Method of improving the quality of plant seeds using lactic acid

Drug – bio-affecting and body treating compositions – Whole live micro-organism – cell – or virus containing – Intentional mixture of two or more micro-organisms – cells,...


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424405, 435 93, 435243, 4352523, A01N 6300, A01N 2500, C12C 100, C12N 100






The present invention relates to a method of treating the seeds of plants. More precisely, the invention relates to a method wherein a plant, preferably a cereal, in particular a cereal, such as barley or rye, to be used in malting, is treated with a bacterial preparation affecting microbes in order to improve the quality of the seeds (kernels). The invention also relates to the use of a bacterial preparation for spraying a plant in the field or under field conditions as its seeds develop in order to improve the quality of the seeds. Furthermore, the invention relates to a plant product, e.g. a cereal product and in particular a barley or rye product, for example barley or rye malt, that has been treated with the aforementioned method.


Conventionally a cereal to be used in the manufacture of beer is malted so that the starch contained therein would convert to fermentable sugars. Unmalted cereal is also sometimes used in the manufacture of beer. The cereal most commonly used in malting is barley. It is well applicable in malting and in the manufacture of beer, since the husk of its kernel does not come off during threshing, but protects the kernel during malting. Broken kernels are susceptible to mould fungi. The good germinability of barley is important in malting, since kernels that have not germinated cannot be malted and are also susceptible to moulds. Malted barley is also used as a raw material for whisky.
Other cereals, such as wheat, rye and rice, can also be used in the preparation of malt.
The purpose of the malting is to provide physical, chemical and biochemical changes in the kernel, thus producing enzymes which in the so-called mashing stage during the manufacture of beer decompose the starch of the kernel into a form soluble in wort. Malting comprises several stages. Firstly, the cereal to be used is purified and screened, and it is then steeped in water to provide a suitable moisture content (ca. 45%). When the kernels are suitably moist, they are germinated usually about six days. After the germination the malt is dried and the moisture content thereby decreases to about 4%. After the kilning the rootlets are removed.
In a cereal, such as barley, used in malting, microbes originating in the field and possibly in the storing affect the development and activity of the microbial flora in the preparation of malt. Large amounts of microbes, especially high mould contents, may be harmful in the malting of a cereal. The mould content is one of the criteria of the quality of a cereal used in malting, and a maximum limit is often set for this content. Other factors influencing the quality of malt are the other quality characteristics of the cereal used as raw material, for example its protein content, the size distribution of the kernels, germination energy and water sensitivity. The type of the cereal, and the malting technique and conditions are also significant.
The natural microbial flora of barley comprises moulds such as Fusarium, Alternaria, Cephalosporium and Helminthosporium, and the genera of Rhizopus and Mucor. The occurrence of the moulds varies depending on the period of growth and the place of growth (soil). Wet and rainy weather during the ear emergence or harvesting of barley affects the growth of Fusarium moulds in particular. In malting the composition of the moulds varies considerably during germination, especially the amount of Fusarium moulds increases particularly during steeping. Rhizopus and Mucor in turn are prevalent in malts, since they multiply rapidly at temperatures occurring in the beginning of the drying.
The original bacterial and yeast flora of the cereal also affects the quality of the material to be malted. The natural enterobacteria, Pseudomonas species, lactic acid bacteria and yeasts of the cereal multiply during malting.
The microorganisms in the cereal and malt have both positive and negative effects. Many of the effects of the microbial flora are useful. The glucanolytic and proteolytic effects of moulds and bacteria

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