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No 4 March 2018

Oats & the Gut Bugs

Did you know that the bacteria in our gut generate a biomass in our bodies of approximately 1.5 kg? And that their combined genome is 100-fold larger than our own human genome? No wonder that the impact of the gut microbiota on human health and disease is a research topic of intense interest! Our diet has a major, but not completely understood, influence of the gut microbiota. Oats have a unique composition compared to other cereals: They have high levels of soluble fibers, a high lipid content and a range of small chemical components with potential to be active on human health This unique composition probably has a strong positive impact on the gut microbiota. The various suggested health beneficial effects of oats, such as reduction of blood cholesterol, lower blood glucose levels, and increased sense of satiety may partly originate from activities of our gut microbiota. Through the research within ScanOats we will learn more about the possible connections between the health beneficial effects of oats and the unique changes it may induce in the intestinal microbiota. -Take care of your gut bugs and feed them well!

With best wishes

Kristina Andersson

ScanOats WP5 leader

Dept of Experimental Medical Science, Lund University




The News section

Oatly is upgrading the ice cream category

Oatly is relaunching the existing range of ice cream (vanilla, strawberry and chocolate) with new delicious recipes and more sustainable paper carton packaging. At the same time Oatly introduces two new ice cream varieties with extra everything. The new indulgent flavours are Salty caramel with hazelnuts and Double chocolate fudge. Extra exciting is that the fudge in the Double chocolate fudge is made by oat drink. The new ice creams are as all Oatly products, oat based with no milk or soya and totally vegan. The products will be available in Swedish and Finnish retail from week 11 & 13.


World tour of oat R&D

Finely milled oat bran gives a more healthy bread

Oat betaglucan is well known to reduce the cholesterol level and regulate the glucose response in your blood. This effect is due to its ability to increase the viscosity of the intestinal digesta. It is generally considered though that degraded betaglucan molecules will not have the same effect. A research team from SLU, Chalmers and the Karolinska Institute have now discovered that fine milling of oat bran added to bread will compensate for the degradation and give a similar cholesterol-lowering effect. Read the article here.

The structure and interactions of betaglucans passing the intestinal system

Revisiting the oat betaglucans, another study from Lund University has elucidated the structure of these cholesterol-lowering nutrients while passing the intestinal system. It is thought that the beneficial effects of betaglucans are due to the formation of gels which will increase the viscosity of the digesta. This study sheds some light on the various aggregation patterns, as well as the potentially important functional interactions also with bile acids. Read the article here.

Fat mice eating avenanthramides from oat do not get artherosclerosis

Oats contain not only healthy betaglucans, but also bioactive antioxidants called avenanthramides. These are mostly located in the bran layers of the oat seeds. Now researchers from USA and Canada have showed that these avenanthramides can lower the risk of artherosclerosis in mice on a fat diet. Read the article here.

More avenanthramides than previously thought are absorbed in your gut

There is still much to know though about the fate of avenanthramides and other phenolic compounds when they are passing our digestive system. A research team from UK has measured how much phenolic compounds is excreted in the urine after ingestion of 60 grams of oat bran porridge. The results showed that avenanthramides are highly absorbed and that oat bran phenolics in general are more bioavailable than previously thought. Read the article here.


Coming events

ScanOats 1st workshop

One of the main goals of ScanOats is to foster entrepreneurship and develop a dynamic environment for oat product development. This workshop will provide various successful examples of how to turn research ideas into commercially viable products. Representatives from the ScanOats industrial partners, as well as a few selected other companies with oat products in their portfolio, will provide their perspectives and present the challenges and opportunities facing those trying to cross the “valley of death”. All academic researchers, company employees and others who are interested in the innovation process in relation to oat or other agricultural products are welcome to this workshop.

Sign up for it here.

A preliminary programme is available here.




Keep an eye on the ScanOats website for upcoming job offers, student projects and other opportunities.


Thank you for reading the ScanOats 4th Newsletter! If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact the ScanOats Research Coordinator Dennis Eriksson at

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