6. Oat β-Glucans: Physicochemistry and Nutritional Properties

  1. YiFang Chu
  1. Madhuvanti Kale1,
  2. Bruce Hamaker1 and
  3. Nicolas Bordenave2

Published Online: 15 NOV 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118354100.ch6

Oats Nutrition and Technology

Oats Nutrition and Technology

How to Cite

Kale, M., Hamaker, B. and Bordenave, N. (2013) Oat β-Glucans: Physicochemistry and Nutritional Properties, in Oats Nutrition and Technology (ed Y. Chu), John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118354100.ch6

Editor Information

  1. Quaker Oats Center of Excellence, PepsiCo R&D Nutrition, Barrington, Illinois, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

  2. 2

    Global R&D Technical Insights – Analytical Department, PepsiCo Inc., Barrington, IL, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 NOV 2013
  2. Published Print: 20 DEC 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118354117

Online ISBN: 9781118354100



  • β-glucan;
  • oat;
  • Avena sativa L.;
  • mixed linkage;
  • soluble dietary fiber;
  • molecular weight;
  • conformation;
  • bile acid binding;
  • nutritional properties;
  • cholesterol reduction


β-glucans are mixed linkage β-(1,3;1,4)-D-glucan polymers that account for the majority of oat soluble dietary fiber and 3–6% of oat grain weight. Although other cereals such as barley and wheat also contain β-glucans, oat β-glucans have unique physicochemical properties (solubility, molecular weight, gelation properties, etc.). These features are intimately linked to the physiological properties of oat β-glucans, such as bile acid binding, viscosity accumulation in the gastrointestinal tract, and colonic fermentability. Subsequent beneficial physiological activities, such as reduction in cholesterol and postprandial blood glucose levels, have been shown in clinical studies. All of these features have put oat β-glucans under intense scrutiny. This chapter is intended to review their physiological properties with respect to their physicochemical characteristics, in comparison with other cereal β-glucans.