Quality & Sustainability Feed

“Whiskered brome” – a new grain raw material? IREKS supports research project for endangered species

Because grain raw materials are the central basis of our products and we attach great importance to research and development, we are regularly involved in various projects aiming at expanding the wealth of knowledge of different grain varieties. One example is our research into the whiskered brome, an endangered species that is currently being tested for its baking and brewing properties with our support. 

Nearly forgotten, the whiskered brome, a sweet grass that was already cultivated in Stone Age, has become the focus of interest of several researchers in recent months. Over the course of many years, it has steadily evolved by adapting to cultivation and harvesting conditions and now exhibits grain-like characteristics. In addition, the whiskered brome has large grains that do not fall out of the panicle – even when there is wind – which facilitates damage-free harvesting. Last but not least, it has a high germination rate – a property that is particularly important for malting the grains.

Thanks to these features and in order to better assess possible potential, the whiskered brome has now been grown with the help of ex-situ cultivation as part of a research project funded by the Oberfrankenstiftung which is carried out by the University of Bayreuth, the agricultural teaching institutions of the district of Upper Franconia and IREKS. In this way, the imminent extinction of the whiskered brome can additionally be prevented. It is to say that effective seed purification has led to its becoming extremely rare, which is why wild occurrences are now protected by the Federal Species Protection Act.

At the IREKS headquarters in Kulmbach, the whiskered brome is currently being tested for its baking and brewing properties by carrying out trials with increasing percentage of brome flour as well as by malting its grains. With the aid of gas chromatography, the resulting brome beer is to be analysed at the end.  

By the way: Some time ago, we carried out similar test series with the rye brome. Find out more at unibloggt  .