β-glucan content in a panel of Triticum and Aegilops genotypes

  • Ilaria Marcotuli
  • Pasqualina Colasuonno
  • Silvia Cutillo
  • Rosanna Simeone
  • Antonio Blanco
  • Agata GadaletaEmail author
Research Article


Non-starch polysaccharides are the main components of dietary fibre, not digested in the small intestine, and with beneficial effects on human health. Among cereals, barley, oats and rye have the highest β-glucan content in the grain (from 3 to 10%), while wheat, rice and corn contain percentages lower than 1%. In this paper, we report the screening of a collection of cultivated and wild wheats for β-glucan content to identify useful genotypes for wheat breeding programs. β-glucan content was determined in a panel of 43 wild and cultivated accessions of diploid, tetraploid and hexaploid wheat (Triticum and Aegilops species), grown in replicated field trials for two years. The average content of β-glucans in durum wheat was 0.51% and 0.55% in 2016 and 2017, respectively, with a range of variation between 0.39 and 0.70%; the bread wheat showed always a β-glucan content lower than 1%. The Triticum wild species showed concentrations ranging between 0.41 and 1.33%. High β-glucan contents were found in some Aegilops species (Ae. markrafii, Ae. umbellulata, Ae. biuncialis and Ae. negletta) with values up to 7.1%. On the overall, the results obtained indicated a wide genetic diversity for β-glucans in some Aegilops species, which can be considered in interspecific gene transfer programs to constitute wheat varieties with β-glucan content higher than 2%, concentration adequate for a 10–15% reduction of cholesterol in the blood.


Genetic diversity Wild species Triticum Aegilops β-glucan 



The research project was supported by grants from Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca, project ‘PON-01_01145 ISCOCEM’, Puglia Region, Italy, project PSR “SaVeGraINPuglia” and research grant from ISEA Agroservice.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest on the content of manuscript and study undertaken.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilaria Marcotuli
    • 1
  • Pasqualina Colasuonno
    • 1
  • Silvia Cutillo
    • 2
  • Rosanna Simeone
    • 2
  • Antonio Blanco
    • 2
  • Agata Gadaleta
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Environmental ScienceUniversity of Bari ‘Aldo Moro’BariItaly
  2. 2.Department of Soil, Plant and Food SciencesUniversity of Bari ‘Aldo Moro’BariItaly

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