2018 Project Grant

Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY

Development of Portable GCMS Methods for in-Situ Monitoring of the Malting Process and Early Detection of Barley Contamination

Understanding the chemical processes involved in malting and early detection of fungal contamination can have significant financial consequences for the brewing industry. Traditional methods for the extraction and detection of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are costly and time consuming. Solid Phase Micro-Extraction (SPME) is a simple sampling method involving the adsorption of VOCs onto a fiber followed by desorption into a Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) instrument. We have applied this technique to the determination of aroma compounds in beer (1). Dong et al. (2) used SPME GCMS to measure VOCs at various stages in the malting process. Their method involved freeze drying, storing, grinding, and adding sodium chloride.​ Each of these stages has the potential to alter the chemical composition of the malt. Chen et al. (3) used a similar method to investigate changes in VOC composition of malt contaminated by Fusarium graminearum. With access to a portable SPME GCMS instrument, we have the potential to measure VOCs in-situ during the malting process with little or no sample treatment. It is anticipated that the successful development of a portable method will allow measurements of VOCs during malting and early detection of grain contamination in the malting house without the possibility of compromising samples during treatment and transport. Our initial experiments obtained by simply laying the sampling device on top of the grain have resulted in the detection of unidentified high molecular weight compounds, possibly as the result of fungal spores adsorbing onto the fiber, indicating potential for the project.

(1) Sarah Johnson, Samantha Soprano, Laura Wickham, Neil Fitzgerald and John Edwards, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Headspace Solid-Phase Microextraction Gas Chromatography as complementary methods for the analysis of beer samples, Beverages 3 (2017) 21

(2) Liang Dong, Yongzhe Piao, Xiao Zhang, Yingmin Hou, Zhongping Shi, Analysis of volatile compounds from a malting process using headspace solid-phase micro-extraction and GC-MS, Food Research International 51 (2013) 783-789

(3) Yan Chen, Zhe Zhou, Kai Xu, Han Zhang, Megan Thornton, Liming Sun, Zhenyu Wang, Xianbing and Liang Dong, Comprehensive evaluation of malt volatile compounds contaminated by Fusarium graminearum during malting, Journal of the Institute of Brewing 123 (2017) 480-487​

Project Objectives:

  • ​Identify compounds in barley, germinating barley and malt.
  • Develop a reliable and precise method for the in-situ quantitative determination of VOCs in barley and malt.
  • Measure changes in VOCs during the germination and kilning processes and relate to chemical and biological processes.
  • Develop a method for the early detection of grain contamination.

Project Final Report

As a sponsorship benefit, a final report will be available in the fall of 2019.