General Mills is the world’s sixth-largest food company. As the producer of Cheerios and one of the largest users and handlers of oats in North America, the company is committed to research that uses natural and traditional breeding methods to yield an oat with higher and more consistent levels of beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a clinically proven, cholesterol-reducing soluble fiber.
Located in the David H. Murdock Core Laboratory building at the NC Research Campus, General Mills works collaboratively with UNC Charlotte’s Bioinformatics Services Division and the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI). They are a founding member and part of the leadership team of the groundbreaking Plant Pathways Elucidation Project (P2EP), a combination research and training program that teams academic and industry scientists with students to better understand how plants produce compounds beneficial to human health. Learn more at www.p2ep.org.
General Mills commitment to oat research extends beyond the NC Research Campus. Through a grant to the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA), General Mills helped spur a research fund and global research consortium of more than 30 scientists all focused on the creation of an oat genome map and the development of oat varieties with improved nutrition and resistance to drought and pests. The oat is a complex, hexaploid genome, which is more difficult to map than other grains. The collaborative approach to research has increased the understanding of the oat genome so that it now equals that of other grains such as wheat and barley.