2015 Volume 64 Issue 9 Pages 915-932
Oat is a promising plant for the future. It is edible and beneficial thanks to its nutritional, medicinal and pharmaceutical uses and, hence, recognized to be useful for a healthier world. The assessment of the vital functions of oat components is important for industries requiring correct health labelling, valid during the shelf life of any product. Oil, enzymes and other biomolecules of nutraceutic or dietary usage from oats would be valorized for this purpose. Although oats have a unique and versatile composition including antioxidants and biomolecules indispensable for health, they are undervalued in comparison with other staple cereals such as wheat, barley and rice. Furthermore, oats, apart from maize, comprise a high oil content used for a wide range of beneficial purposes. In addition, they contain beta glucan that has proven to be very helpful in reducing blood cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular diseases risks. In fact, there is diversity in the composition and content of the beneficial oat components within their genotypes and the different environmental conditions and, thus, oats are amenable to be enhanced by agronomic practices and genetic approaches.