Improving Malting Quality Through Biotechnology

MBAA TQ vol. 36, Number 3, 1999, Pages 345-348 VIEW ARTICLE

A.W. MacGregor. Canadian Grain Commission, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Presented at the 1999 Canadian Barley Symposium and reprinted from the Proceedings with permisssion.

During the past 25 years there has been a dramatic switch in the type of malting barley grown on the Prairies from the 6-rowed types that dominated the Canadian scene until the 1980s to the 2-rowed cultivars that are the major types of malting barley in Canada today. This switch from 6-rowed to 2-rowed types was driven by the recognition that the malt and malting barley export market is largely a 2-rowed market. An extensive team effort was required for this remarkable change but the contribution of the barley breeders was, obviously, of prime importance. The barley development programs have been so successful today that the high quality of Canadian malting barley is recognized worldwide. However, to remain competitive in a world of changing technologies and structure, and of ever-increasing demands on quality and uniformity of processing performance, we must continue to enhance the end-use quality of our barley. To this end, we must be vigilant in identifying new ideas, knowledge, approaches and technologies that may be utilized to enhance barley quality. New advances in plant molecular biology and in genetic engineering of cereals provide new tools for quality improvement in crops (McKinnon and Henry, 1995). These technologies cannot be applied in isolation nor should they be thought of as magic solutions to all problems. They are additional tools that, when used in conjunction with our current arsenal of technologies, have the potential to enable us to manipulate, in fine detail and in a controlled manner, individual quality characteristics of barley. This is in addition to the use of these technologies for improvements in agronomic traits and disease resistance, as aids in breeding programs, and to extend and deepen our knowledge of biochemistry and physiology of grain development, maturation and germination. Some of these topics will be covered in other presentations at this Symposium.
Keywords: Malting Quality, malting barley, 2-rowed cultivars, 6-row barley  



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