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May 16, 2012

Heart Healthy Oats With More Beta-Glucan Developed at University of Wisconsin

Heart Healthy Oats - New Beta-Gene Variety Hopes to Increase New Interest

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed Beta-Gene, a heart healthy oats variety.  Beta-Gene has more beta glucan, a compound that scientific study has shown to promote better heart health.  

The new heart healthy oat variety Beta-Gene provides two benefits - higher levels of beta glucan and high yields in the field.  Its beta glucan levels are approximately 2% higher than other oat varieties.  Two percent means a 20% increase in beta glucan levels in products made with these oats.

How are health heart oats good for your health?  Beta-glucan attaches to cholesterol-rich acids in the bloodstream and helps eliminate them from the body.  According to the USDA and the University of Wisconsin press release on beta-glucan oats, "consuming 3 grams daily of this soluble fiber-combined with a healthy diet-may lower the blood's level of LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol, lessening the risk of coronary heart disease."

Beta-Gene is the result of 14 years of hybridization trials at the University of Wisconsin.  Original crosses were made in 1998.  Research has been conducted by the Small Grains Breeding Program at the University of Wisconsin Agronomy Department.  The Beta-Gene healthy heart oats variety has not yet been commercialized.  University research are increasing production and hope to release Beta-Gene for the 2014 growing season.  

In general, oats production in the United States has been decreasing.  Wisconsin tops the list of oats producing states.  Canada is a big oat producer.  University of Wisconsin researchers look to reverse market  production trends and increase interest in heart healthy oats.

For more see: 

"UW plant breeders develop an even heart-healthier oat," University of Wisconsin Press Release, 16 May 2012.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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