Commodity News

New Complex Carbohydrate Discovered in Barley after 30 Years Research

Barley is mainly a cereal grain popularly known as jau in India. It is the fourth most important cereal crop after rice, wheat and maize. It is converted into malt to use for various food preparations. 
 
Barley is widely used for food and fodder. Major uses of barley are in the beer industry, food processing and feed manufacturing industries. With the rising demand for beer, the demand for barley is also picking up. Also, more than 90 per cent of the world malt production comes from barley. Globally, some of the major producers of barley are the European Union, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Australia and USA, forming about 75 % of the world production. 
 
In India, the production has been quite stable with Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh forming the largest producers of it. Saudi Arabia is the largest importer of barley in the world. 

In terms of derivatives trading, it is the 2nd mostly traded coarse cereal after corn in the global market. The Winnipeg Commodity Exchange (Canada) and Sofia Commodity exchange (Bulgaria) are the most prominent exchanges for Barley trade wherein trading unit is in MT (metric ton). In India, it is mainly traded on MCX in units of 10 metric tonnes. 
 
Domestic hubs like Kota, Ramganj Mandi and Baran in Rajasthan are important determinates for spot rates. Prices of this are affected by the price of other coarse cereals. Although the government provides MSP for barley, but it's rarely required. 

Barley and other whole grain foods have rapidly been gaining popularity over the past few years due to the various health benefits they can offer. Whole grains are important sources of dietary fiber, vitamins  and minerals that are not found in refined or "enriched" grains. Refining grains removes the bran, germ, and most of their fiber and nutrients. Choosing whole grains over their processed counterparts can help reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer,   and other chronic health problems. 

Researchers at the University of Adelaide have discovered a new complex carbohydrate in barley. The first of its kind to be discovered in more than 30 years, the cereal polysaccharide has potential applications in food, medicine and cosmetics. 
 
The new polysaccharide, discovered by Senior Research Scientist Dr Alan Little and his team at the former ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls, located at the University’s Waite campus, has the potential to be exploited for many uses. 
 
“Plant cell walls contain components that are of major interest for many industries such as renewable sources for energy production, composite materials or food products,” says Dr Little. 

“Knowledge of this new polysaccharide will open up further research to determine its role in the plant. “We know that it can be found in the roots of barley suggesting it may play a role in plant growth or resistance to external stresses such as salinity or disease. “By observing natural variation of the polysaccharide in different cereal crops we will aim to identify links to important agricultural traits,” says Dr Alan. 
 
The new polysaccharide is a mix of glucose, commonly found in cellulose, and xylose, which is found in dietary fibre. Based on the relative proportions of each sugar, the hybrid polysaccharide has the potential to behave as a structural component of the wall providing strength or conversely as a viscous gel. 
 
Further research is required to understand the new polysaccharide’s potential uses. Existing polysaccharides have a wide range of uses. They improve the quality of dietary fibre in porridge and are also used extensively in biomedical and cosmetic applications.  



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