Submitted to: Journal of Cereal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/4/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Antioxidants are compounds in foods that help prevent certain diseases by reducing dangerous compounds called free radicals. Fruits, vegetables, and grains are all good sources of antioxidants. This review article brings together knowledge about the antioxidants of oat. The occurrence, location, and concentrations of various antioxidant compounds in oat are described. A number of tests that have been used to measure antioxidant activity are also discussed. In addition to the health promoting effects of oat antioxidants, they are also useful in stabilizing foods against rancidity. Some possible future directions for research on oat antioxidants are described. The impact of this article is to bring together all the important knowledge about oat antioxidants for researchers and health professionals.
Technical Abstract: Oat (Avena sativa L.) is a source of many compounds that exhibit antioxidant activity. Vitamin E (tocols), phytic acid, phenolic compounds, and avenanthramides are the most abundant antioxidants in oat, and flavonoids and sterols are also present. These antioxidants are concentrated in the outer layers of the kernel. Several in vitro tests have been used to evaluate antioxidant activity of oat extracts. A few examples show that an oat-containing diet boosted the antioxidant capacity of serum or meat in animals. Avenanthramides may be a plant defense response, as these compounds are induced in oat leaves by rust spores or elicitors. Antioxidants function in helping to maintain the stability of processed oat products, and oat can stabilize oils and fats against rancidity. Possible future research should be aimed at increasing antioxidants by plant breeding and through a nutritional genomics approach. Additionally, we need to acquire knowledge about the bioavailability and function of antioxidants in human and animal systems. Methods for fractionation of oat to produce antioxidant co-products along with other high-value components should also be studied.