World, As Seen from the most beautiful islands: Ireland and Cyprus

Irish and Scottish scientists are on a mission to prove organic barley is fit for whiskey


A team of Scottish and Irish scientists is investigating the possibility of producing whisky without using fossil-based fertilizers. They are testing fertilizers with bacteria, yeast, and algae to ensure that they do not affect the world-renowned taste of whisky.

Barley is the foundation of Scottish national pride and accounts for 63 percent of all grain grown in Scotland. However, its production relies on artificial fertilizers derived from fossil fuels. Implementing more sustainable fertilizers could help green the production process.

To achieve this, Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh is collaborating with University College Dublin in Ireland to test three more sustainable fertilizers based on algae, bacteria, and yeast.

“To achieve net-zero emissions, we need to make our food production more sustainable. Hopefully, natural fertilizers can assist in this, but we must ensure that whisky does not suffer as a result,” says Angela Feechan, Professor of Food Science. “We need to understand the impact of using more sustainable fertilizers on barley, its quality, as well as its resistance to diseases and heat, and of course, its taste.”

Once the barley is harvested, it will be tested at a testing centre. “This gives us a highly controlled way to test the grain at all stages of the distillation process,” says co-researcher Ross Alexander.

“We will examine the barley at a nanoscale throughout the entire process to ensure it meets the industry standards.”

The nitrogen content is particularly crucial to meet market requirements. For whisky production, a nitrogen content of less than 1.65 percent is necessary. “Any change to that content could mean it is no longer suitable for whisky production,” says Alexander. “Our analysis of the distillation process should provide certainty on this matter.”

Written by: Liam O'Reilly

Liam O'Reilly is the founder of the publication, a former analyst at a major reputation agency in the UK, who chose Cyprus as his home.

Add comment

World, As Seen from the most beautiful islands: Ireland and Cyprus

From Trinity st. to Limassol, Cyprus

Ireland and Cyprus have one thing in common. The most beautiful islands are divided. Even proportions are strikingly similar. Both nations strive for unity and a good glass of the news. More about us under the link.

Contact us

Feel free to give us a tip: [email protected]

Recent Posts