Pink kernels in malting barley - causes and correlations to gushing in beer production

Last changed: 21 April 2021
A green bottle that has skimmed over. The bottle stands outdoors on a blue table. Photo.

Malting barley grown for the beer brewing industry must fulfil a quality criterion of less than 0.1% pink kernels in the seed lot. This criterion is used to avoid presence of Fusarium fungi and problems with gushing later in the process. Here, we will study causes of pink kernels in malting barley and how various factors correlate with gushing.

 The threshold has been questioned due to the risk that too many seed lots are downgraded, causing economic losses for farmers and the grain industry. A current lack of reliable information hinders the development of recommendations to farmers on how to avoid downgraded seed lots.

What causes pink kernels?

In this project, we will study causes of pink kernels in malting barley and how various factors correlate with gushing. This will be done through targeted sampling of seed lots downgraded due to too high occurrence of pink kernels, and analyses of factors suggested to be of importance for gushing.

We will study the amount of fungi in the samples, describe the structure and composition of the fungal community, and the presence of a hydrophobin gene suggested to be of special importance for gushing. Results will be linked to visual assessment of the seed lot and the risk for gushing in order to find the most important factors for presence of pink kernels and gushing.

Developing better analyses and advice to growers

In a specific sub-project, we will study possible development of current analyses or introduction of new analyses for quality assessment of malting barley. Improved knowledge on causes and consequences of factors of importance for gushing is a prerequisite to develop better analyses and advice to growers.

Facts:

The project is financed by Lantmännen research foundation and is a collaboration between SLU, Hushållningssällskapet and Cgrain AB.

Page editor: cajsa.lithell@slu.se