Sphingolipid properties in sake rice cultivars and changes during polishing and brewing

Shinji Yamashita, Chisato Higaki, Asuka Kanai, Nobuhiro Kikuchi, Daisuke Suzuki, Mikio Kinoshita, Teruo Miyazawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Sphingolipids, including ceramide (Cer) and glucosylceramide (GlcCer), have the characteristic structural units called sphingoid bases, and are constituents of cell and vacuole membranes. Plant sphingolipids bear highly diverse base structures and the base composition differs depending on the plant species. It is thought that the composition of sphingolipid classes and sphingoid bases is related to membrane fractions. However, there is little information about differences in sphingolipids among plant cultivars and the changes occurring in sphingolipids during food processing. This study investigated sphingolipids in sake rice (saka-mai) cultivars grown for sake (rice wine), and the changes in sphingolipids during polishing and brewing. In six brown rice samples, there were no large differences of the base composition among Cer or GlcCer of cultivars, whereas there were differences in their sphingolipid contents. When compared to brown rice, highly polished rice contained lower levels of sphingolipids, especially Cer. For three rice brans from different polishing steps, the Cer content was higher in the outer bran than in the inner bran. Sake and sake lees (sake-kasu) were produced by three different starter cultures (shubo preparations: the mixture of koji rice as an enzyme cocktail containing amylases, sake yeast, and adding rice as a carbohydrate source). The Cer/GlcCer ratio in sake and sake lees depended on the starter culture; Cer and GlcCer in sake lees possessed a fungi-specific base, 9-methyl-trans-4,trans-8-sphingadienine. In addition, sake lees had a higher Cer/GlcCer ratio when compared to highly polished rice as a sake source. These results suggest that the sphingolipid content of brown rice differs depending on the rice cultivar; further, the sphingolipids and the sphingolipid composition in sake and sake lees are affected by fungal sphingolipids and self-digestion during brewing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of oleo science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Bran
  • Cerebroside
  • Lees
  • Rice
  • Sake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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