Cereal Grain Testing Comes to the Green Mountains

University of Vermont Northwest Crops and Soils Team’s Grain Quality Laboratory is up and running!  The team headed up by Heather Darby, received funding through the Castanea Foundation located in Montpelier, Vermont and generous private donations to purchase a sophisticated machine to test the Falling Number of wheat, an internationally standardized method for sprout damage detection.  The Falling Number System measures the alpha-amylase enzyme activity in grains and flour to detect sprout damage, optimize flour enzyme activity and guarantee soundness of traded grain. Alpha-amylase activity is crucial for final product quality of bread, pasta, noodles and malt.

The lab is also equipped with near-infrared technology for protein analysis and employs a method to test for deoxynivalenol (DON) also known as vomitoxin.  Occurrences of this vomitoxin in wheat at or above 1 ppm are considered unsafe for human consumption by the FDA.  Contamination of wheat with DON is directly related to the incidence of Fusarium head blight and strongly associated with relative moisture and timing of rainfall at flowering.

Our lab is currently accepting samples and will continue to do so until December 1, 2010.  Click here to download a Cereal Grain Test Submission Form.  In order to get results that accurately reflect your product, be sure to employ good sampling techniques.  Remember the results are only as good as the sample submitted! For more information on testing the quality of your grains, contact UVM Extension’s Crops and Soils Team.

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