analysis of rice biomarkersAfter Paul Dewsbury’s informative and educational blog post, ICP-MS Arsenic Speciation in Rice: The Media and The Science, (link to post), I came across a recently released application for the identification and quantitation of biomarkers in rice for improving crossbreeding that I found fascinating for several reasons. One is because rice is one of my favorite foods in all its forms ranging from simple steamed rice to complex South Asian biryanis and I enjoy it in pretty much any cuisine that I have encountered it; second, the importance of rice as a nutritional source for humans; and third, the application itself.

Our researchers collaborated with the scientists at the International Rice Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines,to develop a reliabletriple quadrupole gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS/MS) method for identifying biomarkers for the characterization of rice samples. This research has direct and important impact on the future rice supply for the growing world population and can target rice biomarkers which code for phenotypes such as salinity, drought and climate change, and water tolerance, nutritional value, flavor and cooking properties for crossbreeding to develop new varieties.

By the way, the IRRI is a non-profit focused on improving rice farming, sustainability, and erradication of world hunger and Sam’s rice price and market blog on the site provides for useful and fascinating reading. You might also be interested in reading this article, titled, A bigger rice bowl, (link to article), published in The Economist on the green revolution happening in rice growing.

Application Note 10419, Metabolomics of Rice Genotypes using GC-MS/MS, (downloadable PDF), describes, in detail, the two-phase metabolomics workflow in which Phase I is the discovery of compounds present as untargeted profiling, followed by the targeted Phase II, which quantitates the compounds identified in Phase I. The method was developed on 12 derivatized rice extracts on one of latest GC-MS/MS system (Thermo ScientificTM TSQTM 8000 triple quadrupole GC-MS/MS system) was equipped with an autosampler (Thermo Scientific TriPlus RSH autosampler),an SSL Instant Connect SSL module, and selected reaction monitoring (SRM) software (downloadable PDF on software).

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The method was completed in less than 24 hours with the identification of 66 metabolites in the rice samples, including amino, organic and fatty acids, alcohols, and sugars.

In conclusion, the researchers say: “All metabolites investigated varied significantly among rice samples and therefore have potential for use as biomarkers for the characterization of diverse rice accessions. This work forms an excellent basis for future studies to tap in the value of diversity to improve grain quality and nutritional value of rice in the larger panels.”

Additional Resources

Do check out a previous blog post on: GC-MS/MS Workflows for Metabolomics Experiments, (link to post), which shares an application note and an on-demand webinar on the development of an optimized workflow for metabolite screening and targeted analysis, including sample preparation automation, automated GC-MS method development and various tools for data processing.