Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 4, 2005
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Beta-glucan is a popular name given to the mixed linkage (1®3), (1®4)-b-D-glucan found most abundantly in oat and barley grain. It functions as a water-soluble form of dietary fiber and has the remarkable property of lowering serum cholesterol in individuals who consume sufficient quantities of it. This effect is so well documented that the Food and Drug Administration of the United States has approved a health claim on food products containing sufficient concentrations of b-glucan, that indicates that these foods can help prevent heart disease, when combined with a low fat diet. This chapter will not deal with the physiological effects of b-glucan on humans or animals, but will concentrate on the physical and chemical characteristics of b-glucans in grains and foods.