Jazzman Rice

Linda Benedict, Sha, Xueyan, Linscombe, Steven D.  |  9/21/2011 7:45:36 PM

Development of a Jasmine-Type Variety for the Southern United States
Xueyan Sha and Steven D. Linscombe

The United States is one of the largest rice exporters in the world with about half its annual production going overseas. Meanwhile, about 12 percent of domestic rice consumption comes from imports, and the majority of those are Jasmine rice from Thailand and Vietnam. To gain a share of the fast-growing, high-value niche market for aromatic rice, LSU AgCenter rice breeders began the development of a Jasmine-like rice that could be successfully grown in Louisiana and other Southern states. This is the story of the development of Jazzman, which released by the AgCenter in 2009, and Jazzman-2, which was released by the AgCenter in 2011.

Most commercial Thai Jasmine rice is produced with two varieties, Khao Dawk Mali 105 (KDML 105) and RD- 15. KDML 105 is a tall long-grain rice susceptible to lodging. It is photoperiod- sensitive, which means it flowers only under short daylength. RD-15 is a mutant variety derived from KDM 105, with improved yield and lodging resistance, less photoperiod sensitivity, and slightly inferior cooking and aromatic characteristics compared with its parent variety. Neither variety is available to U.S. rice growers nor adapted to U.S. growing conditions.

In 1989, the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, released Jasmine 85, which was developed at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. It was the only Jasmine variety available in the southern United States. Since then, it has been grown on limited acreage because of its inferior specialty attributes, which include off-white grain color, weak aroma, weak flavor, creamy grain appearance, and the undesirable characteristics of poor and unstable milling yield, rough leaf and sheath, and strong seed dormancy, which means seeds cannot germinate for extended periods after harvest either in storage or in the field. Development of improved Jasmine-type rice varieties adapted to southern U.S. environmental conditions will help the Louisiana rice industry capture a sizable portion, both domestic and international, of the aromatic rice market.

Breeding for commercially viable Jasmine-type rice varieties is far more complicated and difficult than breeding for conventional rice varieties. Typical Jasmine rice has a strong popcorn-like aroma and translucent, slender kernels, an amylose content of 15 to 18 percent and alkali spreading value of 6 to 7, and soft-cooking characteristics. Such specialty characteristics are always placed at the same priority as grain and milling yield. Furthermore, most of them can only be evaluated in the laboratory by sophisticated instruments and trained sensory panels, which also require large amounts of seed. This added complexity demands a larger breeding population and a longer testing time. Unfortunately, because of limited resources, only a fraction of AgCenter rice breeding efforts can be devoted to breeding for Jasmine type rice varieties. This left one option – a small but productive Jasmine-type rice breeding program.

Development of Jazzman

To ensure success, a number of approaches were proposed, tested and applied. These included:

Development of a simple but reliable aroma detection method that can handle a large number of small samples in a timely manner and the intensive or rigorous selection for specialty traits, such as aroma and grain appearance, in the early and mid generations.

  • Pre-breeding germplasm through stepwise improvement of specialty and agronomic traits. 
  • Generation of well-planned recombinant populations among parents that only differ in a few traits. 
  • Extensive use of the AgCenter’ Puerto Rican winter nursery, which is shared with five other U.S. ricebreeding programs (Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas and the U.S. Department of Agriculture), to expedite the breeding efforts. 
  • All of these accumulative measures led to the development and release of the first U.S.-bred, Jasmine-type rice variety –Jazzman –in 2009. Two years later, Jazzman-2 was released for commercial production, with improved specialty profiles. To meet further demands, a number of additional experimental lines with the improvement on grain yield, specialty characteristics and resistance to the Newpath herbicide are in the pipeline and expected to be released in the near future.

Jazzman is a high-yielding, conventional height, Jasmine-type aromatic, long-grain rice with very good milling and excellent grain quality. Jazzman was developed through cross-breeding and modified pedigree selection from the cross 96 a-8/Ahrent made in 1996. Ahrent is a long-grain rice variety of conventional height developed in Arkansas, while 96 a-8 is an unreleased long-grain aromatic rice line with Jasmine-type cooking quality introduced from China.

Jazzman was initiated in the breeding nursery at the Rice Research Station in Crowley in 2002. It was evaluated in the preliminary yield nursery in 2003 and entered into the Cooperative Uniform Regional Rice Nurseries in Puerto Rico in 2004 with the permanent designation RU0402125. Jazzman averaged 40 inches in height in yield tests across Louisiana compared with 37 and 39 inches for Cypress and Dellrose, respectively.

Jazzman is similar in maturity to Cypress but later than Dellrose. The average number of days from emergence to 50 percent heading is 87 for both Jazzman and Cypress and 85 for Dellrose. The grain is aromatic. Jazzman is moderately susceptible to rice sheath blight, bacterial panicle blight and straighthead disorder, and moderately resistant to blast.

Jazzman has the typical Jasmine cooking quality with low amylose content and low gelatinization temperature, which means the cooked rice is soft and sticky. The milled Jazzman rice is similar to the Thai Jasmine rice in grain dimension and slenderness. Jazzman also has similar physicochemical properties and cooking qualities as the Thai Jasmine rice. Jazzman has a fairly strong aroma, and the cooked rice has a glossy and moist appearance, a soft texture and a flowery sweet flavor.
Development of Jazzman-2

Jazzman-2 is a semidwarf, earlymaturing, Jasmine-type aromatic long-grain rice with good grain and milling yields and excellent grain quality. It was selected from a 2003 cross 0302195/0302125. The female parent 0302195 is an unreleased Louisiana conventional long-grain line with the pedigree of 9502008//Katy/902207x2, while 0302125 is an unreleased Louisiana Jasmine-type aromatic rice line with the pedigree of Jasmine 85/Della//Leah/ Della.

Jazzman-2 originated in the winter nursery in Puerto Rico in spring 2006. It was evaluated in the preliminary yield test the Rice Research Station in summer 2006 and 2007 before it was tested in 2008 with the permanent designation RU0802149. Jazzman-2 averaged averaged 36 inches in height in yield tests across Louisiana compared with 36 for Cheniere and 39 for Jazzman. Jazzman-2 matures earlier than both Cheniere and Jazzman. The average number of days from emergence to 50 percent heading is 83 for Jazzman-2, 86 for Cheniere and 87 for Jazzman.

Jazzman-2 has typical Jasmine cooking quality with low amylose content, low gelatinization temperature and a very strong aroma. The average amylose content of LA2149 is 15.1 percent compared with 15.6 for Jazzman and 24.3 for Cheniere. The average alkali spread value of Jazzman-2 is 6.0 compared to 6.3 for Jazzman and 4.7 for Cheniere. Jazzman-2 is susceptible to rice sheath blight, bacterial panicle blight and straighthead disorder, but moderately resistant to blast.


Assisted by aggressive marketing by distributors and processers like Hoppe Farms, Jazzmen Rice LLC, Louisiana Rice Mill and Falcon Rice Mill, the acreage of Jazzman rice has increased rapidly since the initial release in 2009. Because most Louisiana rice fields are infested by noxious red rice, such rapid acreage expansion will inevitably lead to Jazzman rice being grown in red riceinfested fields. To maintain the pure and premium quality of Jazzman rice, work started in 2009 to breed a herbicide-resistant Jazzman variety by incorporating the AgCenter-invented Clearfield trait into Jazzman varieties through molecular marker-assisted backcrossing and selection. By combining Jazzman varieties with Clearfield technology, the purity of Jazzman rice should be enhanced.

Research is under way for the further enhancement of specialty attributes such as aroma, whiteness, cooked rice texture and kernel slenderness, which will improve Jazzman competitiveness over imported Thai Jasmine rice. Further improvement of yield potential is also essential for further expansion of Jazzman-type rice production in Louisiana and the southern United States. Successful development of Jazzman rice can potentially decrease imports as well as increase exports.

Xueyan Sha, Associate Professor, and Steven D. Linscombe, American Cyanamid Professor in Plant Genetics/Breeding/Biotechnology, Rice Research Station, Crowley, La.

(This article was published in the summer 2011 issue of Louisiana Agriculture magazine.)

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