Unit 9 Barley, Rye and Oats
Origin, Taxonomy, and Genetic Systems of Barley
Barley was one of the first domesticated cereals, most likely originating
in the Fertile Crescent area of the Near East. Many references to barley
and beer are found in early Egyptian and Sumerian writings that are more
than 5000 years old. Archaeological evidence of barley cultivation has
been found dating back to 8000 BC in Iran. There is now considerable
evidence that the initial cultivation of barley in China and India occurred
at a later date.
Currently the wild ancestor of barley (H. vulgare subsp. spontaneum) is thought to be a subspecies of cultivated barley, and cultivated barley is classified in the subspecies vulgare. Wild barley has a brittle rachis and occurs only in the two-row form. Cultivated barley has a nonbrittle rachis and may be two-rowed or six-rowed. H. vulgare subsp. spontaneum may be a transitional form between the true progenitor of barley and the cultivated species.
Growth Requirements, Adaptive Traits, Management Practices
Requirements for inputs, particularly nitrogen, are relatively low. Barley should be grown under moderate nitrogen fertility conditions because high fertility will reduce kernel plumpness and increase lodging. The grain protein target for malting barley is 11.5% to 13%, which must also be considered in determining appropriate nitrogen fertilizer levels.
As a C3 plant, barley favors cool production conditions (15-30 °C) and moderate precipitation (500 - 1000 mm annually). Cultivars that are photoperiod sensitive require long days to flower. Both winter and spring habit types exist. For winter barley, a vernalization period of two to ten weeks below 50 °F is necessary. In general, winter barley genotypes are not as cold hardy as winter wheat. Highest commercial yields tend to come from central and northern Europe, where yields of 10 t/ha can be obtained under intensive management.
No barley variety is adapted to all environments and, in fact, very
different gene pools have evolved in the major barley production areas
of the world. The gene pools may be defined by essential physiological
parameters that determine adaptation to a production environment - such
as vernalization and/or photoperiod response - or they may be defined
by evolutionary bottlenecks and the accidents of history, such as regional
preferences for two-rowed or six-rowed varieties.
Types of barley
Production Statistics, Economics and Markets
Barley ranks fourth among the cereals in terms of total world production. The average production from 2000-2002 was 136,270,100 metric tonnes. The map below shows the distribution of production by country over the same time period.
Barley Production in the United States
Major barley production areas in the USA by county
Historically, the production of malt has continued to shift to the west
over time. This trend was
Quality Factors for Malting, Brewing and other End-uses
Barley is primarily used for animal feed. It is fed to beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine and poultry. In most cases, the whole barley kernel is rolled, ground, or flaked, prior to being fed. Feed efficiency improves with removal of hulls, grinding, or breaking of the bran layer (efficiency = weight gain / weight fed).
The second most important use of barley is for malt. Malt is used in beer, liquor, malted milk and flavorings in a variety of foods.
Barley is also used for food. Pearling barley involves removal of the hull by using abrasive rollers with paddles moving through a perforated steel cylinder.
There is increasing interest in barley for food uses, because barley fiber has been shown to reduce cholesterol and the associated risk of cardiovascular disease. Beta-glucan (soluble fiber) is found throughout the barley kernel, not just in the bran, so the health benefits of barley in the diet are retained even when the bran is removed. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized use of a health claim for barley in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease in 2005. The claim is based on consumption of three grams of beta-glucan daily.
U.S. Barley Grades are based on:
Generally higher test weight and greater percent plumps indicate better feed value and better malt quality.
Barley for malting
Two-rowed barleys are favored for malting throughout most of the world, but in the USA and Mexico, six-rowed barleys are used extensively for this purpose. Thus, there are no absolute definitions of malting and brewing quality, due to differences in malting and brewing practices and consumer preferences.
The American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) provides specific quality guidelines for breeders in the US market: http://www.ambainc.org/ni/index.htm
Contract production for malting: specifications are given to growers for grain quality, plump kernels, and protein content.
The malting process
The starch, protein and nucleic acid molecules that are stored in barley grains are not good nutrients for brewing yeast nor do they support the fermentation reactions performed by brewing yeasts. These large and structurally complex compounds must be partially or, in some instances, fully degraded into their component sugars, amino acids, and nucleotides before the yeast can use them. When barley seeds germinate, hydrolytic enzymes are synthesized or converted to active forms that can readily degrade these large compounds.
Malting is controlled sprouting - A complex interaction of genes involved in germination, growth and development.
Steps in malting:
Releases alpha-amylase, beta-amylase, glucosidase, and dextrinase.
These enzymes are temperature stable during drying (kilning).
Changes in kernel composition and enzymes during malting
During malting, the acrospire (the plant shoot) grows along one side of the kernel. As it grows, pre-existing enzymes are released and new enzymes are created in the aleurone layer which "modify" the endosperm (the protein/carbohydrate matrix starch reserve) for the acrospire's use.
Malted barley is the source of the sugars (principally maltose) which are fermented into beer. The grain partially germinates, releasing enzymes in the aleurone layer (outermost layer of the endosperm). New enzymes are created that break down the endosperm's protein/carbohydrate matrix into smaller carbohydrates, amino acids and lipids, and open up the seed's starch reserves. The endosperm is composed of large and small starch granules that are packed in a protein matrix. The cell walls within the matrix holding the starch granules are primarily composed of beta-glucans (a type of cellulose), some pentosans (gummy polysaccharide) and some protein. The degree to which the enzymes unpack the starch granules (i.e. breakdown the endosperm) for use by the growing plant (or brewers) is referred to as the "modification." It refers to all of the polymer-degrading processes that occur during malting.
One visual indicator that a maltster uses to judge the degree of modification is the length of the acrospire which grows underneath the husk. The length of the acrospire in a fully modified malt will typically be 75-100% of the seed length. Drying is used to stop the malting process when the proper balance between resources converted by the acrospire and resources consumed by the acrospire has been achieved.
The purpose of malting is to create these enzymes, break down the matrix surrounding the starch granules, prepare the starches for conversion, and then stop this action until the brewer is ready to utilize the grain. After modification, the green malt is gently dried with heat (kilning) and the acrospire and rootlets are knocked off by tumbling. The kiln drying of the new malt denatures many of the enzymes, but several types remain, including the ones necessary for starch conversion. The amount of enzymatic starch conversion potential that a malt has is referred to as its "diastatic power".
Beta glucans are the soluble dietary fiber component of barley and oat bran. Beta-glucan is thought to have serum cholesterol reducing properties and occurs in highest amounts in the endosperm of barley and oats. Beta-glucan also is important for the malting industry and indicates how well the endosperm is modified. High levels of beta-glucan cause a viscous wort that may cause problems with filtration or hazy beer. Thus, lower levels of beta-glucan are preferred for brewing.
Steps in Brewing
1. Malted barley is soaked in hot water to release the malt sugars.
Mashing - the hot water soaking process that provides the right conditions for the enzymes to convert the grain starches into fermentable sugars. The basic light colored malts such as pale ale malt and pilsener malt need to be mashed to convert the starches into fermentable sugars.
Adjuncts - fermentables not derived from malted barley.
Extract efficiency - typical amount of fermentable and non-fermentable sugars obtained from the grain.
German or US specialty beers use straight barley malt. Most brewers use adjuncts of rice, corn, wheat, or other grits to provide an additional carbohydrate source. Hops are added for ‘bitters’. Yeast is Saccharamyces carlsbergensis, occasionally S. cerevisiae.
The malt is treated with water under appropriate conditions (“mashing”) to obtain an extract (wort) that must perform several critical functions.
A high quality malt will contain the right amount of hydrolytic enzymes and metabolites to fulfill these requirements and will have the right degree of friability to allow many of its components to be readily solubilized during mashing. During malting and mashing, the barley starch should be almost completely degraded into sugars that can be utilized by the brewing yeasts, whereas only about 45% of the barley protein should be solubilized. Too much protein solubilization is thought to result in beers with poor foaming characteristics. When insufficient protein hydrolysis occurs, the remaining proteins may interact with polyphenols to form beer haze precipitates.
Four amylolytic enzymes are generally thought to participate in converting the starch in malted barley into fermentable sugars: these are alpha-amylase, beta-amylase, alpha-glucosidase and limit dextrinase. During brewing, amylase enzymes digest amylose (linear starch) and amylopectin (branched starches) into hexose sugars. The sugars are a nutrient source for the yeast to facilitate fermentation. Sufficient sugars are needed to obtain the desired alcohol level.
Barley Diseases and Pests
Barley is affected by many diseases, most of which are typical of small grain cereals, e.g., rusts (Puccinia spp), smuts (Ustilago spp), root rots (Rhizoctonia, Pythium, Fusarium), bacterial blights and viruses.
In the US, there are fewer problems with disease and insect pests in the western states, where production conditions are drier with low relative humidity.
Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV)
BYDV is spread by several species of aphid. Symptoms can be variable and may be confused with nutrient deficiencies or stress. The severity of the damage will also be variable, depending on the susceptibility of the variety, virulence of the strain, the time of infection, and environmental conditions. The disease is most severe when the weather is cool and moist. The virus can be avoided to some extent by planting very early in the spring or late in the fall. Use of resistant varieties or systemic insecticides also provide control.
Fusarium head blight or scab (FHB)
FHB is a fungus that attacks both wheat and barley. Within the last dozen years there have been outbreaks of FHB in the Midwestern and Eastern states of the USA, as well as in Central and Eastern Canada. FHB is increasingly threatening wheat and barley food supplies worldwide.
There are several Fusarium species that can cause FHB, but the one that has been problematic in the Midwest in recent years is F. graminearum. Spread of the disease is favored by extended wet periods.
The damage due to the pathogen is two-fold. Infested cereals show significant
reduction in seed quality and yield due to discolored, shriveled "tombstone"
kernels, and secondly, scabby grain is often contaminated with mycotoxins
making it unsuitable for food, beer production, or feed.
Barley stripe rust (BSR)
Important insect pests of barley include:
Most of these pests also attack wheat and other cereal crops.
The University of Idaho has developed an on-line key for identification of important insect pests in field crops in the Pacific Northwest (http://info.ag.uidaho.edu/keys/plates/plates_contents.htm).
Genetic Resources and Breeding
There is extensive natural variation in barley, which makes it quite responsive to artificial selection.
Major germplasm collections
In the USA - Feed barley development resides largely in the public sector, whereas development of malt types occurs primarily in the private sector.
Hulless (naked) barley - controlled by a single recessive gene that can be easily incorporated into adapted germplasm. Hulless types are not suitable for malting.
Waxy types - controlled by a single gene that imparts 100% amylopectin starch.
Breeding and selection for malt quality
A common strategy in breeding programs is to breed for good malting quality, with the expectation that resulting varieties will also be good for feed if they do not meet the stringent requirements of the malting industry.
The most common breeding approach is to develop pureline varieties using conventional breeding techniques. At least five generations of self-pollination are required to obtain the desired level of homozygosity, beginning with the F1 cross. At OSU, doubled haploid techniques and tissue culture have been used to rapidly develop homozygous purelines (they are obtained in a single generation from the F1 cross).
Funding for barley improvement
The American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) has been highly successful in securing support through industry support and activities of a full-time director.
For information about barley genetic research and breeding at Oregon State University, see the BarleyWorld website.
There is some evidence that barley straw can be used to control algae in ponds. For information about research on this topic at OSU and for additional links and references, see the BarleyWorld website.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Secale_cereale.html
Although rye does not develop true gluten, it has proteins which give it the capacity for making a nutritious leavened bread. Rye is usually mixed with 25 to 50% wheat flour for bread making.
Plant breeders have created an intergeneric hybrid between rye and wheat known as Triticale. The initial hybrid is sterile, so the chromosomes are doubled to generate a fertile polyploid that can undergo normal meiosis. The goal is to combine the grain quality, productivity, and disease resistance of wheat with the vigor and hardiness of rye.
The most serious diseas of rye is ergot (Claviceps purpurea). This disease affects other cereal crops as well, but rye is particularly susceptible. Ergot produces alkaloids that are toxic to humans and animals, resulting in a disease known as ergotism. Symptoms may vary depending on the prevalence of particular alkaloids. Ergotism is thought to be one of the causal factors of the "Holy Fire" and "St. Anothony's Fire" that were common afflictions of people during the Middle Ages. See http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/faculty/wong/BOT135/LECT12.HTM for more information about the history of ergotism.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Avena_sativa.html
Oats have long been recommended as a good source of soluble dietary fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol. Recent research indicates that oats also contain flavonoid compounds that act as antioxidants and may help to prevent heart disease and cancer.
Hot dry weather just before heading causes heads to blast and yields to decrease. To reduce problems of volunteer oats growing in the subsequent crop, oats should not be followed by another cereal crop. Rotations with non-cereal crops will also help to reduce the incidence of fungal diseases in oats.
Book Club Assignment
Go to the Discussion Board and join in your Book Club discussion (specific reading assignments and questions will be assigned for each book).
Take the quiz on this Unit on the Blackboard.
Remember that the first part of the term paper is due on Saturday, May 6th.
American Malting Barley Association (AMBA). http://www.ambainc.org/
BarleyWorld. 2005. Web site of the Barley project at Oregon State University.
Center for New Crops & Plant Products, Purdue University. 2004. Avena sativa L.
Center for New Crops & Plant Products, Purdue University. 2004.
Secale cereale L.
Hayes, P.M., A. Castro, L. Marquez-Cedillo, A. Corey, C. Henson, B.L. Jones, J. Kling, D. Mather, I. Matus, C. Rossi, and K. Sato. 2003. Genetic diversity for quantitatively inherited agronomic and malting quality traits. In R. von Bothmer, H. Knüpffer, T. van Hintum, and K. Sato (eds.), Diversity in Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam. pdf file
National Barley Foods Council. 2005. BarleyFoods website. http://www.barleyfoods.org/
Nilan, R.A., and S.E. Ullrich. 1993. Barley: Taxonomy, origin, distribution, production, genetics, and breeding. In W. MacGregor and R.S. Bhatty (eds.) Barley chemistry and technology. American Association of Cereal Chemists, Inc., St. Paul, MN.
US Barley Genome Project. 2005.
Oelke, E.A., E.S. Oplinger, H. Bahri, B. R. Durgan, D. H. Putnam, J.D.
Doll, and K.A. Kelling. 1990. Rye. Alternative Field Crops Manual. University
of Wisconsin Cooperative Exension and the University of Minnesota Extension
Oregon State University Extension Service. On-line guide to disease control.
Palmer, J. 1999. How to Brew. http://www.howtobrew.com/
Washington Barley Commission. 2005. http://www.washingtonbarley.org/mainset.html