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


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 University of Sydney 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 keen 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.

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


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

Current projects

Australian Rice Partnership

Recent publications

Ward R. Spohr L and Snell P. (2019) Rice grain quality: an Australian multi-environment study. Crop and Pasture Science, 70 (11), 946-957. https://doi.org/10.1071/CP19194

Oli P, Adhikari B, Pallas L, Ward R and Torley P. (2019). Parboiling of Rice, In Advances in Science & Engineering of Rice, Ed: Pan Z and Khir R, 365-390.

Balindong J. Ward R, Rose T, Liu L, Raymond C, Snell P, Ovenden B and Waters D. (2018). Rice grain protein composition influences head rice yield. Cereal Chemistry, 95 (2), 253-263. https://doi.org/10.1002/cche.10031

Balindong J. Ward R, Liu L, Rose T, Pallas L, Ovenden B, Snell P and Waters D. (2017). Rice grain protein composition influences instrumental measures of rice cooking and eating quality. Journal of Cereal Science. 79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcs.2017.09.008

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

Balindong J, Liu L, Ward R, Barkla B and Waters, D. (2016). Optimisation and standardisation of extraction and HPLC analysis of rice grain protein. Journal of Cereal Science, 72, 124-130. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcs.2016.10.005

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. https://doi.org/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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2015.10.036

Oli P, Ward R, Adhikari B and Torley P. (2014). Parboiled rice: Understanding from a materials science approach, Journal of Food Engineering, 124,173–183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2013.09.010

Kam K, Arcot J and 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, 56 (3), 587–594. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcs.2012.08.010

Kam K, Murray JM, Arcot J and Ward R. (2012). Fortification of parboiled rice with folic acid: Consumer acceptance and sensory evaluation, Food Research International, 49 (1), 354–363. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2012.07.064

Kharabian-Masouleh A, Waters D, Reinke R, Ward R and Henry R. (2012). SNP in starch biosynthesis genes associated with nutritional and functional properties of rice, Scientific Reports, 2 (557), 557.1–557.9. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep00557

Ward R, Gao Q, de Bruyn H, Gilbert R and Fitzgerald M. (2006). Improved methods for the structural analysis of the amylose-rich fraction from rice flour, Biomacromolecules, 7 (3), 866–876. https://doi.org/10.1021/bm050617e

Castro J, Ward, R, Gilbert R and Fitzgerald M. (2005). Measurement of the molecular weight distribution of debranched starch, Biomacromolecules, 6 (4), 2260–2270. https://doi.org/10.1021/bm050041t

Fitzgerald M, Martin M, Ward R, Shead H and Park W. (2003). Viscosity of rice flour: A rheological and biological study, J. Agric. Food Chem, 51, 2295–2299. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf020574i

Contact details

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