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Crop Science Abstract -

Genetic and Environmental Variation in β-Glucan Content and Quality Parameters of Barley for Food


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 36 No. 4, p. 941-946
    Received: Jan 23, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): berglund@plains.nodak.edu
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  1. C. E. Fastnaught,
  2. P. T. Berglund ,
  3. E. T. Holm and
  4. G. J. Fox
  1. Western Plant Breeders, 717 S. 14th St. Fargo, ND 58103



High β-glucan content is desirable in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) for many food uses. The effects of environment, head type, and starch-hull type on total β-glucan and protein content, extract viscosity, and seed color in barley were tested. Barley cultivars varying in head (two row and six row), starch (normal, waxy, high-amylose, and fractured), and hull (covered and hull-less) phenotypes were grown in single-row plots at one location front 1989 to 1991. Higher mean β-glucan content and extract viscosity occurred in 1989, a low-moisture, hot year. Cultivars with the two-row and six-row head type did not differ for any of the traits analyzed. Waxy hull-less cultivars had the highest mean β-glucan content (69.3 g/kg) and extract viscosity (29.1 cP) compared with the normal covered cultivars (38.0 g/kg and 4.6 cP, respectively). Single degree-of-freedom contrasts found differences between normal starch and waxy starch isotypes consistent among the background genotypes (‘Azhul’, ‘Betzes’, ‘Bowman’, ‘Robust’). Dietary fiber analysis of selected samples grown in 1990 found the highest soluble fiber content in cultivars having waxy or high amylose starch and hull-less seed. In a separate experiment, ‘Wanubet’, a waxy hull-less cultivar, was grown in 42 commercial fields from 1989 to 1991. β-Glucan content varied from 45.5 to 94.6 g/kg, extract viscosity from 8.9 to 108.2 cP, and protein content from 98.0 to 186.0 g/kg. Seed color varied but was unrelated to these components. The significant effect of environment on all of the characteristics indicates the need for food barley quality standards and tests.

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