Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/26/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Oat originated in the Middle East, probably as a weedy mixture in wheat and barley. The time and place of oat domestication is unknown, but it probably had an adaptive advantage over wheat and barley in northern Europe. Oat has been used as food and feed since the Roman era. Oat entered the western Hemisphere via the Spanish explorers in southern latitudes, and English and other European settlers into northern colonies. Oat production is now concentrated in the north central U.S., the prairie provinces of Canada, northern Europe, China, and Australia. Considerable improvement in oat germplasm has been achieved through plant breeding. Grain yield, straw strength, test weight, and pest resistance have been major breeding goals. Recently, breeding for improved nutritional properties of protein, oil, and fiber has been initiated. Oat milling advancements have been ancillary to improvements in wheat milling. A modern oat mill includes, cleaning, dehulling, cutting, steaming, flaking and drying steps. Oat was used as human food in Scotland in several forms. In North America, oat was initially considered useful only as animal feed, but with improved flaking technology, became a popular human food. Oat is recognized as a source of good quality protein and fiber and also contains significant quantities of several vitamins and minerals.