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Bringhurst T.A.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute
Journal of the Institute of Brewing

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. Source

Agu R.C.,The Scotch Whisky Research Institute | Palmer G.H.,Heriot - Watt University
Journal of the Institute of Brewing

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. Source

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

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. Source

Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 77.37K | 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.

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

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. Source

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