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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Identifying the Next Generation of Malting Barley Through Improved Selection Criteria and Quality Analysis of Breeding Lines

Location: Cereal Crops Research

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1. Identify, develop, validate, and implement new measurements of malting quality, especially those relating to protein mobilization during germination, in barley germplasm in order to identify those genotypes showing enhanced malting quality attributes. Objective 2. Apply standard malting quality assessments to germplasm submitted by collaborating public sector barley breeding programs, researchers, and other stakeholder organizations in order to identify new (barley) varieties with suitable malting quality attributes.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Surveying populations that have been extensively genotyped and mapped for malting quality will allow us to generate datasets that include process (proteinase activity), phenotype (malting quality), and genotype (>3000 SNP loci) information. Examining a range of barley genetic resources will enable us to use that genetic diversity to identify fundamental processes underlying malting quality. We will use this information to identify new targets and develop additional mechanisms to screen for improved malting barley genotypes. The new screening mechanisms may involve biochemical measurements that we could implement in our malting quality analysis program. Alternatively, the new tests could utilize genetic tools that breeders could incorporate into their own germplasm characterization, simplifying and streamlining their malting quality selection process.


3.Progress Report:
Fundamental basis of malting quality research. Data from proteinase activity assays and malting quality analyses on approximately 300 lines from a recombinant chromosomal substitution line population where discrete chromosome segments from wild barley were introduced into a background of a high quality malting barley (c.v. Harrington) has been analyzed.

Malting, mashing and analysis of approximately 1000 submissions from the 2012 crop year to the Malting Quality program solely using the novel micro-scale QA methods is nearing completion (approximately 900 samples processed, completion expected 10/2013). This project further documents the utility/predictability of the small scale methods as an alternative route to providing initial QA data to collaborating barley breeders, increasing their acceptance of the methodologies.

Malting quality analysis support. The Cereal Crops Research Unit (Madison, WI) QA malting and analysis team again processed over 5000 samples submitted from a variety of stakeholders including barley breeders, malting barley trade association, various researchers, and a number of maltsters (for quality control analysis).


4.Accomplishments
1. Mapping malting quality in barley. ARS researchers at Madison, WI, have contributed to a database combining a suite of malting quality attributes, proteinase activity assays and chromosomal location using a Recombinant Chromosomal Substitution Library (RCSL). This RCSL consists of approximately 300 lines that were generated by introducing chromosome segments from wild barley into a widely used malting barley variety (Harrington). This results in lines containing fragments of the wild barley genome inserted at a few locations in a genome that is otherwise identical to the malting varliety. It is then possible to associate changes in malting quality and/or proteinase activity with genes that are mapped to specific segments. Since there is so little known at present about importance of individual proteinases affecting malting quality, these data will identify potential targets that may be useful in selecting improved malting varieties. Additionally, this will enhance our understanding of the fundamental processes that effect the malting quality phenotype. Both of these advances (identifying targets for improved selection of new malting barley, and improvement in basic knowledge) will help development of new malting barley varieties through improved germplasm selection practices benefitting barley producers, maltsters and brewers.

2. Analysis of malting quality in breeding lines and for regional and specialty nurseries. ARS staff at Madison, WI, malted and analyzed the malting quality of over 5,000 submissions from malting barley breeders and industry stakeholders. This provided critical malting quality data enabling university- and ARS-based malting barley breeders to identify barley lines with improved malting quality potential. The Cereal Crops Research Unit is the single location in the U.S. providing the malting and malting quality analysis results for public sector barley breeding programs and other stakeholders such as the malting barley trade association. The provision of malting quality analysis data will continue to drive the identification of new malting barley varieties meeting current needs for improved disease resistance (Fusarium Blight, Stem Rust), malting quality, or environmental stress resistance.


Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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