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Selected physiological activities and health promoting properties of cereal beta-glucans. A review

D. Suchecka 1,  
E. Żyła 1,  
J. P. Harasym 2,  
Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW, Faculty of Human Nutrition and Consumer Sciences, Department of Dietetics, Nowoursynowska 159C, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland
Wrocław University of Economics, Institute of Chemistry and Food Technology, Department of Biotechnology and Food Analysis, Komandorska 118/120, 53-345 Wrocław, Poland
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 2017;26(3):183–191
Publish date: 2017-05-30
Cereal beta-glucans are linear homoglucose polymers found in endosperm and sub-aleurone layer of grain, consisting mostly of water-soluble fraction and exerting different specific biological activities. In this review beneficial effects of oat and barley purified beta-glucans on immunity, gastrointestinal tract health and inflammatory diseases treatment in animals are presented. Oat and barley beta-glucans interact with innate immune system cells and affect pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines production leading to alleviation of inflammation. Few recent in vitro and in vivo studies showed also a prebiotic effect of cereal beta-glucans due to fermentation of these polysaccharides by beneficial gut microbiota. Barley and oat beta-glucans stimulate growth of Lactobacilli and positively affect large intestine content of short-chain fatty acids, faecal water content, pH value and decrease ammonia level in animals. Studies on farm animals, especially pigs, show that cereal beta-glucans can beneficially affect gastrointestinal tract functions and immunity of animals mainly due to their prebiotic activity and interactions with immune cell system. Beta-glucans tend to reduce body weight gain and may help to prevent obesity. The health-promoting properties of barley and oat beta-glucans should be taken into account when formulating diets for farm and companion animals.
J. Gromadzka-Ostrowska   
Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW, Faculty of Human Nutrition and Consumer Sciences, Department of Dietetics, Nowoursynowska 159C, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland
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