Rice protein-based infant formula: current status and future development.
Rice is the world's leading staple cereal food and is the major source of protein for many parts of the world. Rice is among the first solid foods fed to infants in many cultures, in part because of its hypoallergenicity from lack of gluten. Nutritional quality of rice protein compares favorably with other cereal proteins including wheat, oat and barley. It is rich in methionine and cystine, although as is the case for other cereals, it is an incomplete protein source for human infants with lysine and threonine being the primary limiting amino acids. Fortification of rice proteins with these two limiting amino acids improves its protein quality. Rice protein-based infant formulas (RPF) were initially based on high protein rice flours, but more recently are based on rice protein concentrates, isolates or hydrolysates, fortified with lysine and threonine. Hypoallergenicity efficacy, particularly for hydrolyzed rice protein-based formulas, has been reported, and limited data indicated that rice protein based infant formula may provide potentially adequate alternative if standard milk- or soy protein-based formulas are not tolerated. Unlike the rice-protein based infant formula, rice beverage formulas made from rice flour are nutritionally inadequate for infants. Reports have indicated stunted growth in infants/children fed rice beverage formulas. Future development for the RPF include those based on genetically improved rice with high lysine and threonine content, supplementation with appropriate mineral and fat blend, and long-term clinical studies in infants to confirm its efficacy and safety.
Minerva Pediatr - 2007 Feb - 59(1):35-41.