Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fe shows what your nose knows

How do you differentiate fresh from stored rice? Without the complex technological platforms used in metabolomics, the best instrument is still the NOSE. It, for example, can differentiate between jasmine and basmati, two forms of aromatic rice.

Basmati rice, usually eaten after a year in storage, is preferred mostly by South Asians; jasmine rice, eaten soon after harvest, is preferred mostly by Southeast Asians. Both types of rice contain the same aromatic compound but they have their own distinctive smell.

At the IRRI Seminar on June 10, Fe discussed the aroma profiles of jasmine and basmati varieties. Aside from the main aromatic compound, hundreds more contributed to the distinct aromas of the two rice types. These differences are detected by the human nose.