Effect of Long-Term Storage on Mycobiota of Barley Grain and Malt

Contamination of malting barley grain and malt with micromycetes sampled at various periods post-harvest (3rd, 6th, and 9th month of storage) and types of storage (storage silo and floor warehouse) was investigated. Each of these barley grain samples was malted. This article reports on the changes in the fungal microbiome composition and their overall count in barley grain and malt. From the surface-disinfected barley grain samples collected immediately after harvest, there were eight genera isolated, with a predominance of Alternaria. A small increase of isolated microfungi was detected in barley stored in silo for 3 and 6 months (from 142 isolates to 149) and decreased below the number of isolates in barley before storage (133 isolates). Fungal count during storage gradually decreased up to 9 month in barley stored in floor warehouse (from 142 isolates to 84). The initial total count of microscopic fungi in malt before storage was the highest (112 isolates) with 7 genera detected, compared to malts prepared from barley stored for longer time (54 isolates, 7 genera, 9th month of storage). Alternaria was the most abundant and frequent genus. Quantitative representation of the filamentous microscopic fungi was lower compared to yeasts especially in barley and malt prepared from barley stored at third month of storage in both type of storage. Yeasts were identified from all grain samples and malt samples with mass spectrometry. Most attention was given to the widely distributed fungus Penicillium, 79% of strains produced at least one mycotoxin detected under in vitro assays using the TLC method (97% of them produced griseofulvin, 94% CPA, 79% patulin, 14% roquefortin C, and penitrem A was produced by two screening strains under laboratory conditions). It is therefore important to monitor the microflora throughout the production cycle of “barley to beer”.
Felšöciová S, Kowalczewski PŁ, Krajčovič T, Dráb Š, Kačániová M. Effect of Long-Term Storage on Mycobiota of Barley Grain and Malt. Plants. 2021; 10(8):1655. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081655 ; https://www.mdpi.com/2223-7747/10/8/1655
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