Human Health from Soil to Society: Barley β-glucan and glycemic control

Our proposed work directly addresses the Sustaining Health Grand Challenge through the initiation of the first collaborative study between CAHNRS and ESFCOM, utilizing our Soil to Society research pipeline: including plant breeding and varietal development for nutritional characteristics and evaluating effectiveness in improving human health and well-being.

Novel barley varieties high in the soluble fiber β-glucan have the capacity to improve population health. An important target for public health intervention is improving glycemic control. Better glycemic control is reflected by lower postprandial blood glucose after the ingestion of carbohydrate-containing food. Foods containing the soluble fiber β-glucan are linked with better glycemic control. We hypothesize that ingestion of food containing a higher β-glucan barley variety will decrease blood glucose profiles, subjective measures of appetite, and subsequent food intake. We will test barley varieties that contain 6-12% high β-glucan, much higher than the 3 to 4% found in commercial varieties. Food products containing this higher level of β-glucan may evoke clinically-meaningful reductions in risk factors for CVD and diabetes.

Collaborative research between WSU scientists in CAHNRs and ESFCOM is proposed to 1) test effects of new high β-glucan barley varieties on glycemic control and appetite in a within-subjects crossover trial; 2) characterize the dose-response relationship between β-glucan and glycemic control, and 3) assess the ability of β-glucan to attenuate glycemic response to ingestion of high-sugar foods.

Grant Information

  • Project ID: 191
  • Project Status: Complete


  • Principal Investigator(s): Perrigue, M.
  • Investigator(s): Kiszonas, A., Monsivais, P., Murphy, K.
  • Grant Amount: $40,000