University of Adelaide researchers have uncovered the mechanism of barley's
malting characteristics. The researchers discovered a new link between one
of the key enzymes in malt production for brewing and a specific tissue
layer within the barley grain.
The most important malting enzymes come from a layer of tissue in the barley
grain called the aleurone, a health-promoting tissue full of minerals,
antioxidants, and dietary fiber. The researchers learned that when more
aleurone is present in the barley grain, more enzyme activity is produced.
During the malting process, complex sugars in the barley grain are broken
down by enzymes to produce free sugars, which are then used by yeast for
fermentation. It has been unknown that the key ingredient in the beer
brewing process was influenced by the amount of aleurone within the grain,
or that the aleurone was potentially a storage site for the enzyme.