Exploitation of the genetic potential of oats for use in feed and human nutrition
About this project
Raising the levels of protein and oil would increase the value and marketability of oat grain. Genetic sources of high grain protein and oil content have been incorporated into modern cultivated oats. For oil content, winter oat lines were identified with levels of up to 2% dry matter (DM) more oil, equivalent to 0.5 MJ/kg DM higher metabolisable energy (ME), than the NIAB Recommended variety Image, currently the most widely grown winter oat variety. For protein content, spring sown winter and spring oats were identified with levels of up to 3% DM above Rollo and 4% above Dula, currently the most widely grown spring oat variety.
Near infra-red reflectance spectroscopy was used to obtain quick and reliable estimates of protein and oil content. This method could potentially be used to assess other grain composition components from samples used for oil and protein estimation.
Continued work on selection for high oil content should take into account the need to break the observed correlation between plant height and oil content. The high protein content of Avena maroccana is now expressed in both spring and winter oats. Recovering winter hardiness will be essential to the successful exploitation of this material in winter oats.
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