Selection for high [beta]-glucan content and good agronomic performance in oat grain
[Beta]-glucan in oat (Avena Sativa L.) grain is responsible for lowering blood serum cholesterol levels in humans. Those beneficial effects are attributed to the ability of oat to generate viscosity. The objectives of this study were to estimate the genetic components of variance in [Beta]-glucan content and viscosity in high [Beta]-glucan lines, elite agronomic lines, and in their population crosses; to evaluate the differences between elite agronomic lines and high [Beta]-glucan lines for [Beta]-glucan, viscosity and viscosity deviation. The third objective was to use a powerful population design to detect epistatic interaction among parents. The fourth objective was to determine the effectiveness of near-infrared (NIR) technology for analyzing the [Beta]-glucan quantity and quality in oat. A positive correlation (r²=0.38) was found between [Beta]-glucan content and Log transformed viscosity. One can select for [Beta]-glucan content based on the viscosity deviation variance among crosses. Partial least squares (PLS) regression using PROC PLS in SAS was used for cross-validation. Results indicate that NIR analysis of oat grain can be used as an analytical tool to estimate [Beta]-glucan quantity and quality.