Why Treating Grain with Ultrasound? Scientists Found a Way to Improve Yields

Scientists of South Ural State University invented and patented a method for grain treatment which will allow balancing the amino-acid composition, improving the quality of synthesized vitamins and minerals in its structure, and provide high yield of wheat.

The new method of grain treatment was patented by scientists in 2019 (№ 2690486). The proposed innovative approach to modify the properties of plant raw material is the most efficient and safe, which allows developing food products that comply with contemporary approaches in the technology of healthful nutrition products for the population of our country.

Wheat is going to germinate faster and be more useful

“The thing is, there are two problems existing today in grain economy: low quality of grain and its preservation ability. Our goal is to find new methods of treatment for low-quality grain crops and obtain healthful products for nutrition – the innovative products with added edibility advantages. In our research, we use sonication to intensify the germination process of grain crops. First of all, the research is targeted at germination of soft wheat grains which can be used in baking industry, as well as be applied as a food additive or a separate food ingredient,” says Candidate of Sciences (Engineering), Associate Professor at the Department of Food Technology and Biotechnology of the SUSU School of Medical Biology, Natalia Naumenko.

Photo: Candidate of Sciences (Engineering), Associate Professor at the Department of Food Technology and Biotechnology of the SUSU School of Medical Biology, Natalia Naumenko

Sonication has an effect on grain shells, which favors a faster penetration of moisture in its points of growth (endosperm and the germ). As a result, intensification of the germinating process is observed. For instance, whereas the germination period by traditional methods takes about 24 to 26 hours, the ultrasonic exposure allows shortening it to 16 hours.

When treating the grain, the scientists use the optimal modes of exposure which allows maximally intensify the process of germination and does not cause any changes in structural components of the grain.

Wheat yield will increase

In 2018, the scientists carried out treatment of seed wheat intended for planting at a part of seed territories of the Chelyabinsk region. It is important to note that experimental areas were located on crisis land not prepared for planting of grain crops. Nevertheless, high germinating capacity and yield quality were observed: the grain had quite high content of protein and gluten quality. Besides, the height of a wheatear reduces as a result of sonication, which favors for a longer ageing of crop seed in the field. Therefore, the new method of grain treatment allows for not just increasing the wheat yield but also improves its quality.

In the future, the scientists are planning to patent another invention in this sphere. Their research direction is in developing a method to disinfect the grain. This process is necessary when germinating crop seeds as the fundamental principle of obtaining healthful nutrition products is their safety.

Viktoria Matveychuk; photo by the author
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