Developing superior aromatic rice germplasm for Australia


Aromatic rice is highly prized by rice consumers globally, and countries that produce aromatic rice obtain high financial returns in the international rice market. Australia is a key participant in that market, therefore there is substantial potential value for Australia to be able to offer high quality aromatic rices. Moreover, 30% of the domestic market consumes jasminestyle aromatic rice, much of which is met by imports from Southeast Asia. This further justifies the need for the Australian rice industry to develop and market new, high quality aromatic varieties of rice. Aroma is defined by a number of volatile compounds that occur in the grain; the nature of these differs significantly between the Southeast Asian varieties and the basmati and sadhri varieties of South and Central Asia. Furthermore, the accumulation of volatile compounds is affected by growth and environmental conditions, in particular, drought and salinity are thought to be key drivers. This decade has borne witness to massive technological advances in metabolomics and mass spectrometry for detecting and identifying volatile compounds. This project will capitalise on concurrent projects of germplasm improvement and importation, and will combine previously developed physiological approaches to quantify how drought and salinity affect volatile compounds in rice grains, descriptive sensory analysis to determine the environmental effect of aroma and flavour of the rice, and metabolomic profiling to identify and quantify those volatile compounds in order to direct rice breeding and to develop growing strategies to enable Australian farmers to produce rice with high quality aroma and flavour.



Research Organisation

The University of Queensland

Objective Summary

The objectives of this project, using material from the NSW Rice Breeding program and that which has been imported into Australia under various projects, are to: 1: Characterise aromatic material in Yanco’s breeding program, and imported under CSE/2009/005 by sensory profiling and the new technique of GCxGCMS to determine the parental material that should be used to develop superior jasminestyle varieties; 2: Develop breeding targets for aroma by defining the compounds, in addition to 2AP, that define the aroma and flavour of the popular jasmine styles of rices using the new technology of GCxGC MS, and descriptive sensory profiling (including texture), and use this target list to screen breeding material from Yanco to enable selection for superior sensory properties; 3: Determine the effect of drought, salinity and climatic (tropical vs temperate) conditions on the volatile compounds in the parental material in order to determine variability in environmental effects on aroma and flavour; 4. Develop strategies to maximise the aromatic quality of rice based on water and salinity. The major outcomes will be: the provision of accurate information to shape breeding objectives for aroma, identify appropriate parents for crossing, accurate and sophisticated phenotypic data during the breeding, knowledge of the environmental effect on parent lines, and their stability and degree of response to environment, and this leading to development of late generation germplasm adapted to the Australian environment, carrying the traits of aromatic quality that are currently found in the jasmine styles of rice from Southeast Asia.

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Monday, July 15, 2013

Project Completion Date

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

An environmentally sustainable Australia

National Priority

Adoption of R&D

National Priority

RIC-Rice breeding - varieties and quality improvement