Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

In the limelight: Michelle Toutounji

Ms Michelle ToutounjiSupervisors:

Professor Chris Blanchard, Professor Asgar Farahnaky, Dr Vito Butardo, Dr Prakash Oli

Thesis title:

Factors affecting rice digestibility

Funding body:

Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Centre for Functional Grains

Career and studies till now:

Bachelor of Science (Nutrition and Food) Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Master of Science (Research)

Currently studying:


Research Interests

In vitro digestion models, cereal chemistry, biopolymer characterisation (specifically starch)

A typical day for me includes…..

Two strong cups of coffee and digesting rice in the lab

My main project at the moment is:

Understanding the factors affecting rice starch digestibility. I study a wide range of factors, including rice growing practices, post-harvest storage conditions and commercial food processing. Initial work involves a rapid in vitro starch digestibility assay to screen the potential postprandial glycaemic response of the different sample sets. Of course, some factors have a greater effect on rice digestibility than others. A big part of my project is to characterise the macro and macromolecular structure of the rice to understand what is driving these changes. Hopefully my research will allow for improved breeding and production of diabetic friendly rice and rice products.

My favourite part of my studies is…

Putting on the white coat, drudging through the drudgery and seeing what I can discover.

When I am not studying I like to…

Run around the Murrumbidgee Turf Club or jump in the Murrumbidgee River.

When I am driving I like to listen to …

Almost anything (depends on my mood) but you can’t go wrong with The Beatles.


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