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Agricultural News


Sorghum Studied for Beer-Brewing Potential and Public Use

Thu, 27 Aug 2020 09:40:18 CDT

Sorghum Studied for Beer-Brewing Potential and Public Use University of Nevada, Reno graduates Melinda Yerka and John Baggettv returned to the university to study the biochemistry of fermentation. Together, and funded by $650,000 in grants from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the pair are investigating new sorghum varieties emerging from Yerka’s breeding program, and new techniques for malting, a pre-brewing process that helps create the desired flavor and makes brewing proceed more efficiently.

When Melinda Yerka came to the University in 2017 as an assistant professor in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, she knew she wanted to work with fermenting sorghum. John Baggett, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University in 2015, also returned to pursue his doctorate because he wanted to study the biochemistry of fermentation. Together, and funded by $650,000 in grants, the pair are investigating new sorghum varieties emerging from Yerka’s breeding program.

They are also investigating new techniques for malting, which is a pre-brewing process that helps create the desired flavor and makes brewing proceed more efficiently, and brewing to find the best process for use by local breweries.

“Sorghum is gluten free,” said Yerka, noting that there is a demand for gluten-free beer.

Last year, the Yerka Lab received a $500,000 grant from NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative that allowed the team to partner with the Texas-based sorghum production company, Richardson Seeds, to breed new varieties and examine the genetics of desired traits.

Yerka and Baggett are also partnering with local farmers to test commercial-scale production methods for the sorghum in northern Nevada. For more information, read the University of Nevada article.


   

 

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