Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics


Location: Cereal Crops Research

2011 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. We completed proteinase assays and malting quality analyses of multiple genetic collections of barley in order to identify the genetic links between proteinase activity and malting quality. Specifically, we measured three proteinase classes (cysteine-, serine-, and metallo-types) in green and kilned malt, from the 960 breeder submissions from the 2009 Crop Year for the Barley Coordinated Agricultural Project. This provides information on protein mobilizing enzyme activities in representatives from all 10 public sector barley breeding programs in the US. In addition, we completed comparable analyses for over 300 lines in a Recombinant Chromosome Substitution Line population derived from a Harrington by H. spontaneum (malting type by wild barley landrace) cross to associate proteinase activity and malting quality with chromosome segments from the wild barley introgressed into a malting barley background. Novel malting quality measurement methodology. We completed development of reduced-scale methodologies for preparing representative malts from breeding programs using approximately 99% less grain, while increasing throughput 3-fold. The malting method uses the strategy of surrounding small packets from individual barley lines with a quantity of bulk carrier grain. This allows the small amounts of individual lines to experience the environmental conditions (temperature, moisture, airflow, orientation, O2, CO2) of the bulk grain without edge effects, resulting in malt with properties comparable to that from the lines malted in standard quantities. This methodology completes a comprehensive suite of malting quality analysis procedures that are better suited for germplasm screening (the bulk of the barley samples processed annually by ARS Researchers in Madison, Wisconsin) than the traditional full-scale quality analysis (QA) methods. Malting QA support. Our QA program malted and analyzed over 5000 barley samples for US public sector barley breeding programs and other stakeholders in routine operation. In addition, approximately 1000 additional barley samples were malted and analyzed using the reduced-scale methodology developed in research described above, demonstrating the methods' feasibility and utility for a malting quality screening program.

4. Accomplishments
1. Small-scale malt analysis methods allow improved efficiency for malting quality analysis for stakeholders. Malting quality analysis capacity to support stakeholders is at its maximum capacity, potentially constraining future development of improved malting barley varieties. ARS researchers in Madison, Wisconsin, have developed a suite of small-scale malting, mashing, and malting quality analysis methods that provides useful malting quality data with approximately 3x greater throughput, with no increase in staff levels compared to current methodology. The increased capacity provides multiple benefits to barley breeders and basic researchers, including faster return of quality analysis (QA) data to breeders, capability of providing a larger portion of desired QA data during a key interval between breeding seasons, and an ability to provide a rapid prescreen of key QA attributes to identify samples that could be eliminated from further analysis. The more efficient, higher throughput QA methods developed allow us to provide increased support to barley breeders in phenotyping malting quality attributes for new malting barley varieties that are adapted to agricultural growing conditions and satisfy US brewer and consumer preferences.

Review Publications
Schmitt, M., Budde, A.D. 2010. Making the cut: options for making initial evaluations of malting quality in barley. Journal of American Society of Brewing Chemists. 68:(4):183-194.

Munoz-Amatriain, M., Xiong, Y., Schmitt, M., Bilgic, H., Budde, A.D., Chao, S., Smith, K., Muehlbauer, G. 2010. Transcriptome analysis of a breeding program pedigree examines gene expression diversity and reveals target genes for malting quality improvement. Biomed Central (BMC) Genomics. 11:653.

Castro, A., Petrie, S., Budde, A.D., Corey, A., Hayes, P., Kling, J., Rhinhart, K. 2008. Variety and N management effect on grain yield and quality of winter barley. Crop Management. Available:

Smith, K.P., Rasmusson, D.C., Schiefelbein, E., Wiersma, J.J., Wiersma, J.V., Budde, A.D., Dill-Macky, R., Steffenson, B. 2010. Registration of 'Rasmusson' Barley. Journal of Plant Registrations. 4:167-170.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page