Solid Fermentation of Barley
Canada is the fourth largest barley producer and the second largest malt exporter in the world, representing billions of dollars in domestic and international sales. Typically, barley is utilized as animal fodder, as a nutritional supplement for healthy foods and is also used in the production of alcoholic beverages and distilled spirits. The ethanol produced for alcoholic beverages can also be utilized in the production of petroleum products. Interestingly, ethanol production often results in significant amounts of thin stillage by-product. Analysis of thin stillage revealed the presence of the highly valuable cognitive nootropic, glycerophosphocholine (projected to surpass $10 billion in the next several years). Additional processing and enrichment of thin stillage can produce other valuable organic solutes and high-quality protein. Therefore, enhancing fermentation conditions, developing processing and purification methodologies, and demonstrating up-scale feasibility is of interest in contributing to the global supply of these coproducts, while maintaining current applications for ethanol production. Successful development of these processes will provide a means for the Canadian barley industry to adopt these supplemental technologies to produce additional sources significant revenue, without sacrificing current methodologies and processes of barley crop.