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Concept: Barley


The Near East Fertile Crescent is well recognized as a primary center of barley origin, diversity, and domestication. A large number of wild barleys have been collected from the Tibetan Plateau, which is characterized by an extreme environment. We used genome-wide diversity array technology markers to analyze the genotypic division between wild barley from the Near East and Tibet. Our results confirmed the existence of Tibetan wild barley and suggested that the split between the wild barleys in the Near East and those in Tibet occurred around 2.76 million years ago (Mya). To test the concept of polyphyletic domestication of barley, we characterized a set of worldwide cultivated barley. Some Chinese hulless and six-rowed barleys showed a close relationship with Tibetan wild barley but showed no common ancestor with other cultivated barley. Our data support the concept of polyphyletic domestication of cultivated barley and indicate that the Tibetan Plateau and its vicinity is one of the centers of domestication of cultivated barley. The current results may be highly significant in exploring the elite germplasm for barley breeding, especially against cold and drought stresses.

Concepts: Agriculture, Barley, Fertile Crescent, Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet, Central Asia, Near East, Tibetan Plateau


Dietary recommendations emphasize increased consumption of fruit, vegetables, and whole grain cereals for prevention of chronic disease.

Concepts: Medicine, Cereal, Fruit, Maize, Vegetarian cuisine, Barley, Cereals, Cereal germ


Starch grain, phytolith and cereal bran fragments were analyzed in order to identify the food remains including cakes, dumplings, as well as porridge unearthed at the Astana Cemeteries in Turpan of Xinjiang, China. The results suggest that the cakes were made from Triticum aestivum while the dumplings were made from Triticum aestivum, along with Setaria italica. The ingredients of the porridge remains emanated from Panicum miliaceum. Moreover, direct macrobotantical evidence of the utilization of six cereal crops, such as Triticum aestivum, Hordeum vulgare var. coeleste, Panicum miliaceum, Setaria italica, Cannabis sativa, and Oryza sativa in the Turpan region during the Jin and Tang dynasties (about 3(rd) to 9(th) centuries) is also presented. All of these cereal crops not only provided food for the survival of the indigenous people, but also spiced up their daily life.

Concepts: Wheat, Poaceae, Cereal, Maize, Rice, Oat, Barley, Staple food


Limit dextrinase (LD) is a unique de-branching enzyme involved in starch mobilization of barley grains during malting, and closely related to malt quality. Genotypic variation of LD activity is controlled by genetic factors and also affected by environmental conditions. Correlation analysis between LD activity and four malt quality parameters showed that LD activity was positively correlated with diastatic power, Kolbach index and the quality of malt extract, while negatively correlated with viscosity. The structure-based association analysis demonstrated that HvLDI, a gene encoding limit dextrinase inhibitor, was a major determinant of LD activity and malt quality. The single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with LD activity could be used in early generation selection for barley breeding.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Enzyme, Brewing, Beer, Barley, Malt, Diastatic power


Copper (Cu) containing fungicides have been used for more than one century in Europe on agricultural soils, such as vineyard soils. Total Cu concentrations in such soils can exceed toxicological limits that are commonly derived using artificially spiked soils. This study surveyed Cu toxicity in vineyard soils with reference to soils spiked with CuCl(2). Soil was collected in six established European vineyards. At each site, samples representing a Cu concentration gradient were collected. A control (uncontaminated) soil sampled nearby the vineyard was spiked with CuCl(2). Toxicity was tested using standard ecotoxicity tests: two plant assays (Lycopersicon esculentum Miller (tomato) and Hordeum vulgare L. (barley) growth), one microbial assay (nitrification) and one invertebrate assay (Enchytraeus albidus reproduction). Maximal total Cu concentrations in the vineyard sites ranged 435-690mgCukg(-1), well above the local background (23-105mgCukg(-1)). Toxicity in spiked soils (50% inhibition) was observed at added soil Cu concentrations from 190 to 1039mgCukg(-1) (mean 540mgCukg(-1)) depending on the assay and the site. In contrast, significant adverse effects were only found for three bioassays in vineyard samples of one site and for two bioassays in another site. Biological responses in these cases were more importantly explained by other soil properties than soil Cu. Overall, no Cu toxicity to plants, microbial processes and invertebrates was observed in vineyard soil samples at Cu concentrations well above European Union limits protecting the soil ecosystem.

Concepts: Archaea, Soil, Toxicology, Copper, Europe, Toxicity, Barley, Viticulture


A maltotetraose-producing enzyme (G4-amylase) was utilized to improve the baking performance of whole-grain wheat flour. Whole-grain bread dough prepared with G4-amylase showed reduced water absorption and increased development time, while the dough stability was not affected. Also, the G4-amylase-treated samples exhibited lower Mixolab torque values than the control upon heating and cooling. Rheological measurements showed the decreased ratio of Rmax /E and increased tan δ, clearly demonstrating that the viscous characteristics of whole-grain bread dough became dominant with increasing levels of G4-amylase. The use of G4-amylase produced whole-grain wheat breads with a variety of maltooligosaccharides, primarily maltotetraose that positively contributed to the bread volume (1.2-fold higher than the control). Moreover, G4-amylase delayed the crumb firming of whole-grain wheat bread during a 7-d storage period, showing that it can function as an antiretrogradation agent to enhance the quality attributes of whole-grain wheat bread.

Concepts: Yeast, Wheat, Starch, Amylase, Bread, Flour, Barley, Bread improver


Beer is a popular alcoholic malt beverage resulting from a fermentation of the aqueous extract of malted barley with hops. The aroma of brewing barley impacts on the flavor of beer indirectly because some flavor compounds or their precursors in beer came from the barley. The objectives of this research were to study volatile profiles and to characterize odor-active compounds in brewing barley in order to find out the variability of the aroma composition among different brewing barley cultivars.

Concepts: Enzyme, Brewing, Beer, Barley, Malt, Maltose, Beer style, Malt beverage


Even though whole grain foods have various health benefits, consumers have been found not to eat enough of them. Nudging interventions are built on the premise that food purchases and consumption are strongly influenced by the environment in which decisions are made. Little research has been conducted to examine the influence of a small and inexpensive nudging intervention on bread choices in a real-life supermarket context. An in-store experiment was conducted in two six-week periods in two supermarkets to investigate the effects of accessibility on consumers' purchase of healthier whole grain and other types of bread. In the high accessibility condition, healthier bread was placed in a more convenient location for the shopper on the left side of the shelves where it was encountered first. In the low accessibility condition, it was placed on the right side. There were consistent significant differences in sales between supermarkets, types of bread, day of the week, but not between low and high accessibility. Additional research is needed to better understand the effects of convenience and accessibility on bread choices.

Concepts: Health insurance, Left-wing politics, Food, Bread, Barley, Whole grain, Supermarket, Cereal germ


Most cereal products, like white bread, pasta, and biscuits, are based on flour after removal of bran and germ, the two parts of grain kernels containing most of the dietary fibre and other bioactive components. In the past decade, consumers have been rediscovering whole grain-based products and the number of wholegrain products has increased rapidly. In most countries in Europe and worldwide, however, no legally endorsed definition of wholegrain flour and products exists. Current definitions are often incomplete, lacking descriptions of the included grains and the permitted flour manufacturing processes. The consortium of the HEALTHGRAIN EU project (FP6-514008, 2005-2010) identified the need for developing a definition of whole grain with the following scope: 1) more comprehensive than current definitions in most EU countries; 2) one definition for Europe - when possible equal to definitions outside Europe; 3) reflecting current industrial practices for production of flours and consumer products; 4) useful in the context of nutritional guidelines and for labelling purposes. The definition was developed in a range of discussion meetings and consultations and was launched in 2010 at the end of the HEALTHGRAIN project. The grains included are specified: a wide range of cereal grains from the Poaceae family, and the pseudo-cereals amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, and wild rice. The definition also describes manufacturing processes allowed for producing wholegrain flours. This paper compares the HEALTHGRAIN definition with previous definitions, provides more comprehensive explanations than in the definition itself regarding the inclusion of specific grains, and sets out the permitted flour manufacturing processes.

Concepts: Wheat, Poaceae, Cereal, Maize, Rice, Barley, Whole grain, Cereal germ


The cereal grass barley was domesticated about 10,000 years before the present in the Fertile Crescent and became a founder crop of Neolithic agriculture. Here we report the genome sequences of five 6,000-year-old barley grains excavated at a cave in the Judean Desert close to the Dead Sea. Comparison to whole-exome sequence data from a diversity panel of present-day barley accessions showed the close affinity of ancient samples to extant landraces from the Southern Levant and Egypt, consistent with a proposed origin of domesticated barley in the Upper Jordan Valley. Our findings suggest that barley landraces grown in present-day Israel have not experienced major lineage turnover over the past six millennia, although there is evidence for gene flow between cultivated and sympatric wild populations. We demonstrate the usefulness of ancient genomes from desiccated archaeobotanical remains in informing research into the origin, early domestication and subsequent migration of crop species.

Concepts: Agriculture, Israel, Jordan, Neolithic, Barley, Fertile Crescent, Jordan River, Jericho