Biotech Updates

UW Develops Heart-healthier Oat

May 18, 2012

Plant breeders from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new variety of oat that has increased amounts of a beta glucan, heart-healthy chemical present in oats.

The new variety called BetaGene has two percent higher beta glucan than the commercially available oat varieties. This may not sound much but it's highly significant from a nutrition standpoint. This increase translates to a 20-percent boost in beta glucan levels in products made of oat.

Nutritionists explain that beta glucan plays like a sponge that traps acids that are high in cholesterol in the bloodstream. According to a USDA Agricultural Research Service report, consuming 3 grams a day of this soluble fiber-combined with a healthy diet-may lower the blood's level of LDL, and thus decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease.

Aside from the increased nutritional value, BetaGene is also produces high yields.