Submitted to: Oat International Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Plant breeders are working to improve the quality of new cereal grain cultivars. Research has shown that high concentrations of a soluble fiber called beta-glucan will lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease in humans. However, high beta-glucan is undesirable for some animal feeds and for malting of barley. High protein is generally desired for food and feed, but low protein is needed for malting barleys. In order for plant breeders to choose suitable parents in making new crosses, they need information on the characteristics of thousands of breeds of grains found in the collections of the USDA. We are systematically analyzing samples from these collections for beta-glucan, protein and oil concentrations. The data are entered into a database that is accessible to plant breeders, and they can subsequently request seed samples to use in their breeding programs. In this way, we are assisting the effort to produce grains of higher quality for food, feed, and malting.
Technical Abstract: Oat and barley entries in the USDA-ARS National Small Grains Collection, Aberdeen, ID, are being evaluated systematically for quality traits. Oats are dehulled at Aberdeen, and oat groats and barley kernels are sent to Madison for analysis. Samples are analyzed by near infrared transmittance on a Tecator 1255 Food and Feed Analyzer, and concentrations of protein and oil are calculated from the transmittance spectra. Samples are then ground, extracted, and beta-glucan concentration analyzed by reaction with Celluflour in a flow injection analysis procedure. Among 6770 barleys screened, protein ranged from 6.9 to 25.0 percent (mean, 14.8 percent). Beta-glucan ranged from 2.4 to 8.9 percent (mean, 4.8 percent). Oat groat protein (7518 samples) was much higher (range, 11.9 to 32.0 percent; mean, 21.1 percent), whereas oat beta-glucan was similar in concentration to that found in the barleys (range, 2.3 to 8.5 percent; mean, 4.6 percent). Data are entered on the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).