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Day-length effects on protein localisation affect water absorption in barley (Hordeum vulgare) grains



BACKGROUND: Hordeins are major storage proteins of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) grains and are considered to influence malting and brewing by forming a matrix surrounding the starch granules which affects the release of fermentable sugars. However, the extent to which environmental factors affect hordein location, and the impact of this on malting performance, have not so far been studied. Therefore the relationship of hordein location to water uptake and malting quality were studied by growing barley cv. Barke under different daylengths (14 h and 18 h of light) in controlled environment conditions.

RESULTS: Differences in the locations of hordein storage proteins were observed, with C hordein being located more deeply within the endosperm of both developing grains at 35 days after anthesis and in mature grains under long-day conditions. This deeper location of C hordein was correlated positively with water uptake during the steeping phase of malting.

CONCLUSION: An effect of environment (daylength) on the localisation of C hordein was demonstrated. This difference in hordein localisation was also associated with differences in malting quality with water uptake in the steeping phase being associated positively with the deeper location of C hordein. These results indicate that environmental effects on protein location may affect malting performance of barley grains. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry