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Researchers Developing Wheat with Cholesterol-Lowering Qualities

A recent breakthrough in the understanding of how betaglucan structure is controlled may enable the development of healthier wheat grains with higher levels of soluble betaglucan, a special type of dietary fibre that can help lower blood cholesterol.
Researchers at Australia’s national science agency CSIRO examined what controls betaglucan structure by expressing the betaglucan synthase gene (also known as CslF6) from each of the different cereals — wheat, barley, the model plant Brachypodium, oat, rice, maize and sorghum — in the leaves of tobacco, a plant which does not contain any betaglucan.
By examining the structure of betaglucan produced in the tobacco leaf, the cereals could be grouped into two classes; one including oats and the other including wheat. By mixing and matching bits of the CslF6 protein from each of the two groups, researchers identified the region of the betaglucan synthase that controls the structure.
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