We investigated 321 varieties to identify the aleurone traits that are closely related to the lipid content of rice. Brown rice seeds were cut crosswise near the center with a razor blade and the cut surface was stained with Oil Red O, and then observed under integrated fluorescence microscope (BZ9000). We found wide variations among varieties in the area stained, but the japonica group contained many varieties with a large stained area. We selected 17 representative varieties covering the whole range of stained areas and confirmed the thickness of aleurone layer using Kawamoto's film method (micro-thin sections that were created with cryomicrotome). Aleurone traits were examined under a light microscope and measured. We found a strong correlation between the area of the aleurone layer and the stained area (r = 0.799***) and between the thickness of the aleurone layer and the thickness of the stained region (r = 0.543*). The area of the stained region therefore provides a fast and effective indicator for selecting varieties for the thickness of the aleurone layer. We also measured the amount (mg per 100 seeds) and proportion of triacylglycerols (TAGs) to 1 g of seed (mg g-1) in brown rice seeds without embryos. The amount and proportion of TAG to 1 g of seed were both significantly correlated with the area, average thickness and percentage of aleurone layer. This suggests that the aleurone traits will be good indicators for the selection of varieties with high levels of TAG.
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