The quality of rice in terms not only of its nutritional value but also in terms of its aroma and flavour is becoming increasingly important in modern rice breeding where global targets are focused on both yield stability and grain quality. In the present paper we have exploited advanced, multi-platform metabolomics approaches to determine the biochemical differences in 31 rice varieties from a diverse range of genetic backgrounds and origin. All were grown under the specific local conditions for which they have been bred and all aspects of varietal identification and sample purity have been guaranteed by local experts from each country. Metabolomics analyses using 6 platforms have revealed the extent of biochemical differences (and similarities) between the chosen rice genotypes. Comparison of fragrant rice varieties showed a difference in the metabolic profiles of jasmine and basmati varieties. However with no consistent separation of the germplasm class. Storage of grains had a significant effect on the metabolome of both basmati and jasmine rice varieties but changes were different for the two rice types. This shows how metabolic changes may help prove a causal relationship with developing good quality in basmati rice or incurring quality loss in jasmine rice in aged grains. Such metabolomics approaches are leading to hypotheses on the potential links between grain quality attributes, biochemical composition and genotype in the context of breeding for improvement. With this knowledge we shall establish a stronger, evidence-based foundation upon which to build targeted strategies to support breeders in their quest for improved rice varieties.
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