Two chemical compounds, Momilactone A and Momilactone B (MA and MB), have been found in white rice grown in Quang Tri.
Research by Associate Professor and Dr Tran Dang Xuan, head of the Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry in Japan’s Hiroshima University, found the MA and MB compounds, that can prevent diabetes, obesity and gout through their ability to inhibit enzymes relating to the diseases, in Ong Bien organic rice grown in Quang Tri Province under schemes and technology provided by Dai Nam Ong Bien Group Joint Stock Company based in the south-central province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
The content of the two compounds in Ong Bien 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.
Xuan 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 Bien organic rice can help prevent the disease,” Xuan said.
Several recent reports indicate that there are more than 3 million people in Vietnam suffering from or at risk of diabetes, so the results of this study are particularly significant.
Vietnam’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.
Tran Ngoc Nam, Director General of Dai Nam Trade and Production Ltd Company said that since 2016, the company co-operated with Quang Tri 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 Quang Tri Province, generating stable income of VND30-40 million per hectare for farmers, according to Nam.
The rice is available in supermarkets across Vietnam branded Ong Bien Organic rice or Quang Tri organic rice.