Characterisation of Physical and Biochemical Traits of Hulless Spring Barley Grain in the Latvian Breeding Programme

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Incorporation of whole grain, such as hulless barley, as a part of a balanced diet can help reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases, diabetes and specific cancers, and provide other health benefits as well. The objectives of this study were to determine the physical and chemical characteristics of grains of hulless barley genotypes from the Latvian spring barley programme. Field experiments were carried out in 2010-2011 at the State Stende Cereal Breeding Institute. Grain samples of 29 hulless spring barley breeding lines were analysed for grain physical traits (1000 kernel weight, test weight), macronutrients (crude protein, starch, β -glucans), and micronutrients (total phenolic content, DPPH antiradical scavenging activity and α-tocopherol content). The variation of physical traits and macronutrients was mainly determined by genotype (ω2 = 32-62%) and year (η2 = 8-42%) and to a lesser extent by interaction of factors. The difference between hulless genotypes, as indicated the coefficient of variation, was rather high for all micronutrients (V% = 13.4-25.6). Significant (P < 0.05) positive correlation was detected between radical scavenging activity and total phenolic content (r = 0.519) and starch content (r = 0.530). The best hulless breeding lines ‘1185’ and ‘IC 360’ (variety ‘Kornelija’ submitted for DUS and VCU tests) were selected for future usage in clinical investigations.

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