This is a coordinated initiative, led by Agrotecnio, with two subprojects carried out at the Aula Dei Research Station, of the Spanish National Research Council, and the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Semillas Batlle from Lleida is also deeply involved. It aims at the development and release of new barley genotypes of interest for their functional properties for human and animal consumption, in particular, hulled barley types with very high content of betaglucan for direct extraction for industrial uses and hulless or naked, waxy and non-waxy genotypes with medium levels of betaglucan for direct human consumption. For its functional interest, we will also obtain new colored naked barley genotypes from crosses between naked varieties from this program and exotic colored materials. The study of the anthocyanin genetic structure and relationship with their antioxidant properties will also be undertaken.
We will also produce the first hooded barley doubled haploids adapted to Spanish conditions. These genotypes carry the kap gene resulting in the development of an extra sterile spikelet flower instead of the regular awns. These hooded materials show great interest for animal nutrition as they prevent livestock damage in the digestive system when consumed compared to regular types, allowing multiple alternative uses as hay, silage or grain. Another primary objective of this project is to test these varieties for feeding ruminants, through its nutritional assessment, the study of ruminal degradability of starch and betaglucans from barley grain, and the evaluation of the lactogenic, metabolic and immunostimulant effects of barley betaglucans in sheep.