Finland is one of the major oat (Avena sativa L.) producers, holding
approximately a 20% share of the worldwide oat trade. The health benefits of
oats are mainly associated with its mixed beta-glucan. Mixed beta-glucan is
not metabolised by digestive enzymes and 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 oats through genetic
engineering. The ultimate aim is to use plant-derived genes to elevate the
beta-glucan content of oats to levels not obtainable through traditional plant
The induction of embryogenic cell cultures from mature embryos of oat
cultivars Aslak, Veli and Kolbu was performed according to Somers et al.
(1992). Calcofluor staining (Salmenkallio-Marttila et al. 2002) and
HPLC-analysis (Suortti 1993) of beta-glucan of seeds, apical meristems and
cell cultures were carried out. Gene transfer of microbial 1,3-beta-glucan
synthases (Inoue et al. 1995) was accomplished by using particle bombardment
(Bio-Rad, PDS-1000/He) according to Wan & Lemaux (1994).
The beta-glucan was mainly localized in subaleurone layers of oat seeds by
Calcofluor staining. The molecular weight of oat seed 13-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.
Inoue et al. 1995. European Journal of Biochemistry 231: 845-854;
Salmenkallio-Marttila et al. 2002. Cereal Chemistry 78: 429-435.; Somers et
al. 1992. Bio/Technology 10: 1589-1594; Suortti 1993. Journal of
Chromatography 632: 105-110; Wan & Lemaux 1994. Plant Physiology 104: 37-48.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the 7th International Oat Conference. Helsinki, Finland, 2004|
|Editors||Pirjo Peltonen-Sainio, Mari Topi-Hulmi|
|Publisher||Natural Resources Institute Finland|
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|
|MoE publication type||Not Eligible|
|Series||Agrifood Research Reports|
- beta-glucan synthase
- cell culture