ARoma17 gives growers, foodies a domestic alternative for high-yielding fragrant rice

The Problem: 

As U.S. consumers continue to explore world cuisines, many have developed a taste for the fragrant jasmine-type rice used in many southern Asian dishes. However, Arkansas, the leading rice growing station in the nation, doesn’t have a climate that favors growth of Thai jasmine rice. Karen Moldenhauer and Debra Ahrent Wisdom, rice breeding team members with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, set out to breed an aromatic rice that could thrive in the Natural State.


The Research

ARoma17 was developed from a cross made in 2009 at the Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart. Jazzman, a Louisiana aromatic variety, was crossed with PI 597046, which is a germplasm donated to the USDA Plant Introduction and Research Program by the International Rice Research Institute in 1994. The resulting cross was selected for advancement toward commercial release in 2012.

Over four years in the Arkansas Rice Performance Trials, ARoma17 averaged 163 bushels per acre and recorded 173 bushels per acre in the 2014 trials. Its four-year average yield in the multi-state Uniform Regional Rice Nursery was 172 bushels per acre.

ARoma17 is moderately susceptible to blast and sheath blight, moderately resistant to panicle blight and under high rates of nitrogen fertilization, is susceptible to false smut.

Breeder and foundation seed for ARoma17 is maintained by the Division of Agriculture’s Foundation Seed Program at the Rice Research and Extension Center.


The Bottom Line

ARoma17 fills a market niche for consumers who enjoy jasmine-type aromatic rice and Arkansas consumers can now enjoy one that’s grown in Arkansas.


The Researcher

Karen Moldenhauer

Karen Moldenhauer

Professor and rice breeder
Department of crop soils and environmental science and Arkansas Rice Industry Chair in Variety Development.

Moldenhauer earned a B.S. in biology from Iowa State University; a master’s in plant breeding from North Carolina State University and returned to Iowa State to earn her Ph.D. in plant breeding.

Debra Ahrent Wisdom

Assistant aromatic rice breeder
Division of Agriculture

Debra earned her B.S. in agriculture business at Southeastern Missouri State and a master’s of science in plant breeding from the University of Arkansas.