BetaGene oat now available to Wisconsin growers

A variety of oat that packs more of a heart-healthy punch is now available to growers through the Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association (WCIA).

Called BetaGene, the new variety is high in beta glucan, a soluble fiber found in abundance in oats that is believed to lower levels of bad cholesterol. This type of fiber can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when combined with a healthy diet, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

On average, BetaGene oats are 2% higher in beta glucan than other oat varieties on the market; that 2% advantage translates into a 20% boost in beta glucan levels when the oats are processed into food products.

BetaGene is a high yielding variety that has performed well in Midwestern trials. It was developed at the University of Wisconsin–Madison using natural breeding techniques and is not genetically modified (non-GMO).

WCIA licensed BetaGene from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the organization that patents and commercializes UW–Madison research. In 2013, WARF awarded the BetaGene oat one of its highest honors — an Innovation Award — in recognition of its potential health benefits.