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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Barley and Oat beta-Glucan content measured by Calcofluor fluorescence in a microplate assay

item Schmitt, Mark
item Wise, Mitchell

Submitted to: Cereal Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/16/2009
Publication Date: 3/4/2009
Citation: Schmitt, M., Wise, M.L. 2009. Barley and Oat beta-Glucan Content Measured by Calcofluor Fluorescence in a Microplate Assay. Cereal Chemistry. 86(2)187-190.

Interpretive Summary: Beta-glucans are important plant components that have benefits to human health when included in the diet. However, they also may cause problems if they are found at high levels in barley used for animal feed or barley malt used for making beer. As a result, it is important to be able to measure the amounts of beta-glucans in cereals, primarily barley and oats. In this paper, we describe a way to simplify the measurement of oat and barley beta-glucans that uses relatively less expensive laboratory instruments than previous methods. The chemicals used in our version of the analysis are also less expensive than those provided by commercially available kits for beta-glucan measurement. The availability of this new way of measuring beta-glucans will make it easier to measure beta-glucans in human food and animal feed, and therefore promoting the use of barley in food and feed.

Technical Abstract: Beta-glucans, linear glucan polymers of mixed linkage, are important constituents of cereal cell walls. They have important health benefits in the human diet, but also can negatively affect the use of barley grain as an animal feed. High beta-glucans in barley malt can also cause problems in brewing. As a result, it is important to be able to quantify levels of beta-glucans in cereals. In this study we describe how to modify an existing method of beta-glucan analysis to use fluorescent microplate readers instead of more expensive flow injection analysis systems. The resulting method is simple, cost effective, and requires minimal effort to implement with common laboratory instrumentation.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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