Disclosure: This article is a sponsored advertisement. Thanks to GlycoSpot for their support as the 2023 Craft Malt Conference Sponsor.
GlycoSpot is a Danish biotechnology company that was founded based on recognizing the need for mobile, fast, and easy enzyme analysis – before, during, and after the production process. GlycoSpot develops application-specific enzyme test methods that are fast to implement and easy to use, helping companies, including malthouses of all sizes, to create better and more sustainable food and beverage products by transforming the way we work with enzymes. GlycoSpot offers many common enzymes analysis options, making them available for anyone without the need for laboratory facilities.
A Bottleneck in malt production
Malthouses need to declare, on the Certificate of Analysis, properties of their malt such as diastatic power, beta-glucan and more for each batch of malt they produce. Current methods for assessing enzymes in malt can be both time consuming and costly. Maltsters either invest in laboratory equipment and specialized personnel to carry out analysis, or send malt samples to an external laboratory and wait for days, even weeks, to get the results.
The GlycoSpot MINI-LAB
GlycoSpot have developed the MINI-LAB that contains an all-inclusive lab-equipment-tech case, which in combination with application specific test-kits, enables enzyme analyses, fast and easy anywhere by anyone.
The MINI-LAB by GlycoSpot Tech case comes with everything for testing malt samples for alpha-amylase activity and diastatic power. One feature is the MINI-LAB table (the blue plate) that helps the user to organize the tests. The MINI-LAB tech case also comes with simple one-pager instructions for each assay for easy step-by-step instructions making it simple to do enzymatic analyses. Each test ends with a final measurement done on the SIRIUS spectrophotometer (placed on the lower left of the MINI-LAB table) and through the GlycoSpot app installed on mobile devices.
The MINI-LAB enables the maltsters to declare diastatic power within 30 minutes without having to invest heavily in laboratory equipment and specialized personnel. This means that the users have access to on-the-spot analysis of alpha-amylase and diastatic power in raw, “green”, and malted grains. There is no need for extensive lab training, and the test kits come with everything needed to run a test straight from the box.
The grain-specific assays are calibrated against EBC standards and are suitable for raw material intake control, process optimization and product release. Most customers are using the test kits for assessing alpha amylase activity and diastatic power in malted grains.
An overview of the different Lab Tech cases and test kits by GlycoSpot for measuring amylase enzymes in malt. Depending on the solution the MINI-LAB Lab tech cases are provided for those who need to test a few samples (Single) or the high throughput platform (Multi) for those who have more than 20 tests samples per week. For different grains, i.e., milled, unmalted, etc., there are also different kits for testing alpha-amylase and diastatic power. To achieve high accuracy GlycoSpot also provides Calibration kits. The Calibrators are malted grains that are attuned against EBC standards.
The enzymatic tests from GlycoSpot normally involve a three steps procedure that with little training can be done by anyone. The user can choose to include three calibrators for high accuracy or for ease but less accurate choose the calibration model provided by the QR code labeled to the side of the test kit.
The tests for alpha-amylase and diastatic power in barley and wheat involve three steps: 1. Extraction and filtration, 2. Incubation, and 3. Measurement that all take around 30 minutes to carry out. Items shown come either with MINI-LAB or the test kits. The barley and wheat tests have a working range of 10 – 100 DU/g for alpha-amylase and 30-700 °WK for diastatic power.
For large malthouses and breeders, GlycoSpot offers a high throughput solution utilizing the 96-well microtiter format, which means that alpha-amylase and diastatic power can be assessed in up to 80 samples per plate, e.g., enabling breeders to quickly screen hundreds of candidate samples. As with the single-sample measurement, GlycoSpot provides the necessary equipment for high throughput tests on the 96-well platform. The High Throughput platform for alpha-amylase and diastatic power is a competitive option to the automated segmented flow analysis both in time and costs.
The high throughput tests for alpha-amylase and diastatic power in barley and wheat again involve three steps: 1. Extraction and filtration, 2. Incubation, and 3. Measurement. The main time spent on the high throughput assays is weighing out barley/wheat flour and loading the extracted samples onto the 96-well microtiter plate. It is possible to create plates for alpha-amylase and diastatic power sampling from the same extract. A standard assay setup includes 16 wells for calibrators leaving 80 wells for sampling. The barley and wheat tests have a working range of 10 – 100 DU/g for alpha-amylase and 30-700 °WK for diastatic power [Figure].
Sustainability is a focus for GlycoSpot. Besides the applications for craft maltsters, GlycoSpot recently teamed up with ECOLAB on greatly reducing water consumption during cleaning (i.e., CIP) processing plants at dairy factories.
With sustainability in focus, GlycoSpot recently re-invented the platform for assessing enzymes in malt creating the MINI-LAB. The MINI-LAB Tech case is, for example, made from 100 percent recycled plastic. This re-invention also resulted in a 50 percent reduction in disposable plastic components in the test kits. It is also encouraged by GlycoSpot to rinse the 50 ml test tubes as they can be reused when e.g., collecting samples during the filtration step.
Malting, mostly kilning, contributes up to 40 percent to the carbon footprint of beer production (Muntons Sustainability Report 2021). This is also one area where GlycoSpot has realized it could assist maltsters by reducing the carbon footprint of the process. Both by enabling the maltster to follow alpha-amylase activity through the malt germination and on-the-spot measurements of alpha-amylase and diastatic power in the green malt, as green malt must be used before it begins to lose too much starch or even spoil— so it must be used right away for mashing at own or local brewery.
Amylase profile done by GlycoSpot’s “Green Malt” test kits during barley germination at Refsvindinge Malthouse. Results at t=0 are after 48 hours steeping at 41 ⁰F/5 ⁰C. Total germination time was 85.5 hours. Pre-germination time was 39 hours at ambient humidity and temperature (approx. 50 ⁰F/ 10 ⁰C). For the remaining germination the barley was “floor malted” under controlled humidity and temperature, turned twice a day.
Recently, in a collaboration between White Labs Inc. and Empirical Spirits (Copenhagen-based distillery), GlycoSpot was involved in investigating the application of green malt for craft brewing and distilling. Different organic barley varieties from Danish farmers were analyzed for diastatic power and alpha amylase activity. These measurements showed that germination of the organic barley varieties could proceed for 72 and up to 96 hours ensuring appropriate enzymatic activity levels for breaking down starches during the subsequent steps in the production of high-quality spirits (full article In Scandinavian Brewer’s Review 2022/03 pages 14-21).
During the past year, most people around the world have experienced the consequences of a large increase in inflation. Resource prices have become volatile and craft maltsters might have to pay more for acquiring grain and are hit by a large increase in energy prices. From brewers and distillers’ perspectives, this can look like supply chain bottlenecks and increased costs of acquiring precious diastatic malt. Malt that has been in storage for a period can have altered diastatic power, and fluctuation in malt diastatic power can affect production yield and quality. Hence, the current situation with increased pricing of raw material could make intake and storage control more attractive for brewers and distillers. Additionally, mashing protocols can be optimized by following beta- and alpha-amylase in the wort by which wort properties can be followed and mashing protocols can be optimized, again saving time and money for the brewers and distillers.
What’s to come?
Recognizing that craft maltsters have need for additional analyses than for alpha amylase activity and diastatic power, GlycoSpot will soon launch tests for determining beta-glucan, total soluble protein in-, and color of wort. These options may already have been launched as you read this. The tests for wort beta-glucan, total soluble protein and color are compatible with Hot Steep extraction and Congress wort. The test kits will follow GlycoSpot’s mission of providing easy, accessible analysis that can be done by anyone, anywhere.
Is there any analysis we can help you with?
As a member of Craft Maltsters Guild, GlycoSpot has a special entry deal and discounts on the first year’s test kits. Reach out to set up a call and we will explain how this offer can match your needs. Contact Sales at [email protected] or at +45 26 36 01 31. You can also visit the GlycoSpot Homepage (https://www.glycospot.dk) to see more on how GlycoSpot can help you assess your malt. It is sure that if you have a need for evaluating different analytes in your malt GlycoSpot will be there to help.