein content ranging from 10.5 to 14.2 percent. Seventeen lines have protein content of 12.5 to 14.2 percent, 72 lines have protein content of 11.5 to 12.4 percent, and 94 lines have protein content of 10.5 and 11.4 percent. Seventy-nine lines developed from Cocodrie have protein content between 10.5 and 14.5 percent. Among these, 16 lines have protein content of 12.5 to 14.5 percent, 23 lines have 11.5 to 12.4 percent and 40 lines show protein content of 10.5 to 11.4 percent. Lines with an average protein content of more than 10.5 percent will be advanced.

High protein research has also focused on determining the stability of the trait across growing seasons. Important production traits, including yield, plant height, milling quality, grain quality, length of time from seeding to maturity, resistance to lodging and seedling vigor are a part of selection criteria to advance high protein lines. In addition to the stability of high protein traits across different growing seasons, studies are being conducted to evaluate variation for this trait within rows and among panicles.

Improved protein content provides a foundation for producing high nutritive value varieties that could potentially be used to support functional food. As personalized nutrition (nutrigenomics) becomes more common as a result of scientific and technological advances in the field of health and nutrition, improved nutritional values will be needed. – Dr. Ida Wenefrida is Assistant Professor, Research, LSU AgCenter, iwenefrida@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Yield potential and milling quality
LA2162 was developed from a cross made in 1999 and contains Bengal, Mercury and Rico in its pedigree. It is a very early, conventional, semidwarf variety with excellent resistance to lodging similar to Neptune. LA2162 typically reaches 50 percent heading approximately one to three days before Neptune and Jupiter.

The grain yield potential of LA2162 is slightly higher than Jupiter and substantially higher than Neptune and Bengal. In 19 trials conducted in Louisiana, the average yield of LA2162 was 8,076 lb/acre, compared to 7,438, 7,675 and 7,904 lb/acre for Bengal, Neptune and Jupiter, respectively. Limited data has indicated that LA2162 has improved ratoon potential, similar to Neptune and higher than traditional medium grain varieties.

In addition to excellent yield potential, it has also exhibited good milling quality in all of our trials. Head and total rice milling yields for LA2162 have averaged 62.9:68.9 percent compared to 63.3:68.6 percent, 65.9:70.0 percent and 61.9:68.0 percent for Bengal, Neptune and Jupiter, respectively. The grain characteristics of LA2162 are within U.S. medium grain classifications, and it appears to have a larger grain than any other medium grain currently being produced.

LA2162: Grain size and shape
Large, bold grains are generally preferred by medium grain processors. Milled rice grain sizes, measured as the weight in grams of 1,000 grains, were 10.64, 10.26, 10.10 and 8.84 for LA2162, Bengal, Neptune and Jupiter, respectively. Furthermore, it appears to have good uniformity for grain size and shape. LA2162 has good medium grain quality and cooking characteristics with an apparent amylose content of 12.3 percent and a low gelatinization temperature. The grain also has a good translucent appearance.

We have planted a seed increase of LA2162 at the Puerto Rico nursery to evaluate purity and potentially provide seed for a larger seed increase in 2010. LA2162 can provide rice producers with a medium grain variety that has excellent yield potential, good milling quality and excellent grain characteristics.

We will continue to evaluate this experimental line to determine if it has a fit among the current medium grain varieties.

Dr. Brooks Blanche is Assistant Professor, Rice Breeding, Rice Research Station, LSU AgCenter, sblanche@agcenter.lsu.edu.

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