The aim of this study was to determine the optimum malting conditions, for rice beer production, of seven cultivars of local rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivated in the North and Far North Regions of Cameroon. Characteristic tests prior to malting (thousand corn weight, germinative energy, germinative capacity and starch content) of the cultivars (NL36, NL56, ITA306, ITA300, BKN, IR46, NL60) were determined using analytical methods described by The American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC). The best cultivars used for the experimental design were NL36 and ITA300, having starch contents greater than 60% DM, germinative energies and capacities greater than or equal to 96%. A Box-Behnken Design was used to investigate the influence of the steeping duration (24-48 h), germination duration (4-7 days), and kilning temperature (45-50°C) on the diastatic power and reducing sugar content of NL36 and ITA300 malt. The optimum malting conditions for maximum diastatic power of NL36 malt (38.47 WK) and reducing sugar content (16.79 g/100 g DM) were: steeping duration of 40 h, germination duration of 4 days, and kilning temperature of 50°C with a desirability value of 0.94. The optimal conditions for a maximum diastatic power of ITA300 malt (39.097 WK) and reducing sugar content (10.34 g/100 g DM) were: steeping duration of 43 h, the germination duration of 5 days, and kilning temperature of 50°C with a desirability value of 0.97. Although rice malt has a low diastatic power compared to barley and sorghum malt, it contains limit dextrinase and α-glucosidase, which can act synergistically with α and β-amylases. These rice cultivars can be used as the main cereal for beer production, or as adjuncts to enhance the enzyme potential of sorghum or maize malt.
Key words: Steeping, kilning, diastatic power, reducing sugar, germination, amylases.
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