Rice represents the main source of calorie intake in many world countries and about 60% of the world population include rice in their staple diet. Whole grain rice, also called brown rice, represent the unpolished version of the more common white rice including bran, germ, and endosperm. Many health-promoting properties have been associated to the consumption of whole grain rice and, for this reason, great attention has been paid by the scientific community towards the identification and the quantification of bioactive compounds in this food item. In this contribution, the last five years progresses in the quali-quantitative determination of phenolic compounds in rice have been highlighted. Special attention has been devoted to the most recent strategies for the extraction of the target compounds from rice along with the analytical approaches adopted for the separation, identification and quantification of phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins. More specifically, the main features of the “traditional” extraction methods (i.e., maceration, ultrasound-assisted extraction) have been described, as well as the more innovative protocols involving advanced extraction techniques, such as MAE (microwave-assisted extraction). The predominant role of HPLC in the definition of the phenolic profile has been examined also presenting the most recent results obtained by using mass spectrometry-based detection systems. In addition, the most common procedures aimed to the quantification of the total amount of the cited classes of phenolic compounds have been described together with the spectrophotometric protocols aimed to the evaluation of the antioxidant properties of rice phenolic extracts (i.e., FRAP, DPPH, ABTS and ORAC).
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