Effects of oat β-glucan and barley β-glucan on fecal characteristics, intestinal microflora, and intestinal bacterial metabolites in rats

J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Nov 14;60(45):11301-8. doi: 10.1021/jf302824h. Epub 2012 Nov 6.


The primary objective was to determine the beneficial effects of oat β-glucan (OG) and barley β-glucan (BG) on gut health. A total of 200 male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 5 groups of 40 rats each, control group (CON), low-dose OG-administered group (OGL), high-dose OG-administered group (OGH), low-dose BG-administered group (BGL), and high-dose BG-administered group (BGH). OGL and OGH were administered oat β-glucan by intragastric gavage at a dose of 0.35 g/kg of body weight (BW) and 0.70 g/kg of BW daily for 6 weeks, and BGL and BGH were administered barley β-glucan. The CON received normal saline. Intestinal-health-related indexes were analyzed at baseline, week 3, week 6, and week 7. Cereal β-glucan significantly influenced the fecal water content, pH value, ammonia levels, β-glucuronidase activity, azoreductase activity, and colonic short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentrations (p < 0.05). Moreover, the population of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium increased (p < 0.05), whereas the number of Enterobacteriaceae decreased (p < 0.05) in a dose-dependent manner during the period of cereal β-glucan administration. These results suggested that cereal β-glucan might exert favorable effects on improving intestinal functions and health but the gut-health-promoting effects of oat β-glucan were better than those of barley β-glucan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avena / chemistry
  • Avena / metabolism*
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Colon / metabolism
  • Colon / microbiology
  • Dietary Fiber / metabolism
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Hordeum / chemistry
  • Hordeum / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • beta-Glucans / metabolism*


  • Dietary Fiber
  • beta-Glucans