Resistant starch and health - Himalaya 292, a novel barley cultivar to deliver benefits to consumers

David L. Topping, Matthew K. Morell, Roger A. King, Zhongyi Li, Anthony R. Bird, Manny Noakes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Dietary and lifestyle change is a recognised strategy for the management and prevention of socio-economically important non-infectious diseases. Dietary fibre is composed largely of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP), and greater consumption of NSP-rich foods relieves simple constipation very effectively. Starch (as resistant starch, RS) is also receiving attention for its potential role in promoting colonic function. Resistant starch is that fraction of starch which escapes human small intestinal digestion and enters the large bowel where (together with a variable fraction of NSP) it is fermented by the resident microf lora. The resulting short chain fatty acids (SCFA) are taken up by the large bowel and metabolised. SCFA mediate many of the health benefits ascribed to NSP and RS. Starch consumption is low in affluent westernised countries, despite recommendations by health agencies. In Australia, foods enriched in RS as a high amylose maize starch have gained consumer acceptance. However, scope remains for additional products and ingredients and a company, Ascentia Pty Ltd, has been established to develop a novel barley cultivar (Hordeum vulgare var. himalaya 292) for this purpose. This cultivar has a specific gene alteration leading to a loss of starch synthetase lla activity resulting in a grain which is low in starch but disproportionately higher in amylose and also NSP. Animal and human studies have shown that Himalaya 292 is high in RS relative to existing products and has a low glycaemic index and the cultivar offers promise as a vehicle to deliver health benefits to consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-545
Number of pages7
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Dec 2003


  • Barley
  • Cereals
  • Fibre
  • Health
  • Resistant starch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Organic Chemistry

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