Use of LED Lights to Optimize Barley Malt Diastatic (Fermentation) Power and Bioactive Compounds for Food Production

Grants and Contracts Details


In this project, we seek to identify the type of low emitting diode (LED) light combination, and to optimize their use to increase the diastatic power (enzyme conversion power) and bioactive compound content of malted barley used in fermentation processes and other food applications. It is established scientifically that plants do respond to abiotic stresses like light that predisposes them to increase the accumulation of protective substances such as antioxidants and enzymes. Based on this knowledge, we want to explore the use of low energy RED and BLUE LED lights for improving the accumulation of hydrolytic enzymes and bioactive compounds in barley malt during the malting process. This improvement will in turn increase the conversion power of barley malt intrinsic enzymes of complex sugars to simple ones for yeast fermentation during distilling and brewing processes. Malt is a very important ingredient in distilling and brewing processes. The distilling industry is very important to the economy and identity of Kentucky. It is an industry that hires over 20,000 Kentuckians and had more than $1 billion in payroll in 2018, and a total economic impact worth more than $8.6 billion. Devising a means to increase the processing efficiency of one of the most important ingredients in distilling has the potential to increase return to stakeholders in the distilling industry in Kentucky and in other industries where barley malt is used. This project is important because of its potential impact on distilling and brewing processes for two important industries in Kentucky, and the opportunity to train a highly qualified personnel who is considered a minority (female graduate student) from rural Kentucky.
Effective start/end date11/1/196/30/21


  • Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association: $12,500.00


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