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Food Chem. 2013 Jan 1;136(1):130-8. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.07.097. Epub 2012 Aug 1.

Molecular structure of large-scale extracted β-glucan from barley and oat: Identification of a significantly changed block structure in a high β-glucan barley mutant.

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Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.


Health effects of β-glucan are typically related to dose, size and viscosity without taking the specific molecular structure into account. High β-glucan mutant barley, mother barley and oat β-glucans were large-scale extracted by comparable protocols using hot water, enzyme assisted hydrolysis and ethanol precipitation leading to similar molecular masses (200-300kDa). Multivariate data analysis on all compositional, structural and functional features demonstrated that the main variance among the samples was primarily explained by block structural differences as determined by HPSEC-PAD. In particular the barley high β-glucan mutant proved to exhibit a unique block structure with DP3 and DP4 contributions of: 78.9% and 16.7% as compared to the barley mother (72.1% and 21.4%) and oat (66.1% and 29.1%). This unique block structure was further confirmed by the (1)H NMR determination of the β-1,4 to β-1,3 linkage ratio. Low solubility of the barley samples was potentially an effect of substructures consisting of longer repetitive cellotriosyl sequences. FT-Raman and NMR spectroscopy were useful in measuring sample impurities of α-glucans and prediction of β-linkage characteristics.

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