WARD, Rachelle

Rachelle Ward

Research interests

  • Understanding drivers of slow digestibility of rice
  • Investigating the impact of environment on rice grain quality
  • Understanding the role proteins play in grain quality
  • Exploring quinoa as an emerging industry


Dr Rachelle Ward joined NSW DPI as a Technical Officer in 2001 and since 2008 has acted as the rice cereal chemist after graduating from USyd in 2008.

Her PhD was conducted at NSW DPI, the University of Sydney and IRRI and focused on the stability of amylose content and structure when rice is exposed to elevated temperature and carbon dioxide levels during the grain-filling period.

As a cereal chemist, Rachelle contributes to the Australian Rice Partnership and a range of associated ancillary projects. She strives to improve the scope and understanding of grain quality analyses that reflect consumer and industry needs.

Rachelle has a particular interest in the impact of abiotic stress on grain quality, contribution of proteins to grain-cracking and texture and understanding the phenotype that results in slower digestibility.

More recently Rachelle has been exploring the potential of quinoa as an emerging crop in eastern Australia.

Rachelle enjoys engaging with a range of university and industry partners to ensure research outcomes remain relevant to the Australian Rice Partnership goals.

*NSW Department of Primary Industries was formed on July 1, 2004 through an amalgamation of NSW Agriculture, NSW Fisheries, State Forests of NSW and the NSW Department of Mineral Resources.


  • B.Sc. (Hons) – The University of Sydney 1998
  • PhD – The University of Sydney 2007

Current projects

Australian Rice Partnership

Recent publications

Ward R, (2016), Quality parameters and testing methods in rice cultivation, In Achieving sustainable cultivation of rice, Ed: Sasaki, T, Chapter 34 ttp://dx.doi.org/10.19103/AS.2016.0003.34

Balindong, J., Liu L., Ward, R., Barkla, B. and Waters, D.L.E. 2016. Optimisation and standardisation of extraction and HPLC analysis of rice grain protein. Journal of Cereal Science, 72, 124-130

Oli P, Ward R, Adhikari B, Mawson A, Adhikari R, Wess T, Pallas L, Spiers, K, Paterson, D and Torley, P (2016) Synchrotron X-ray Fluorescence Microscopy study of the diffusion of iron, manganese, potassium and zinc in parboiled rice kernels. LWT-FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 71, 138-148 doi: 10.1016/j.lwt.2016.03.034

Oli P, Ward R, Adhikari B and Torley P (2016) Colour change in rice during hydration: Effect of hull and bran layers JOURNAL OF FOOD ENGINEERING 173, 49-58 , doi: 10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2015.10.036

Oli P, Ward R, Adhikari B & Torley P 2014, ‘Parboiled rice: Understanding from a materials science approach’, Journal of Food Engineering, vol. 124, pp. 173–183;doi:10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2013.09.010.

Kam K, Arcot J & Ward R 2012, ‘Fortification of rice with folic acid using the parboiling technique: Effect of parboiling conditions on nutrient uptake and physical characteristics of milled rice’, Journal of Cereal Science, vol. 56, pp. 587–594; doi:10.1016/j.jcs.2012.08.010.

Kam K, Murray JM, Arcot J & Ward R 2012, ‘Fortification of parboiled rice with folic acid: Consumer acceptance and sensory evaluation’, Food Research International, vol. 49, no. 1,
pp. 354–363; doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2012.07.064.

Kharabian-Masouleh A, Waters DLE, Reinke RF, Ward R, Henry RJ 2012, ‘SNP in starch biosynthesis genes associated with nutritional and functional properties of rice’, Scientific Reports, vol. 2, no. 557, pp. 557.1–557.9. doi:10.1038/srep00557.

Ward, R, Martin, M 2009, ‘Rice cereal quality’, Primefact 908, NSW DPI.

Ward, R, Gao, Q, de Bruyn, H, Gilbert, R & Fitzgerald, M 2006, ‘Improved methods for the structural analysis of the amylose-rich fraction from rice flour’, Biomacromolecules, vol. 7, no. 3,  pp. 866–876.

Castro, J, Ward, R, Gilbert, R & Fitzgerald, M 2005, ‘Measurement of the molecular weight distribution of debranched starch’, Biomacromolecules, vol. 6, pp. 2260–2270.

Fitzgerald, M, Martin, M, Ward, R, Shead, H & Park, W 2003, ‘Viscosity of rice flour: A rheological and biological study’, J. Agric. Food Chem, vol. 51, pp. 2295–2299.

Contact details

Email: rachelle.ward@dpi.nsw.gov.au
Location: Yanco Agricultural Institute