Basmati ( _hi. बासमती, _ur. باسمتی) is a variety of long grain rice, famous for its fragrance and delicate flavour. Its name means "the fragrant one" in Sanskrit, but it can also mean the "soft rice." India and Pakistan are the largest cultivators and exporters of this rice - primarily grown through paddy field farming in the Punjab region.

The grains of basmati rice are longer than non-basmati varieties. Cooked grains of Basmati rice are characteristically free flowing rather than sticky. Cooked basmati rice can be uniquely identified by its fragrance. Basmati rice is available in two varieties - white rice and brown rice.


Basmati rice has a typical "pandan"-like ("Pandanus amaryllifolius" leaf) flavour caused by the aroma compound 2-acetyl-1-pyrrolinecite journal
author = S. Wongpornchai, T. Sriseadka, S. Choonvisase
year = 2003
title = Identification and quantitation of the rice aroma compound, 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, in bread flowers ("Vallaris glabra" Ktze)
journal = J. Agric. Food. Chem.
volume = 51
issue = 2
pages =457–462
location =
pmid = 12517110
doi = 10.1021/jf025856x
] .

Varieties and hybrids

A number of varieties of basmati rice exist. Traditional ones include Basmati-370, Basmati-385 and Basmati-Ranbirsinghpura(R.S.Pura), while hybrid basmati varieties include Pusa Basmati 1 (also called 'Todal', because the flower has awns). Fragrant rices that are derived from basmati stock but are not considered true basmati varieties include PB2 (also called sugandh-2), PB3 and RH-10.

Scientists at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Delhi took the traditional basmati and genetically modified it to produce a hybrid which had most of the good features of traditional basmati (grain elongation, fragrance, alkali content) and the plant was a semi-dwarf type. This basmati was called Pusa Basmati-1. PB1 crop yield is higher than the traditional varieties (up to twice as much).

List of approved varieties

Punjab, Kernel Basmati (Pakistan), Dehradun, Haryana, Super basmati, Kasturi(Baran,Rajasthan), Basmati 198, basmati 217, basmati 370, basmati 385, basmati 386, Bihar, Kasturi, Mahi Suganda, Pusa, Ranbir, Taraori. [] Some non-traditional aromatic crosses with basmati characteristics are marketed under a Sugandh designation. [] []

DNA markers thwart basmati adulteration

Basmati rice is a special type of aromatic rice known the world over for its extra long grains, and pleasant and distinct aroma. Traditional basmati rice is not only in demand in its domestic markets, but is also seen in the menu of connoisseurs world wide creating a billion-dollar export market. Authentic basmati rice cultivation is confined to the Indo-Gangetic plains of Pakistan and India. Consumer preference for the traditional basmati label not only brings along high returns but also receives duty exemption in some markets.

Evolved basmati varieties developed by breeders to adopt intensive cultivation fell short of quality traits of traditional basmati and hence fetch a lower price. In addition, the rice market also has relatively inferior non-aromatic long grain rice varieties. Difficulty in differentiating genuine traditional basmati from pretenders and the significant price difference between them has led fraudulent traders to adulterate traditional basmati. To protect the interests of consumers and trade, a PCR-based assay similar to DNA fingerprinting in humans allows for the detection of adulterated and non-basmati strains. Its detection limit for adulteration is from 1% upwards with an error rate of ±1.5%. Exporters of basmati rice use 'purity certificates' based on DNA tests for their basmati rice consignments. See Protocol [] and [] . Based on this protocol, which was developed at the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Labindia, an Indian company has released kits to detect basmati adulteration. []

Patent battle

In September 1997, a Texas company called RiceTec won a patent (U.S. Patent No. 5,663,484) on "basmati rice lines and grains." The patent secures lines of basmati and basmati-like rice and ways of analyzing that rice. RiceTec, owned by Prince Hans-Adam of Liechtenstein, faced international outrage over allegations of biopiracy. It had also caused a brief diplomatic crisis between India and United States with India threatening to take the matter to WTO as a violation of TRIPS which could have resulted in a major embarrassment for the United States. [ [ Basmati Case Study ] ] Both voluntarily and due to review decisions by the United States Patent Office, RiceTec has lost most of the claims of the patent, including, most importantly, the right to call their rice lines "basmati." This was a huge victory for Indian farmers who could have faced enormous economic losses from the patent.

List of exporters refused by FDA

* Evergreen Exports []
* Zafarani Reserve Basmati - coming from India also has been refused the entry by USFDA due filth and dirt

Glycemic index (GI)

According to the [ Canadian Diabetes Association] , basmati rice has a Medium glycemic index (GI) of between 56 and 69, thus making it more suitable for diabetics as compared to certain other grains and products made from white flour.

See also

* Ambemohar
* Domsiah
* Jasmine rice
* List of rice varieties
* "Oryza sativa"
* Pecan rice
* Wehani rice

External links

* [ What is Rice]
* [ FDA import warning]
* [ About patent dispute]
* []


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