Oxygen deficiency in barley (Hordeum vulgare) grain during malting

Annika Wilhelmson (Corresponding Author), Arja Laitila, Arvi Vilpola, Juhani Olkku, Erja Kotaviita, Kurt Fagerstedt, Silja Home

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The steep water is generally aerated in industrial barley malting. However, it is questionable whether oxygen actually reaches the embryo, which remains entrapped under the husk, testa, and pericarp until chitting occurs. The aim of our study was to investigate whether barley embryos experience oxygen deficiency during steeping, and whether various steeping conditions affect the oxygen deficiency. Alcohol dehydrogenase Adh2 was induced in all steeping conditions studied. Therefore, oxygen deficiency occurred regardless of the steeping conditions. However, steeping conditions affected the rate of recovery from oxygen deficiency, germination rate, and onset of α-amylase production. When barley was subjected to oxygen deficiency by applying N2 gas during steeping, the timing of the treatment determined its effects. The importance of aeration increased as the process proceeded. Oxygen deprivation at the beginning of the process had little effect on malt quality. Therefore, the timing of aeration is important in the optimization of germination during the steeping stage of malting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-416
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Hordeum vulgare
  • Poaceae
  • barley
  • germination
  • steeping
  • oxygen deficiency
  • alcohol dehydrogenase
  • ethanol detection

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