Red yeast rice
Patáková, Petra Department of Fermentation Chemistry and Bioengineering, Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague, Czech Republic.
Last reviewed:December 2020
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The product of rice fermented with red yeast. Red yeast rice, produced by fermentation of red yeast (the filamentous fungus Monascus) on rice grains, has been used traditionally in Asian countries as a food colorant (due to the presence of various pigments; Fig. 1) and as a medicinal substance. Red yeast rice is also known as angkak, beni-koji, hong qu, hung-chu, monascus, red koji, red leaven, red rice, zhitai, and xue zhi kang. The first mention of red yeast rice occurred in Li Shih-chun's Pen Chaw Kang Mu, a monograph on Chinese medicine, in 1590. Monascus red yeast rice has been used in Chinese folk medicine for indigestion, dysentery, and anthrax, as well as for relieving bruised muscles, promoting blood circulation, and invigorating spleen function. Research has shown that red yeast rice contains cholesterol-lowering compounds. In addition, dried red yeast rice is used to color various foods, including fishmeal, cheeses, soybean products, alcoholic beverages, and sausages. See also: Cholesterol; Food engineering; Food fermentation; Food manufacturing; Fungal biotechnology; Fungi; Rice; Yeast
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