Paper of the Month: Fungal community structure of barley malts

Barley malt is the primary ingredient for creation of beer and whiskey.

To obtain premium quality products a good understanding of factors that affect malt quality are required.

Previous research has shown that microbial communities dwelling on field barley malt can affect the quality of the downstream product including safety (e.g. mycotoxins),fermentation consistency, and product stability.

Currently, little is known about the global picture of microbial communities found on barley malt. The objective of the published study was to benchmark Australian-grown barley malt with its international counterparts.

In a study led by Dr Mandeep Kaur, molecular techniques were used to compare malt associated microbial communities from across the world and Australia.

The data indicated that distinct differences occur between samples from different geographical regions.

These differences were largely associated with fungal communities. Furthermore, the contribution of malt enzymes and moisture, indicators of malt quality, correlated to differences in fungal communities in the samples studied.

Further research into malt quality should ideally focus more on the influence of fungal species, especially when problems occur in end-product quality.

Citation: Kaur M, Bowman JP, Stewart DC, Evans DE, 'The fungal community structure of barley malts from diverse geographical regions correlates with malt quality parameters', International Journal of Food Microbiology, 215 pp. 71-78. ISSN 0168-1605 (2015)

View the full paper (PDF)

Published on: 24 Feb 2016 2:50pm