Aiming for the top malt

Barley Processing Quality (Beer) Program leader lan MacKinnon (southern region). Other members are Ian Muirhead (northern region), Ian Metcalf (western region), Deirdre Davis (program consultant), and Fleur Winter (program officer).

Aiming for the top malt

The Barley Processing Quality (Beer) Program invests in the development of tools and resources to breed, produce and supply malting barley with quality characteristics that meet the demands of the world brewing industry.

Key quality characteristics include extract, grain size, beer filtration, fermentability, head retention and haze stability.

The program also supports basic research including molecular technology and enzyme assay systems.

Under this banner, the National Barley Molecular Marker Project (NBMMP) aims to enhance the efficiency of selection for disease, agronomic and quality traits within all Australian barley breeding programs. The project involves nine major Australian research institutions and provides links to international barley marker programs.

Barley Processing Quality Program leader Ian MacKinnon said that the NBMMP is a good example of Australian research operating at the global level. He said the research is driven by the needs of the market as defined by the breeders.

"The barley breeders have been telling the NBMMP which traits need mapping first," said Mr MacKinnon. "It is a clear case of the breeding programs driving the technology, not the technology driving the breeding programs."