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  • 1 Research Unit for Maize Culture Consiglio per la ricerca e la sperimentazione in agricoltura Via Stezzano 24 24126 Bergamo Italy
  • 2 Research Unit for Cereal Quality Consiglio per la ricerca e la sperimentazione in agricoltura Via Cassia 176 00191 Roma Italy
  • 3 Campus Bio-Medico Rome-University Via Alvaro del Portillo 21 00128 Roma Italy
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The effects of genetic variability and agronomic practises on the chemical compounds of the grain were evaluated in a set of oat cultivars (16 naked and four husked) grown in different experiments in the years 2004–2008. In the first experiment, carried out for two years, β-glucan and Total Dietary Fibre (TDF) from eight oat cultivars, grown under three different levels of nitrogen fertilization and two seed doses, were considered. The second experiment, involving 12 cultivars for two years, explored the variation of β-glucan solubility and further characterized six cultivars for the content of TDF and arabinoxylans. In both experiments, genotype was found to exert the largest effect on the grain composition; nitrogen levels and seed doses had positive significant effects on protein and β-glucan contents, but did not affect fibre content. Among the naked cultivars, Irina, Abel, Luna, Hendon and Expression showed a good ability to accumulate the examined grain compounds. However, in general, the highest contents of protein and β-glucan were found in the groats of husked cultivars, suggesting that specific breeding programs are a crucial step to identify the suitable naked oat genotypes to produce foods of high nutritional value.

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