Genetic engineering of beta-glucan contents of oat

Anneli Ritala, Marjatta Salmenkallio-Marttila, Kirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey, Tapani Suortti, Alan Schulman, Anna-Maria Nuutila

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific


    The health benefits of oat (Avena sativa L.) are mainly associated with its mixed-linked beta-glucan. Mixed-linked beta-glucan is not metabolised by digestive enzymes. It lowers the cholesterol levels of blood and balances the glucose and insulin contents of serum after meals. These physiological effects reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases. Our aim is to increase the beta-glucan content of Finnish oat cultivars through genetic engineering. The ultimate aim is to use plant-derived genes to elevate the beta-glucan content of oat to levels not obtainable through traditional plant breeding methods. Embryogenic cell cultures were started from mature embryos of oat cultivars ‘Aslak’, ‘Veli’ and ‘Kolbu’. Microscopic- and HPLC-analysis of beta-glucan of seeds, apical meristems and cell cultures were carried out. Gene transfer of microbial 1,3-beta-glucan synthases by particle bombardment was performed. The beta-glucan was mainly localized in subaleurone layers of oat seeds by Calcofluor staining. The molecular weight of oat seed beta-glucan was ca. 2 000 000 and the amount varied from 40 to 60 g/kg. In apical meristems trace amounts of beta-glucan were observed. In cell cultures the molecular weight of the beta-glucan was ca. 200 000 and the amount varied from 2 to 3 g/kg. Gene transfer experiments with microbial 1,3-beta-glucan synthase genes have been started in order to evaluate their effect on beta-glucan contents of oat cell lines. The cloning of plant beta-glucan synthase genes is on the way. References Salmenkallio-Marttila, M., K. Katina & K. Autio, 2002. Effects of bran fermentation on quality and microstructure of high-fiber wheat bread. Cereal Chem. 78: 429-435. Suortti, P. 1993. Size-exclusion chromatographic determination of beta-glucan with postcolumn reaction detection. J. Chrom. 632: 105-110.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the  17th EUCARPIA General Congress
    EditorsJ. Vollmann, H. Grausgruber, P. Ruckenbauer
    Publication statusPublished - 2004
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible
    Event17th EUCARPIA General Congress: Genetic Variation for Plant Breeding - Tulln, Austria
    Duration: 8 Sept 200411 Sept 2004
    Conference number: 17


    Conference17th EUCARPIA General Congress


    Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic engineering of beta-glucan contents of oat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this