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The nutritional properties of flours derived from Orkney grown bere barley (Hordeum vulgare L.)


Professor Judith L. Buttriss, Science Director, British Nutrition Foundation, High Holborn House, 52–54 High Holborn, London WC1V 6RQ, UK. E-mail:


Summary  Bere barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is a six-row barley landrace, the ancestry of which may go back to the 8th century or earlier. The cultivation of bere on any scale is currently restricted to Orkney, although it was at one time grown more widely in Scotland. Within the UK, bere is unique in being the only barley grown commercially for milling and, in Orkney, flours derived from bere are traditionally used for making bannocks, bread and biscuits. There is potential for the use of bere flours in a much wider range of foods, and for this reason the nutritional properties of such flours were investigated. The energy, macronutrient and micronutrient content of both wholemeal and white flours derived from bere were measured. Flours derived from bere grown in Orkney contain a wide variety of nutrients including significant quantities of folate, thiamin, pantothenic acid, iron, iodine and magnesium. Although the nutrient content of bere bannocks has previously been published, to our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the nutritional properties of wholemeal and white flours derived from bere.