Effect of processing on barley β-glucan content, its molecular weight and extractability.

Abstract

Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is an important cereal crop and ranks fourth among the total cereals production but very little of this grain is used as human food. However, these days it is gaining popularity as "functional grain" because it contains higher amounts of bioactive compounds including β-glucan (4-11%) and phytochemicals. The health benefits of barley β-glucan and other bioactive compounds have been well documented. β-Glucan is the most unique polysaccharide of barley which is associated with numerous health benefits including reduction of cholesterol, manage post postprandial blood glucose levels and acts as an anti-cancerous agent. Since food grains including barley are consumed after processing and it may alter the solubility, molecular weight and extractability of β-glucan affecting the health benefits. Therefore, it is important to know the processing effects on β-glucan to confirm such health claims for barley. Most of the review papers published are focused on the health benefits of β-glucan. To the best of our knowledge, no comprehensive report is available on the effects of barley processing on β-glucan content, molecular weight and β-glucan extractability. The present article reviews the literature on processing effects on barley β-glucan.

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