The Scotch Whisky Research Institute

Riccarton, United Kingdom

The Scotch Whisky Research Institute

Riccarton, United Kingdom
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Agu R.C.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute | Palmer G.H.,Heriot - Watt University
Journal of the Institute of Brewing | Year: 2013

Studies on the malting physiology of barley have led to similar studies on millet and sorghum. This study compares the outcomes of the malting physiology of millet, sorghum and barley. Results show that optimal development of diastatic power, soluble nitrogen, hot water extract and the wide range of amino acids of these three cereals is related to optimal malting conditions and appropriate mashing procedures. Transfer of the nitrogen/extract/soluble nitrogen/diastatic concepts of barley malt do not apply to millet and sorghum. However, all the cereals studied produced the range of amino acids required by yeast for fermentation. Sorghum malt released the highest amounts of group 1 amino acids, usually taken up faster by yeast. It also produced and released the highest amounts of amino acids, classified as group 2, which are assimilated more slowly than group 1 amino acids. It also produced and released more of the amino acids that are slowest to be assimilated during fermentation, as well as very high levels of proline. Optic barley malt produced and released the least amount of proline. The fate of proline during yeast fermentation is not clear, but it is believed that proline is not utilized during fermentation. © 2013 The Institute of Brewing & Distilling.

Awole K.D.,Harper Adams University College | Kettlewell P.S.,Harper Adams University College | Hare M.C.,Harper Adams University College | Agu R.C.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute | And 2 more authors.
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture | Year: 2012

Background: Following the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), there is an increasing demand for wheat grain for liquid biofuel in the UK. In order to enhance productivity of the bioethanol industry, good quality wheat must be used. Results: A total of 84 grain samples comprising 14 varieties collected from 11 sites in two harvest years were analysed for a range of grain quality parameters and ethanol yield (EY). The grain quality parameters studied were starch and protein concentration, specific weight, grain density, packing efficiency, thousand-grain weight (TGW), grain length, width, length/width ratio and hardness index. Regression analysis was used to establish the relationships between grain quality parameters and EY. Apart from grain length and density, all grain parameters had significant relationships with EY. In the order of importance, protein concentration, TGW, packing efficiency and specific weight showed good relationships with EY. All other parameters, including starch concentration, showed a poor correlation with EY. EY and the relationship with the grain parameters were affected more by environment than by variety. Some sites gave consistently higher EY than others. When site and variety were considered with TGW and protein, a good prediction of EY could be made (variance accounted for = 87%). Conclusion: Combining TGW and protein concentration could be a better indicator of EY than the current practice of specific weight and protein. © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry.

PubMed | The Scotch Whisky Research Institute, Rothamsted Research and University of Reading
Type: | Journal: Food chemistry | Year: 2016

Laboratory produced DDGS samples were compared with commercial samples from a distillery and a biofuel plant. Changes in structure, solubility and content of arabinoxylan (AX) was determined. The distillation process results in a relative increase of AX content compared to the starting material. The heating and drying processes involved in the production of DDGS lead to an increased solubility and viscosity of water-extractable AX. Production of DDGS results in structural changes to the AX. There is a decrease in 2- and 3-linked arabinose oligosaccharides, that contributes to around a 50% reduction in arabinosylation in DDGS compared with the starting grains. The current study shows that laboratory-scale DDGS provide an accurate representation of the commercial scale and that the AX composition of DDGS is consistently uniform irrespective of starting material. The uniformity of DDGS and thin stillage makes them a good potential source of AX for production of prebiotics or other novel products.

Jack F.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute | Bostock J.,Elentec Ltd | Tito D.,Elentec Ltd | Harrison B.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute | Brosnan J.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute
Journal of the Institute of Brewing | Year: 2014

Electrocoagulation, an electrochemical technique used to remove heavy metals from wastewaters, was explored in relation to its potential to remove copper from distillery waste streams. An initial laboratory-scale study demonstrated that copper in spent lees could be reduced by up to 95% using electrocoagulation. Copper could not be removed from caustic washwater, as passivation of the electrodes meant that no floc was formed. However, the washwaters could be treated if mixed with spent lees, with an 80% reduction in copper being obtained. The electrocoagulation system was scaled up and its performance evaluated in a trial at a large Scotch malt whisky distillery. Copper reductions of 88% were achieved at low power consumption (34 W h/m3), while at 112 W h/m3 residual copper levels were reduced by 96%. This trial was carried out at a flow rate of 1000 L/h, demonstrating that the technology could readily handle the volumes and flow rates required in practice. Both the capital and running costs of an electrocoagulation system are low, while the technique presents other advantages over the existing copper removal technologies currently in use in the distilled spirits sector. © 2014 The Institute of Brewing & Distilling.

Nasidi M.,University of Abertay Dundee | Agu R.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute | Deeni Y.,University of Abertay Dundee | Walker G.,University of Abertay Dundee
Biomass and Bioenergy | Year: 2015

For improved production of ethanol from whole sorghum residues, physico-chemical compositions and fermentation characteristics of the substrates are important factors to consider. In the present study, Nigerian sorghum cultivars SSV2, KSV8 and KSV3 were grown under rain-fed conditions without chemical fertilization in Kano state, Nigeria. On harvest, the whole sorghum residues (bagasse) comprising crushed stalks, leaves, panicles and peduncles were collected for further processing. Bagasse samples, which had different macromolecular composition and carbohydrate pasting properties, were pre-treated with dilute sulphuric acid at 75°C followed by enzymatic hydrolysis and sequential detoxification by Ca(OH)2 over-liming and charcoal filtration. Hydrolysate samples were subsequently fermented with the yeasts, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Pachysolen tannophilus. Sugar consumption, carbon dioxide evolution and ethanol production were shown to vary depending on the sorghum cultivar type. While KSV3 yielded most favourable biomass of 37tha-1 (dry basis), bagasse from cultivar SSV2 yielded the most favourable level of sugars (69g/100g) after enzymatic hydrolysis, and also consistently exhibited improved fermentation performance. Detoxification of pre-treated sorghum bagasse to remove potential yeast inhibitors resulted in improvement in ethanol yield, with 23gL-1 ethanol (representing 72% of theoretical yield) being achieved from SSV2 bagasse following fermentation with P. tannophilus without exogenous nutrient supplementation. Our findings reveal that the choice of sorghum cultivar is important when converting bagasse to ethanol, and further that pretreatment with dilute acid at moderate temperature followed by detoxification improves fermentation kinetics and ethanol yield. tannophilus than S. cerevisiae without supplementation. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Swanston J.S.,James Hutton Institute | Smith P.L.,James Hutton Institute | Agu R.C.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute | Brosnan J.M.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute | And 2 more authors.
Field Crops Research | Year: 2012

Twelve soft-milling wheat varieties were grown, over a total of 12 environments, trials being sown in three locations, in two seasons, both with and without nitrogen fertiliser (N) application. Grain protein and hardness levels were assessed on all samples and initial analysis showed highly significant effects of variety, site, season and N-rate on both characters. The environments differed widely for mean protein and hardness levels and the response of the individual varieties was assessed by linear regression of their protein and hardness values on the mean value of all twelve varieties, in each environment. For protein, there were very strong correlations between the environment means and the means of the individual varieties, but there were also slight differences in stability across environments, with varieties like Claire showing a tendency to accumulate more grain protein at sites characterised by higher protein levels. At sites with highest grain hardness, Ambrosia and Kipling, which both carry the 1B/1R translocation, had much harder grain than the other varieties. Correlations, across varieties, between grain protein and hardness were significant in only some environments. It was concluded that grain hardness could be a useful additional parameter for assessing both breeding lines and distillery intake samples, while further research should consider variation in grain texture and its genetic control. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Bringhurst T.A.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute
Journal of the Institute of Brewing | Year: 2015

Human experience with barley has been well established for several millennia and barley research has been fundamental to our understanding of raw materials for malting, brewing and distilling. Distillers have long been indebted to malting, brewing and distilling researchers for information on barley (and malt) relevant to their operations. Originally distilling barley research was focussed on the parameters defining barley quality and plant performance, but it has developed to further our understanding of the properties and genetics of barley and malt. Through the years, several strategic milestones can be identified showing a progression of related research themes, culminating in our current state of knowledge of barley. These include the development of the fermentability method, together with the biochemistry and enzymology underlying starch and cell wall hydrolysis, which resulted in a greater understanding of processing properties and subsequent improvements in performance. Ethyl carbamate is a barley-derived carcinogen present in a range of potable spirits, which has been a concern for distillers; the identification of the genetic marker for the barley precursor epiheterodendrin laid the foundations for the application of modern (non-GMO) genetics to developing improved barley varieties, which will benefit the whole supply chain. Together these approaches underline the mutual interdependence of applied research and genetic approaches in achieving substantial advances in our knowledge. © 2015 The Institute of Brewing & Distilling.

Agu R.C.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute | Bringhurst T.A.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute | Brosnan J.M.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute
Journal of the Institute of Brewing | Year: 2012

The malting performance of two different batches of Oxbridge barley was studied. The study showed that a single 24 h continuous laboratory steep was suitable for steeping the two batches of Oxbridge to provide good quality malt. Although each batch represented the same variety, and was of similar malting quality, they behaved differently in terms of friability scores, filtration rate and predicted spirit yield (PSY) by day 4 of the germination period. Worts prepared from the two malts gave different patterns of filtration rates, showing that each batch of Oxbridge modified at a different rate and in a different way, although they achieved similar final PSY results at the end of the malting period. The two batches of Oxbridge both malted rapidly, but behaved differently in terms of modification pattern, as revealed by the Rapid Visco-Analysis peak viscosities, as well visual germination results. The results of this study confirmed that, given the same malting conditions, batch 1 germinated more rapidly than batch 2, and supports the view that Oxbridge shows some inconsistency as a malting barley variety. The study further showed that the PSY result per se is not necessarily a good indicator of optimum modification of finished malted barley. This study showed that, while a particular barley variety, such as Oxbridge, may be associated with certain qualities and can produce good quality malt when a short steeping cycle is used, other factors are likely to cause batch-to-batch variations from the same barley variety. While the short steeping cycle was very successful in producing high-quality laboratory malt from Oxbridge, and results in a significant reduction of the quantity of water required for steeping, reduces malting time and also saves costs, there is evidence that there may be some additional variability associated with Oxbridge malting barley. © 2012 The Institute of Brewing & Distilling.

Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 629.33K | Year: 2013

Scotch whisky casks lose 2% of their alcohol content each year through evaporation. This represents a financial loss and an increased environmental pressure through larger raw material and water demand. However, these losses are an essential part of maturation as the whisky interacts with cask wood and the Scottish environment. Recent research has shown that the whisky warehouse can influence the losses from maturation casks. This project will combine industry led maturation research from the Scotch Whisky Research Institute with expertise in building modelling and engineering from the Building Research Establishment to provide distillers with ways to reduce alcohol losses through building design. This unique collaboration will create warehouse specifications applicable to new builds and current stock that will be commercially viable and will not affect spirit quality.

Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 16.74K | Year: 2016

A new collaboration beween industry and academics has been funded which aims to utilise a novel non- GM approach to improve a major UK crop. The project, which involves Rothamsted Research and two industrial partners, The Scotch Whisky Research Institute and Limagrain UK, will run from 2015-2018. A successful outcome will demonstrate the potential to greatly accelerate development of novel varieties of crops for different end uses.

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