Volatile Organic Compound Based Markers for the Aroma Trait of Rice Grain

  •  David Ocan    
  •  Zhang Rongrong    
  •  Martin Odoch    
  •  Ephraim Nuwamanya    
  •  Angele P. Ibanda    
  •  Thomas L. Odong    
  •  Jimmy Lamo    
  •  Anne M. Fitzgerald    
  •  Venea D. Daygon    
  •  Patrick R. Rubaihayo    


A study was conducted to determine the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with rice grain aroma in 37 commonly grown lines within Uganda, as well as elites. The aim of the study was to identify potential volatile biochemical markers, if any, for the rice grain aroma trait. Certified rice seeds were obtained from the Uganda National Crops Resources Research Institute germplasm collection. The seeds were sown into experimental plots, under field conditions and the mature paddy harvested. Polished rice grains were heated to 80 oC and the liberated VOCs subjected to untargeted metabolite analysis using gas chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry. In total, nine functional groups were present; hydrocarbons, alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, N-containing compounds, S-containing compounds, esters, oxygen heterocycles and carboxylic acids. More specifically, 148 VOCs were identified across the 37 rice lines, of which 48 (32.4%) including 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline (2-AP) appeared to elucidate the difference between non-aromatic and aromatic rice. Furthermore, 41 (27.7%) VOCs were found to be significantly correlated with 2-AP abundance, the principle rice aroma compound. Amongst the 41 VOCs, only ten compounds were found to contribute highly towards variation in 2-AP abundance, indicative of their possible modulation roles in regard to rice aroma. Within the ten influential volatiles, three aroma active compounds; toluene, 1-hexanol, 2-ethyl and heptane, 2,2,4,6,6-pentamethyl- were established as the most reliable biochemical surrogates to the rice aroma trait. Thus, the aforementioned compounds may be used in rice breeding programme for enhancing development of the grain aroma trait.

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