Aging related muscle loss and sarcopenia are public health problems. The objective of this study was to investigate the potential of rice parboiled with watermelon juice as a source of L-citrulline and as a means of slowing or preventing sarcopenia. In the western and industrialized countries, preventive and curative treatments for sarcopenia include physical exercise, pharmacological approach and dietary supplementation. Currently, L-citrulline supplementation plays a central role against decreasing muscle mass and may contribute in sarcopenia protection in the elderly. However, in developing countries, preventive and curative approaches are constrained by poverty and poor access to pharmaceutical supplements. Paddy rice was soaked in watermelon juice at temperatures of 80°C and steamed for 18 h. Rice was then hulled, dried and used to determine L-citrulline and L-arginine contents by HPLC. L-citrulline content increased to 46.6 mg/100 g (on dry basis) and L-arginine content increased to 17.7 mg/100 g (on dry basis) when rice was soaked with watermelon juice. This study shows that parboiled rice with watermelon juice could be a source of L-citrulline and L-arginine, as a means of slowing or preventing sarcopenia for elderly people where access to medical care and pharmaceutical supplements is poor.
Key words: Parboiled rice, watermelon, L-citrulline, sarcopenia, L-arginine.