Ground Cover North : Ground Cover 058 October-November 2005 - North
3 News Grass to glass nets fellowship n A quest to make better beer -- and more of it -- from Australian malting barley has led to Tasmanian Dr Evan Evans becoming the newest Fellow of the international Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD). Dr Evans, a barley biochemist with the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Science (University of Tasmania), was recently honoured with an IBD fellowship for his 'grass to glass' approach to improving the quality and efficiency of malt in brewing. Supported by the GRDC, Dr Evans's work has changed the brewing industry's understanding of malt fermentability and quality by taking a whole-of-industry approach. "Following the production process from growing to brewing has been critical in identifying the important malting and fermenting characteristics of our barley varieties," he says. The project has been partly driven by technological advances in brewing. With greater reliance on computer-controlled brewing systems, Dr Evans says there is a crucial need for more consistency in malt fermentability, a fundamental quality of malting barley. Maltsters and barley breeders assess malt fermentability by measuring the activity of the diastatic power group of enzymes, which convert barley starch into fermentable sugars. In Dr Evans's most recent project, he found that analysis of the levels of individual enzymes -- rather than their combined activity as in the diastatic power test -- substantially increased the ability to predict malt performance in the brewing process. This result is significant because the diastatic power test can pick up only about half of the fermentability variations, whereas Dr Evans's testing -- measuring the balance between the enzymes -- increases the prediction accuracy to 90 per cent. It has strong implications for growers, breeders and marketers as well as the brewing industry. Dr Evans found significant variation in the fermentability characteristics within barley varieties. GairdnerA, for example, can produce malt at both the high and low ends of the scale. While brewers in China and Japan are looking for highly fermentable malt, Australian brewers -- who use more than a third of Australia's malting barley production -- prefer lower fermentable malt. Dr Evans would like these enzyme tests initially used to identify the malt from existing barley varieties most suited to various markets, but that is just the start. He wants to develop 'malting packages' that enable brewers to take advantage of different malting attributes of Australian malting barley. "Breeders would also be able to more accurately select the enzyme qualities our customers are demanding," he says. "This Scientist is honoured for his quest to make better beer from Australian barley. Richard Henderson reports requires continued close cooperation with maltsters and marketers in developing support structures for the introduction of these new varieties to international customers. "This has been the key to the already substantial success of Australia's barley industry, which over the last decade has been fostered by GRDC support. "I see a great future for it. The research spending is good and we have some really good varieties like Flagship on the cusp of release. We've lifted the quality to the world benchmark and we can extend this even further. Overseas researchers want to emulate what we have. "We've also got excellent opportunities for growth, particularly with our proximity to Asia, where beer consumption is increasing." Dr Evans says, however, the quality will need to be paramount. "Domestic and overseas brewers will be looking for greater technical support from maltsters and marketers. We can't afford to rest on our laurels." GRDC Research Code UT00006 For more information: Dr Evan Evans, 03 6226 2638, email@example.com OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2005 GROUND COVER Dr Evans with some samples of malts. SINGLE VISION -- MOVING FORWARD n As outlined in June, the task of taking the Single Vision plan forward has now been moved to an Interim Board. Headed by Murray Rogers, the Interim Board brings together Grant Latta, Ian MacKinnon, Christine Hawkins and Philip Young, all highly experienced individuals from across the grains industry value chain. The Interim Board has held its first meeting. Joining them will be Selwyn Snell, who will take up the role of Chief Executive Officer from 1 October. "Mr Snell will bring to the Single Vision Interim Board over 30 years of agricultural and life sciences industry experience, both national and international," Chair of the Interim Board, Mr Rogers, says. "He has held Through a Single Vision approach, the grains industry has the opportunity to take control of its future. Harnessing the collective knowledge, experience and energy across the whole grains industry value chain will see Australian growers continue to increase their productivity and sustainability. In this issue of Ground Cover, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Richard Colbeck, has welcomed, on behalf of the Australian Government, the development of Towards a Single Vision (see page 26). So, where to now? The Interim Board: Murray Rogers, Ian MacKinnon, Christine Hawkins and Grant Latta (plus Philip Young, not in picture). PHOTO: VIC DOBOS A small Single Vision office will be established initially in Brisbane. With a full complement, the Interim Board will begin the task of meeting as many as possible of the key players across Australia, seeking their involvement in taking Single Vision forward. Their key focus will be on: n R&D for business growth; n infrastructure and transport issues; n grower communications; n representation structures; n biotechnology and GMOs; n liaison with government; and n environmental and sustainability issues. Regular updates on the Interim Board's activities as they move Single Vision forward will appear in coming issues of Ground Cover. the position of CEO and managing director at a publicly listed company and at one of Australia's largest agribusiness resellers."
Ground Cover 059 December-January 2006 - North
Ground Cover 057 August-September 2005 - North