Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry vol:49 issue:2 pages:975-81
Strains of fungi from different origins, including isolates of the natural microflora of barley, were screened for their ability to modify barley starchy endosperm cell walls in situ. In an initial step, fungi were selected that degrade the major component of the cell walls, that is, (1-->3),(1-->4)-beta-D-glucan, in vitro on artificial media. Nongerminating, sterilized barley, obtained by gamma-irradiation, was inoculated with such fungi and subjected to solid state fermentation under conditions resembling those of a traditional malting process. For some strains of fungi, a clear correlation between the production of endo-beta-glucanase and the friability of the treated kernels was found. Image analysis of Calcofluor stained longitudinal sections of barley kernels fermented with the endo-beta-glucanase producing strains showed that starchy endosperm cell walls were modified. As malt quality is inversely related to its (1-->3),(1-->4)-beta-D-glucan content, the selected strains have high potential to be used as starter cultures during malt production, contributing to the processing quality of the final product.