Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 2, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Oat and other cereal grains are sources of antioxidants, chemicals that are believed to promote health by preventing cellular damage from free radicals. However, it may be possible to increase the concentration of these antioxidants by plant breeding. As a prerequisite, we need to determine the natural variation in antioxidant activity and concentrations of antioxidant chemicals that is caused by genetics and by the growing environment. We analyzed three varieties of oat that were grown in seven locations with different environments. We found variety affected antioxidant activity and the concentration of all but one of the antioxidant chemicals that were measured, whereas location had a major effect only on a group of antioxidants called avenanthramides. Oat obtained from one location, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, were especially high in these chemicals. Although the results are from a narrow range of varieties and locations, they indicate that it may be possible to breed new oat varieties that have higher levels of some of these chemicals. The reasons for the effect of location remain to be determined. The eventual impact will be oat food products that have greater quantities of healthy components.
Technical Abstract: Phenolic compounds in oat (Avena sativa L.) may have health-promoting effects on humans due to their antioxidant properties. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of cultivar, location, and cultivar-by-location interactions on phenolic content and antioxidant activity of alcohol-soluble extracts from oat. Antioxidant activity and eight phenolic compounds with potential antioxidant activity were measured in three cultivars grown at seven locations in Wisconsin during 1998. There were significant differences among cultivars for antioxidant activity, concentrations of all of the phenolic compounds except p-coumaric acid, and total free phenolic contents. Location significantly affected the concentrations of six of the phenolics and total free phenolic contents, but did not affect antioxidant activity. There were significant cultivar-by-location interactions for the concentrations of phenolic compounds known as avenanthramides and for total free phenolic contents. It should be possible to improve the antioxidant activity and phenolic concentrations of oat as quantitative traits in a cultivar development program.