HÀ NỘI — Two chemical compounds, Momilactone A and Momilactone B (MA and MB), that can prevent diabetes, obesity and gout through their ability to inhibit enzymes relating to the diseases, have been found in white rice grown in the central province of Quảng Trị, scientists have announced.
Research by Associate Professor and Dr Trần Đăng Xuân, head of the Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry in Japan’s Hiroshima University, found the MA and MB compounds in Ong Biển organic rice grown in Quảng Trị Province under schemes and technology provided by Đại Nam Ong Biển Group Joint Stock Company based in the south-central province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu.
The content of the two compounds in Ong Biển organic rice is 100 times higher than those found in other varieties of rice.
Their study revealed that the compounds played an active role in the diabetes inhibitory potential of rice bran.
MA and MB compounds are very rare and have not been fully studied for biological and pharmacological activities. The compound was sold at US$125 per 0.1 mg on carbosynth.com, a company that sells famous biochemical products.
Xuân said that the MA and MB compounds were about as 30,000 times more precious than gold and that “the discovery of the two compounds in white rice created a breakthrough in the world’s plant physiology, especially rice.”
Some studies have previously found rice to have compounds that inhibit diabetes, but only in brown or red rice, which are often of poor quality and difficult to consume.
“Today, people tend to have less rice in their diet because rice contains starch which causes obesity and diabetes. However, with high content of MA and MB, Ong Biển organic rice can help prevent the disease,” Xuân said.
Several recent reports indicate that there are more than 3 million people in Việt Nam suffering from or at risk of diabetes, so the results of this study are particularly significant.
Việt Nam's Health Ministry and relevant agencies have not yet commented or verified the claims – including the rice's nutrition values, its content of MA and MB and its anti-diabetics ability.
Trần Ngọc Nam, Director General of Đại Nam Trade and Production Ltd Company said that since 2016, the company co-operated with Quảng Trị Province’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department to grow the variety.
Under their co-operation programme, rice was watered and fertilised with only organic fertilisers made by the company. No other plant protection product or chemical fertiliser was used for the rice.
The rice is now grown on a total area of about 200 ha in Quảng Trị Province, generating stable income of VNĐ30-40 million per hectare for farmers, according to Nam.
The rice is available in supermarkets across Việt Nam branded Ong Biển Organic rice or Quảng Trị organic rice. — VNS
Ong Biển organic rice is grown in Vĩnh Thuỷ Commune, Vĩnh Linh District in the central province of Quảng Trị. — VNS Photo Lê An