India is the second largest producer of rice in the world and has the high potential to produce rice bran oil (RBO), a by-product of the rice milling industry. Since RBO is, an unconventional oil, the chemical composition, nutrient evaluation and toxicological safety were assessed. The fatty acid composition RBO is very close to that of groundnut oil (GNO). Though RBO has high unsaponifiable matter (4.2%), it is rich In minor constituents such as phytosterols, triterpene alcohols, tocopherols and tocotrienols. Experimental as well as human studies have demonstrated the hypolipidaemic effects of RBO. Further, It was established that minor constituents present in unsaponifiable fraction of RBO were responsible for its hypolipidaemic effects. Nutritional evaluation studies, carried out with 10 per cent RBO and 20 per cent protein, indicated that growth, feed efficiency and mineral balance were comparable to GNO-fed animals. Toxicological studies had shown that there were no abnormalities In animals fed either RBO or GNO. The reproductive performance was also found to be normal as compared with that of GNO-fed animals in all three generations. In addition, neither RBO nor the foods deepfried in it showed any mutagenicity as judged by Ames test. In view of its safety and hypolipidaemic activity, RBO could be considered as an alternative source of edible oil.
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