Quantcast

Better Barley To Boost Beer Ingredient

Aussie Home Brewer

Help Support Aussie Home Brewer:

johnno

It's YUMMY
Joined
15/7/03
Messages
2,800
Reaction score
6
From The Age.


Trust Australians to find a way of driving the beer-making dollar further.

Stock feed is being transformed into a top shelf beer ingredient in a project that could also boost Australia's $1 billion barley exports.

Researchers at the Molecular Plant Breeding Cooperative Research Centre in Adelaide have used DNA technology to turn hardy feed barley into premium malting plants that are good enough to use to make high quality beer.

"It's a noble goal," said research team leader Jason Eglinton, from the University of Adelaide.

"What started out as almost an academic, blue sky type project is actually giving us some very encouraging results and we could get a viable commercial product out of it."

It all comes down to understanding the genetic makeup of barley.

The properties of the grain that make it good for malting and brewing have their heritage in Europe, Japan and North America, but varieties from those areas do not cope well with Australia's hostile soils and climates.


Feed barley, on the other hand, has its origins in the Middle East and Africa and is much better suited to Australia's harsh conditions.

Previous research has focused on improving the difficult-to-grow malting varieties in Australia, but Dr Eglington's team took a different approach to take "a shot at the best of both worlds".

Researchers crossed the malting varieties with feed barley and used DNA technology to incorporate the malting quality genes in the plants.

But they also kept all the feed barley's best qualities like its disease resistance and strong yield, eventually coming up with varieties which could suit both farmers and export customers.

After four years of DNA analysis in laboratories, this year the team has new varieties in field trials in 14 sites across Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and NSW.

"We can really start to see the results of this in terms of the lines performing well in the field," Dr Eglinton said.

"Based on their DNA profiles we know that they carry the genes of interest so they will be good for malting and brewing quality.

"So we're starting to get towards the pointy end of the process."

And those plants are not just carrying any old genes. The scientists have taken the best varieties from Canada, Europe and Japan and combined them into the feed barley.

Molecular markers are used to identify whether the necessary genes are in the new plant, pointing to regions on the barley plant's chromosomes that tell whether it has the necessary malting abilities.

Around 100 potential commercial varieties are in the field now and close to 1,000 varieties are part of the next generation which will be culled down to the best performers.

Dr Eglinton said farmers' returns could be boosted by as much as 30 per cent by combining the higher yields of feed barley with malting varieties which attract higher prices.

There also strong opportunities to boost exports, with China's malting barley market booming as the country's east coast breweries struggle to meet rising consumption by newly-affluent workers.

Australia grows about seven million tonnes of barley a year on 3.5 million hectares, mainly in southern Australia. Barley exports earned $1.4 billion in 2004-05.

The research is being funded by barley marketer ABB Grain Ltd.
 

Duff

Worst Website Ever....
Joined
8/6/04
Messages
2,041
Reaction score
6
That's exactly what we are doing here as well with barley. My Indian room mate I share an office with is using molecular genetics to identify disease resistant genes which are then transferred into new lines for quality improvement. He's doing some real nice work but it's quite distracting when he brings some of the new varieties into the office to show off! I just can't stop thinking about what I could make with them. :chug:
 

Snow

Beer me up, Scotty!
Joined
20/12/02
Messages
2,349
Reaction score
152
Sounds interesting, but I'm afraid I still say a big NO to GM food :angry:

- Snow
 

nonicman

Slack Brewery
Joined
20/7/04
Messages
845
Reaction score
1
Snow said:
Sounds interesting, but I'm afraid I still say a big NO to GM food :angry:

- Snow
[post="81377"][/post]​
Have to agree, sounds good, but I doubt I'd touch it with a 40 foot barge pole.
 

Duff

Worst Website Ever....
Joined
8/6/04
Messages
2,041
Reaction score
6
nonicman said:
Snow said:
Sounds interesting, but I'm afraid I still say a big NO to GM food :angry:

- Snow
[post="81377"][/post]​
Have to agree, sounds good, but I doubt I'd touch it with a 40 foot barge pole.
[post="81379"][/post]​
Thing is guys, you're eating it already if you consume wheat in your diet. I know I'd rather prefer a genetic study/improvement of a plant if it means a natural resistance to a pest or disease, compared to a farmer heading out and spraying their crops with pesticides.
 

big d

Hopaholic
Joined
3/6/03
Messages
3,449
Reaction score
3
not sure of aussie content laws but i would be surprised if we get gm markings on grain bags.

cheers
big d
 

nonicman

Slack Brewery
Joined
20/7/04
Messages
845
Reaction score
1
I hope the wheat products in Australia are not all GM, might be the biggest bust in agri-history :lol:
Not totally sure on the exact figure but it is either 1% or less GM component of a product requires labelling.
Quote from back slapping FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) survey.

The review found:

* Although Australian and New Zealand were among the first countries in the world to adopt mandatory GM food labelling, these requirements remain among the most comprehensive, both in scope and breadth of capture, of any country in the world.

* In Australia and New Zealand the majority of consumers welcome mandatory labelling of GM food so that they can make informed purchasing decisions. Consumers in other countries also hold these views.

* Two separate compliance surveys conducted by enforcement authorities in Australia and New Zealand and finalised in 2003 found a high level of industry compliance with the labelling requirements. Of the 168 products tested, all but one was considered to be compliant with labelling requirements. The non-compliant product was identified in the New Zealand survey and enforcement action was initiated with the product being recalled and the labelling rectified.

* The surveys demonstrate that the labelling requirements can be effectively enforced using strategies which examine compliance plans and documentation held by manufacturers, and supplemented by product testing where appropriate.

* International regulations for the labelling of GM foods vary markedly from country to country. For example, the EU permits accidental contamination of foods with small amounts of unapproved GM commodities in the food supply while Australia and New Zealand does not permit any unapproved GM commodities for sale or use in the food supply.

A copy of the full review can be found on the FSANZ website www.foodstandards.gov.au .
source of above information
 

Spun

Active Member
Joined
27/4/05
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Would this even count as GM? Afterall they only added genes from barley varieties to other barley varieties, it doesn't seem to different from old school breeding - just more efficient.
 

Snow

Beer me up, Scotty!
Joined
20/12/02
Messages
2,349
Reaction score
152
Duff said:
nonicman said:
Snow said:
Sounds interesting, but I'm afraid I still say a big NO to GM food :angry:

- Snow
[post="81377"][/post]​
Have to agree, sounds good, but I doubt I'd touch it with a 40 foot barge pole.
[post="81379"][/post]​
Thing is guys, you're eating it already if you consume wheat in your diet. I know I'd rather prefer a genetic study/improvement of a plant if it means a natural resistance to a pest or disease, compared to a farmer heading out and spraying their crops with pesticides.
[post="81396"][/post]​
Duff,

the point is genetically modifying crops is NOT a natural way to resist pests or disease. Employing sustainable agricultural methods such as growing pest barrier crops alongside the cash crop is a natural way of doing it. Unfortunately I think the widespread use of GM crops is inevitable, given population increases, but I still think we should be limiting it's use to essential food crops only [dons flamesuit :ph34r: ] and not to make beer barley out of stock feed.

Cheers - Snow
 

Duff

Worst Website Ever....
Joined
8/6/04
Messages
2,041
Reaction score
6
Snow said:
Duff said:
nonicman said:
Snow said:
Sounds interesting, but I'm afraid I still say a big NO to GM food :angry:

- Snow
[post="81377"][/post]​
Have to agree, sounds good, but I doubt I'd touch it with a 40 foot barge pole.
[post="81379"][/post]​
Thing is guys, you're eating it already if you consume wheat in your diet. I know I'd rather prefer a genetic study/improvement of a plant if it means a natural resistance to a pest or disease, compared to a farmer heading out and spraying their crops with pesticides.
[post="81396"][/post]​
Duff,

the point is genetically modifying crops is NOT a natural way to resist pests or disease. Employing sustainable agricultural methods such as growing pest barrier crops alongside the cash crop is a natural way of doing it. Unfortunately I think the widespread use of GM crops is inevitable, given population increases, but I still think we should be limiting it's use to essential food crops only [dons flamesuit :ph34r: ] and not to make beer barley out of stock feed.

Cheers - Snow
[post="81527"][/post]​

Snow,

I respect your opinion as well as the others expressed thus far. However, given that disease spores can float thousands of kilometres carried by winds, pest barrier crops will not prevent disease control in the cash crop. If researchers can utilise the genes providing disease resistance in naturally occuring varieties of any plant species, this IMO can only be of benefit to the wider environment.

We could go back and forth all day on the topic but as you noted, GM crops are inevitable. I trust you understand my point of view.

Cheers - Brett.
 

nonicman

Slack Brewery
Joined
20/7/04
Messages
845
Reaction score
1
One of my main objections to GM (GE) crops is the economic and social costs envolved with the application of Intellectual Property to food crops. This impacts in many ways from farmers not being able grow and store seed for the next crop, with GM products the farmer is tied to the licence agreement with the GM seed vendor (worst case of this are the laws passed in Iraq restricting farmers from storing seed).
When licencing is factored in GM crops can end up costing more than conventual crops. Some GM crops are designed to work with herbicides that were once illegal to use on food crops (when I was spraying Roundup for BHP in the early-mid nineties it was illegal to spray this within 200 metres of a food crop, with the importation of GM contaminated Roundup Ready Soybeans from the US, this rule was quietly dropped after diplomatic and corporate preassure.).
The other factors are the impacts of contamination on standard crops, e.g pollination of a organic crop with windborne pollin can turn a profitable crop into a worthless paddock, or even worse (this has happened) the standard or organic farmer being sued for licence fees by the holder of the GM product that has infected a non-GM farm.
The science is interesting, however the economics and social side do not stack up at this point in time.
 
Top