Malt is an important industrial product with a huge market outlet. The diverse microbial communities naturally colonizing
barley grains greatly infl uence malt quality and subsequently other products in the malt value chain, in particular beer. In
this manuscript, an overview is given of current knowledge of barley and malt-derived microorganisms and their impact on
malt properties. In addition, emphasis is put on strategies to enhance the malting process, including the use of starter cultures
and the management of endogenous microfl ora. Molecular studies on microbial community composition and function
throughout the process will contribute to effi cient implementation of these strategies, ultimately leading to more effi cient
wort production and enhanced beer fl avour quality and stability. More specifi cally, these studies may lead to the discovery
of novel, industrially important microbial strains or enzymes.