Soluble silicon (Si) in foods and drinks has been suggested to have a protective effect against neurotoxicity of Al. We investigated the genotypic variation in Si concentration of barley grain, which has many uses including in livestock feeds, malts for beer and whisky, and some foods for human consumption. Two collections of barley, grown in the same field, were subjected to analysis; 274 standard varieties selected at the Barley Germplasm Center of the Research Institute for Bioresources, Okayama University (SV), and 135 varieties from the Barley Core Collection of Americans (BCCAM). The Si concentration of barley grain showed large variation, ranging from 0 (under detection) to 3600 mg kg−1 in SV and from 0 to 3800 mg kg−1 in BCCAM barleys. The Si concentration was much lower in hull-less barley than in hulled barley. The Si concentration of two-row barley was similar to that of six-row barley, suggesting that Si concentration is not affected by the number of spike rows. Si concentration also did not differ with the origin of the barley variety. More than 80% of total Si was localized in the hull. The Si concentration of the hull was between 15 343 and 27 089 mg kg−1 in the varieties tested. A close correlation was obtained between the Si concentrations of barley grains harvested in different years, suggesting that the variation in Si concentration of barley grain is controlled genetically. These results provide fundamental data for breeding Si-rich cultivars.
barley grain genotypical difference Si concentration Si localization