WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2010 — The latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) award-winning podcast series, “Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions,” focuses on the discovery that black rice — a little-known variety of the grain that is the staple food for one-third of the world’s population — may help soothe the inflammation involved in allergies, asthma and other diseases.
In the podcast, Mendel Friedman, Ph.D., and colleagues at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., describe results of a study published in ACS’ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. In previous research, the group identified several potential health benefits from eating black rice bran. Bran is the outer husk of the grain, which is removed during the processing of brown rice to produce the familiar white rice.
Those experiments, which were done in cell cultures, hinted that black rice bran suppressed the release of histamine, which causes inflammation. The new research involved giving black rice bran to laboratory mice. A diet consisting of 10 percent black rice bran reduced inflammation associated with allergic contact dermatitis, a common type of skin irritation.
Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions is a series of podcasts describing some of the 21st Century’s most daunting problems, and how cutting-edge research in chemistry matters in the quest for solutions. Global Challenges is the centerpiece in an alliance on sustainability between ACS and the Royal Society of Chemistry. Global Challenges is a sweeping panorama of dilemmas such as providing a hungry, thirsty world with ample supplies of safe food and clean water; developing alternatives to petroleum to fuel society; preserving the environment and assuring a sustainable future for our children; and improving human health.