Approximately 150,000 tonnes of Australian malting quality barley valued at approximately $30,000,000 is exported annually for the Japanese staple market. However, barley selected for malting quality may not always meet Japanese requirements. This may put Australia's competitive 'edge' at risk. The first step towards improved selection of grain for the Japanese staple market is to measure pearling quality, since pearling is performed prior to the production of three important Japanese food products: miso, rice extender and shochu. Barley suitable for pearling must be uniform in size, shape and hardness. Pearling methods obtained from Japanese processors were compared with grain uniformity tests using the Perten Single Kernel Characterisation System. Results indicate that the SKCS tests can be used to predict pearling quality of Australian barley from a diverse range of sites, providing a rapid screening tool. This paper describes the relationships between chemical components of grain, grain hardness and uniformity of hardness and measurements of pearling quality, and also discusses the effect of genotype and environment on pearling quality.Jennifer Washington, Helen Collins, Yoshiaki Maeda, Amanda Box and Andrew Bar
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