Oxygen deficiency in germinating barley

Annika Wilhelmson, Arja Laitila, Juhani Olkku, Erja Kotaviita, Arvi Vilpola, K. Fagerstedt, Silja Home

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


    Ethanol can be found in the gaseous atmosphere at the beginning of industrial scale malting, indicating fermentative metabolism. While it is neither possible nor necessary to avoid the fermentative phase completely, a prolonged fermentative phase may increase malting losses and impair malt quality. This work was undertaken to study the effect of processing conditions on the oxygen deficiency in barley. Ethanol production was always detected at the beginning of malting, in all steeping conditions. During the steeping phase, germinating barley suffered from oxygen deficiency despite continuous aeration. Germinating barley also reacted to low external oxygen concentrations. The timing of the oxygen deficiency determined its effect on germination: the later oxygen deficiency occurred, the more it retarded germination. Aeration of the first steep water did not appear to relieve the oxygen deficiency in the barley grain, which is probably due to the impermeable seed coat. In industrial practice, aeration during the first wet steep may therefore serve more as remover of CO2 than as “oxygeniser” of barley.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication12th Australian Barley Technical Symposium
    Subtitle of host publicationHobart, Tasmania, 11-14 September 2005
    Number of pages3
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication


    • barley
    • physiology
    • malting
    • oxygen
    • malt steeping


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