Alberta Barley

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Optimization of primary processing protocols to improve whole-grain barley product nutrition, safety and flavour

Project lead:
Dr. Nancy Ames
Research Scientist
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Timeline: April 2013 – March 2018

Partners:
AB-AAFC-WGRF

Alberta Barley funding: $36,728
Total funding from other partners: $228,353

Benefits for barley farmers
The knowledge gained through this project can be utilized to develop optimized primary processing protocols that can be implemented by barley millers. Overall, this activity will help generate solutions for overcoming key issues identified as barriers to increased utilization of Canadian barley and support the expansion of food barley markets.

Summary
This activity supports the improvement of wholegrain barley products with regards to microbial safety as well as desirable physicochemical properties and end use quality. A survey of current industrial barley processing practices and analysis of commercially available products has shown that microbial contamination is present in many untreated barley samples. This could be a concern for product developers and indicates that raw whole grain products should be evaluated prior to food use. Experimental results determined the effects of various hydrothermal treatments on microbial counts, physicochemical properties and end-use quality of whole grain barley products.

Developments – June 2016
Experiments were completed to determine the effect of heat treatments (conditioning, micronization and roasting at various tempering levels) on the end use characteristics of barley. This included the impact of the heat treatments on the fractionation properties of the barley kernels during milling as determined by particle size and the distribution of beta-glucan among various flour fractions. In addition, changes to flour pasting properties, as measured by Rapid Visco-Analyser, were evaluated as a means to predict the effect of heat treatments on barley functionality in a flour-based food system.

Statistical analysis was carried out on all data collected on the effects of heat treatments and genotype on microbial load, beta-glucan physicochemical properties and end use quality.

Two manuscripts have been submitted for publication to the journal Cereal Chemistry and are currently under review.

In addition, barley samples from this study were provided for testing with Neo-Pure, a new application for microbial reduction on dry products. Our collaboration with Agri-Neo and Food Development Centre will allow for comparison of their results with the heat treatments performed in this Barley Cluster study.

Objectives for the upcoming year – June 2016
Objectives for the next project year include conducting experiments to assess the effect of heat treatments on aspects of barley flavour and flour blending work.

Results
This activity supports the improvement of wholegrain barley products with regards to microbial safety as well as desirable physicochemical properties and end use quality. A survey of current industrial barley processing practices and analysis of commercially available products has shown that microbial contamination is present in many untreated barley samples. This could be a concern for product developers and indicates that raw whole grain products should be evaluated prior to consumption. Experimental results determined the effects of various hydrothermal treatments on microbial counts, physicochemical properties and end-use quality of whole grain barley products. An additional experiment focused on the effects of heat treatment and genotype on the quality of barley flakes. Overall, this activity has helped generate solutions for overcoming key issues identified as barriers to increased utilization of Canadian barley.

The knowledge gained can be utilized to develop optimized primary processing protocols that can be implemented by barley millers and processors to improve product quality and consumer demand, thus supporting the expansion of food barley markets for Canadian farmers.

The three heat treatments investigated (micronization, roasting and moist heat conditioning) were effective in reducing standard plate count and yeast and mold counts in whole grain barley compared to untreated barley. This indicated that implementing heat treatments into primary barley processing would provide benefits to safety, particularly when whole grain barley is to be used in food applications where no other heating steps such as cooking are required. It was also determined that certain heat treatments had a positive effect on the physicochemical properties of the barley beta-glucan, which are desirable for health benefits. Information was also generated showing the impact of heat processing on kernel and flour colour, fractionation properties during milling and pasting characteristics which will help predict the functionality of heat treated whole grain barley products in food systems. Results of the experiments on end products showed that opportunities exist for using genotype selection and heat processing conditions to improve the quality of barley flakes.

The new knowledge generated was published in two articles in Cereal Chemistry, a peer reviewed journal of the American Association of Cereal Chemists International serving members of the grain industry and academia. References as follows:

Boyd, L., Holley, R., Storsley, J. and Ames, N. (2017) Effect of heat treatments on microbial load and  associated changes to β-glucan physicochemical properties in whole grain barley. Cereal Chemistry, 94(2):333-340. http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/CCHEM-04-16-0099-R

Boyd, L., Storsley, J. and Ames, N. (2017) Effect of heat treatments on starch pasting, particle size and color of whole grain barley. Cereal Chemistry, 94(2):325-332. http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/CCHEM-04-16-0100-R

 Updated July 16, 2018