Beta-glucan, the soluble fibre found in oats, is known to lower cholesterol.
In turn, lower cholesterol levels help reduce the risk of heart disease and
type 2 diabetes. VTT has developed and patented a method for producing oat
fraction to be used as food additive. The method is economic and produces an
oat fraction with a beta-glucan content of up to 35%.
In VTT's patented process, high beta-glucan content can be reached in the
process that uses dry fractionation techniques, such as milling, air
classification and sieving. The high fat content of oat is an important factor
in fibre separation. VTT’s process overcomes this problem by removing fat
using supercritical CO2 extraction before dry fractionation. VTT has developed
this technology together with MTT Agrifood Research Finland. Production of
fractions high in beta-glucan has traditionally involved a process whereby the
fibre is first extracted with water or ethanol and then dried. Compared to
these wet processes, the process developed by VTT and MTT saves both water and
According to the scientific panel of the European
Food Safety Authority EFSA, a minimum of 3 grams of beta-glucan is needed
daily for an effect on the blood serum cholesterol level. Thus, a fibre
fraction with high beta-glucan content yields an important benefit: a
relatively small amount of fibre fraction is sufficient for reaching the
desired beta-glucan content, which helps control the cost of the final
product. Another benefit is that the product will contain less quickly soluble
starch and more fibre, which helps improve product quality.
same method can be used to produce protein concentrate, too
addition to beta-glucan, a protein concentrate with a protein content of over
70% has been extracted from low-fat oat. Thanks to its high protein content, a
very small amount of the concentrate is sufficient in food products. The
protein concentrate can be used to improve the nutritional and sensory value
of different products. The concentrate is truly unique because traditional
milling techniques produce significantly lower protein content. Oat protein is
a welcome addition to the current protein concentrate offering; plant-based
protein products have so far been produced from only a few plants, most
typically soy. The protein structure of oats is of nutritionally high value.
This makes the protein concentrate suitable for various applications, such as
sports drinks and vegetarian meals.
VTT is progressing
development the production process of beta-glucan and protein concentrate
further. Our new partners include two German companies: NATECO2 GmbH in
Wolnzach and Hosokawa-Alpine AG in Augsburg. In addition to the further
development of the fractionation process, our product development efforts
focus on controlling the molecular size of beta-glucan and on utilising new
low molecular weight fibres in liquid foods, such as drinks.