Indigenous microbial community of barley greatly influences grain germination and malt quality

Arja Laitila (Corresponding Author), Erja Kotaviita, Petri Peltola, Silja Home, Annika Wilhelmson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    53 Citations (Scopus)


    The present study was carried out to investigate the impacts of bacterial and fungal communities on grain germination and on the malting properties of good-quality two-row barley. In order to suppress the growth of bacterial and/or fungal communities, various antibiotics were added to the first steeping water of barley. This study was also designed to explore the dynamics of the bacterial community in the malting process after antimicrobial treatments by polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE). The diverse microbial community played an active role in the malting ecosystem. Even previously undescribed bacterial species were found in the malting ecosystem. Suppression of the bacterial community mainly consisting of Gram-negative bacteria was advantageous with respect to grain germination and wort separation. In addition, more extract was obtained after antibacterial treatments. The fungal community significantly contributed to the production of microbial ß- glucanases and xylanases, and was also involved in proteolysis. An improved understanding of the complex microbial community and its role in malting enables a more controlled process management and the production of high quality malt with tailored properties.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9-20
    JournalJournal of the Institute of Brewing
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • bacteria
    • barley
    • fungi
    • malt quality
    • malting
    • PCR-DGGE


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