The value of commodities funds soared by 45 percent from 2010 to 2012 in 401(k) and defined contribution plans, asset research firm BrightScope disclosed Tuesday using the latest Labor Department data.

Despite the surge, these funds continue to be a niche holding for retirement savings, accounting for just over 1 percent ($3.8 billion) of retirement assets.

Pimco was the most popular sponsor of the funds, taking three of the top five places.

The company’s Commodity Real Return Strategy Fund retained the No. 1 ranking for the second year in a row with a gain of more than $100 million in retirement accounts, rising to a total of $587 million.

The No. 2 fund on the list, the Prudential Jennison Natural Resources fund, added more than $91 million.

BrightScope spokesperson Heather Kasunic said the company would only reveal to its paying clients the total assets for each of the top 20 commodities funds in 401(k) and defined contribution plans.

But she did reveal that the Invesco Balanced-Risk Commodity Strategy fund held the No. 5 spot with $190 million. The Fidelity Global Commodity Stock fund was No. 10 at $79 million; Ivy Global Natural Resources was No. 16 at $ 59 million, and SSgA Dow Jones US Commodity Fund, with $41 million, was No 20.