Brown rice (BR) is healthier than white rice. A simple germination process can even more enhance the health-promoting properties of BR.
The study, Development and Evaluation of Functional Beverage with Germinated Brown Rice as Base Ingredient by Rodel Bulatao, Jody Chaves, and Dr. Marissa Romero from the Rice Chemistry and Food Science Division proved that germination can make the healthy BR more nutritious. The study was the Grand Slam Winner of the Gold AFMA Best R&D Paper and Best R&D Poster Awards during the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) 26th National Research Symposium.
During the conference, Romero presented the nutrient composition and properties of germinated brown rice (GBR) from white and pigmented rice varieties. They also studied the utilization of GBR in the development of a healthy and tasty cow’s milk-based beverages. From this, they developed a commercially-ready functional (health-enriched) beverage with buffalo`s milk, and determined its nutritional content, shelf-life, and storage stability.
“We know that brown rice is nutritionally superior than white or milled rice. Yet, drawbacks on its cooking time and texture discourage the public to consume it. And so we thought of germinating it to help address these concerns,” Bulatao said.
Previous studies confirmed that germination improves the cooking, eating, and nutritional qualities of brown rice.
“We found out that GBR from pigmented rice has better phytochemical, antioxidant, and functional properties than GBR from white rice varieties. It also has higher protein (8.5-9.5%), fiber (0.7-1.0%), fat (3.0-3.1%), and ash (1.5-2.1%),” Romero said.
Romero explained that germination of BR is very simple. The raw BR is soaked in water for 12 hours, drained, and then wrapped in cheesecloth for 24 hours. The resulting GBR is cooked and can then be used as alternative to white rice or as an ingredient in food products.
GBR from different varieties were used in the development of beverages with cow`s milk. Based on sensory evaluation, the beverage with germinated black rice obtained the highest scores for aroma, flavor, sweetness, and overall acceptability. Consumers also ranked it as the most preferred and acceptable among all the samples.
“For the commercial production of the beverage, we decided to use germinated black rice and buffalo`s milk instead,” Romero explained.
The product which the team calls Nutri Rice Milk is a good source of protein, fiber, iron, and calcium. It can last up to 10 days at refrigerated temperature. With the help of the Philippine Carabao Center, Nutri Rice Milk is now commercially available.
“With the increased incidence of chronic lifestyle diseases which are related to unhealthy dietary intake, we believe that it is an opportune time to offer GBR and pigmented rice to Filipinos for them to enjoy their enormous health-promoting properties,” Romero said.