Heat wave: How enzyme systems can compensate for deficits in this year’s crop-patr1

the long period of drought and hot weather in large parts of Europe and Middle-East has caused massive damage to the 2019 wheat crop. New enzyme systems make it possible to compensate for quality deficits in low-amylase flours and lower the falling numbers .In numerous growing areas in Eastern and Western Europe, farmers experienced a state of emergency during the summer months.

A drastic water shortage and extremely long periods of heat caused reduced grain set and poor grain filling in the wheat fields in many regions. At temperatures that sometimes exceeded 50°C, the grains ripened much too early and had to be threshed prematurely.

Whereas farmers face massive reductions in the quantity of the harvest, millers will have to cope with deficits in quality. Since the grains remained dormant for a long time because of the dry weather, they contain only a small proportion of the enzymes normally present in cereals.

A low enzyme content causes flours to bake dry

In particular, the level of alpha- and beta-amylases is an important criterion for assessing the quality of flour, since it is these enzymes that determine the conversion of starches. If the amylase content is low, too little sugar is formed – sugar that the yeast needs for fermentation. This deficit results in products with a low volume and poor leavening. Flours with low amylolytic activity also have a tendency towards inadequate browning and “baking dry”, and they become stale quickly. The falling number: an indicator of amylase activity.

As a rule, the amylase activity of a flour and its ability to break down starch is analyzed by measuring the falling number. In this method, the viscosity of a heated suspension of flour or meal and water is determined: the longer a pestle takes to penetrate the starch paste, the lower is the amylase content.

Although this laboratory value does not always correlate with the results of the baking process, many bakeries regard the falling number as a quality parameter with a bearing on the price. The bread industry usually prefers values between 250 and 350 s. To ensure that mills can meet the relevant specifications even when processing the 2018 crop, Some companies offers a toolbox with different systems for regulating the falling number.

A diversity of options for lowering the falling number

The most innovative compound in the falling number range is Deltamalt FN-A. With this system solution, Research & Development department has succeeded for the first time in combining two requirements, which were hitherto incompatible. With conventional amylolytic enzymes it was only possible to influence either the baking performance of a flour or its falling number. In order to balance the two parameters, mills had to add various active substances and enzymes to the flour – a complex procedure fraught in practice with numerous uncertainties.

Deltamalt, a fungal amylase with enhanced handling characteristics, unites these two capabilities and is the first product to enable mills to optimize the relevant parameters “falling number” and “baking properties” simultaneously. In comparative tests, Deltamalt FN-A 50 lowered the falling number of a Type 550 flour from 440 s to 270 s even at a usage level below 50 ppm and at the same time improved the volume, crispness and browning of a wheat loaf.


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