“The biggest thing that stands out about this new variety, BetaGene, is that it’s both a high yielding variety and high in beta glucan. Beta glucan is a heart-healthy chemical that is exclusive to oats,” says John Mochon, program manager of the Small Grains Breeding Program in the UW-Madison agronomy department.
BetaGene is 2 percent higher in beta glucan on average than other oat varieties on the market. That may not sound much, but it’s huge from a nutrition standpoint. A 2 percent bump translates to a 20-percent boost in beta glucan levels in products made from the oat.
Nutrition researchers liken beta glucan to a sponge that traps cholesterol-rich acids in the bloodstream. 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, according to one report from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.
UW breeders have increased acreage of the new variety this year in hopes of releasing it for the 2014 growing season.
Wisconsin is among the top oat-producing states. Growers here plant about 300,000 acres of oats each year—about half of that harvested as forage and fed to livestock, the rest harvested for grain—with yields averaging 60 to 70 bushels per acre. But better returns from other crops and other market forces have made oats less attractive to growers, Mochon says. Overall oat acreage in the United States has declined steadily over the years.
“That’s why I’m trying to add value to oats. It’s one of my goals to reverse that trend,” he says. “Things like increased beta glucan, developing forage lines, developing lines that are rust resistant, and developing lines that have a high groat percentage are all part of this effort.”
Mochon hopes that BetaGene will help improve demand for oats. The new variety has already generated some interest in the food industry. At least one large milling company paid a visit to Wisconsin to learn more about the experimental variety.
It has taken UW breeders 14 years to bring BetaGene to this point. They performed the original cross in 1998 and nurtured the oat in variety trials until they were confident that it was ready for growers. This is standard operating procedure for vetting experimental crop varieties. It takes 12 to 15 years to prove that they can yield well, fend off disease and have a track record for success before being considered for release, Mochon says.
In this case, there was also an international angle to be considered. Canada is a big oat producer and therefore an important potential market, so Mochon is working to ensure BetaGene also meets requirements for certified, licensed sale north of the border.
– Sevie Kenyon, 608-263-4781, email@example.com
John Mochon | Newswise Science News
Combination of Resistance Genes Offers Better Protection for Wheat against Powdery Mildew
22.01.2018 | Universität Zürich
New study shows producers where and how to grow cellulosic biofuel crops
17.01.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy