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Title: Grain composition of Virginia winter barley and implications for use in feed, food, and biofuels production

item GRIFFEY, CARL - Virginia State University
item BROOKS, WYNSE - Virginia State University
item Kurantz, Michael
item THOMASON, WADE - Virginia State University
item Taylor, Frank
item Obert, Donald
item Moreau, Robert
item FLORES, ROLANDO - University Of Nebraska
item Sohn, Mi Ryeong
item Hicks, Kevin

Submitted to: Journal of Cereal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/28/2009
Publication Date: 1/10/2010
Citation: Griffey, C., Brooks, W., Kurantz, M.J., Thomason, W., Taylor, F., Obert, D.E., Moreau, R.A., Flores, R., Sohn, M., Hicks, K.B. 2010. Grain composition of Virginia winter barley and implications for use in feed, food, and biofuels production. Journal of Cereal Science. 51:41-49.

Interpretive Summary: In 2001, farmers and agricultural business groups in the Mid Atlantic States wanted to build fuel ethanol plants in their region to avoid the cost and energy required for shipping fuel ethanol all the way from the Midwest to the East Coast markets. At the time, corn (starch) was the only ethanol feedstock that was technically and economically feasible for use in fuel ethanol plants. Unfortunately, the Mid Atlantic states are “corn deficit” and actually import more corn than they produce. A collaboration between small grain breeders at Virginia Tech University and scientists at the Eastern Regional Research Center was developed for the purpose of developing new varieties of winter barley that could be grown by Mid Atlantic farmers as a new regional feedstock for ethanol production. The goal was to develop varieties of winter barley that had high starch and protein content and low levels of non-fermentable fiber. These “energy” varieties should also have good disease resistance and high agronomic yields and should be capable of being grown on winter-fallow land that would not otherwise be used, thus not competing with feed and food production during the normal summer seasons. After 9 years of collaborative research, the researchers developed many new experimental lines of barley and their chemical composition and agronomic properties were determined. The results of these studies show that several new lines of barley have high agronomic yields and good composition for fuel ethanol production. These lines are now being used by breeders to release commercial varieties of barley that will be grown by Mid Atlantic farmers to supply regional winter barley ethanol plants. Growers, ethanol plant owners, and the regional rural economy will all benefit from this research.

Technical Abstract: Grain compositional components impacting barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) use in food, feed and fuel products, must be combined with improved gronomic traits to produce a commercially viable barley cultivar. Little current information is available on grain composition and variability among winter barley genotypes. This study was conducted to determine the variability among modern hulled and hulless winter barley genotypes in grain composition. Barley types varied significantly in grain and kernel weight, starch, beta-glucan, oil and ash content, but not in protein concentration. Hulless barley had significantly higher grain test weight and starch concentration than hulled and malting types, and significantly higher beta-glucan than malting barley. Hulless barley had significantly lower kernel weights, oil, and ash concentrations than hulled and malting types. Higher starch and lower fiber and ash in grain of hulless barley versus hulled feed or malting type barley are characteristics that increase hulless barley desirability. Selection for high starch concentration among all barley types is feasible and will facilitate development of barley cultivars better suited for use in feed, malt, and ethanol production.