Alberta Barley

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Conversion of barley proteins to bioactive food ingredients

Project leads:
Dr. Michael Gänzle
Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 2)
University of Alberta

Dr. Lingyun Chen
Cereal Research Chair
University of Alberta

Timeline: July 2009 – June 2011


  • Alberta Barley
  • Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund
  • Alberta Innovation and Advanced Education
  • University of Alberta

Alberta Barley funding: $4,991
Total funding from other partners: $94,829

Hydrolyzed plant proteins are often used in food products to replace the use of glutamate as an additive, and to reduce the salt content of processed foods. Glutamate is what gives foods their savoury flavour. These bioactive food ingredients created from barley protein also have the potential to help with health conditions like high blood pressure. The project successfully extracted and converted barley protein into fermented food ingredients with high concentrations of γ-amino-butyrate (a glutamine derivative with relaxing and antihypertensive properties), glutamate and antihypertensive tripeptides.

Benefits for farmers:
The project established improved processing methods for value-added conversion of barley through the hydrolysis and bioconversion of barley proteins to bioactive food ingredients. It also attracted funding from large international food processors to apply results to commercial food production. This could increase barley demand and profitability for farmers.