Winamp Logo
The Cereal Grain Café Cover
The Cereal Grain Café Profile

The Cereal Grain Café

English, Sciences, 2 seasons, 27 episodes, 1 day, 3 hours, 22 minutes
All things related to cereal grains. Join host Dr. Kurt Rosentrater and his guests as they talk about grain, from farm to table, from ancient history to modern technologies, and everything in between. Grain has played a critical role in human societies throughout history, and it continues to even today.
Episode Artwork

Season 2, Episode 7 - Agriculture in Croatia with Ana Matin and Mateja Grubor

Are you a fan of Game of Thrones?  Did you know that it was filmed in Croatia?  When I envision Croatia, I think about agriculture, farming, and landscapes.  But I’m a big fan of cereal grains, as many of you know.  Join me for a conversation with my friends Dr. Ana Matin and Dr. Mateja Grubor, who are from the University of Zagreb.  We discuss research and teaching of agricultural and food systems.  And we also sample some of the local pelinkovac (if you haven’t tried this drink, you really should).  You can learn about their teaching and research at their university webpages.If you are interested in learning more about grain production in Croatia, here is a report from the USDA.Our music is Inspiring Cinematic Asia by Lexin Music, which is available at Pixabay.Zivjeli!
5/9/202450 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

Season 1, Episode 15

Today’s guest was Dr. Julia Pezzali.  We discussed her work on pet food nutrition as well as a variety of other topics.  She is doing some really interesting work on use of cereal grains in pet foods.  More information can be found about Dr. Pezzali and her work at her faculty webpage at Iowa State University.You can find her publications at her Research Gate page.I have recently found an interesting paper that discusses cereal grains and coproducts in terms of nutrient content for use in pet foods:  “Compositional Analysis of Whole Grains, Processed Grains, Grain Co-Products, and Other Carbohydrate Sources with Applicability to Pet Animal Nutrition”, which is free to download at MDPI.Our music is Inspiring Cinematic Asia by Lexin Music, which is available at Pixabay. 
10/25/202339 minutes, 41 seconds
Episode Artwork

Episode Number 12

Russia continues to destroy grain export infrastructure in Ukraine.  This has global implications to food security.  But this is not the first time that grain has been contentious between Russia and Ukraine.Today our guest is Professor Mark Tauger.  He is an expert in agricultural history, especially that of famines in Ukraine, the Soviet Union, and Bengal.  Join us as we talk about famines.  You can find more information about his background at his faculty webpage at West Virginia University, and his publications at his website.If you want more information about the state of world food security, I highly recommend the latest publication from the U.N. FAO:  The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023Our music is Inspiring Cinematic Asia by Lexin Music, which is available at Pixabay. 
9/28/20231 hour, 17 minutes, 24 seconds
Episode Artwork

Episode Number 10

Grain as a weapon?  Have you ever heard of food being weaponized?  What does this mean?  It has happened repeatedly throughout history and is not a new concept.Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.  We should care about grain vis-à-vis Russia and Ukraine because together they produce approximately 25% of global wheat supply and a large share of other grains.  Ukraine alone (at least prior to the war) was exporting approximately 15 of the world’s corn and 10% of the world’s wheat.  And because of this war, food prices, food insecurity, and starvation have been on the rise, especially in countries that are dependent upon these two countries as sources of food.  Targeting Ukraine has impacted the world’s food supplies, with people most in need being hardest hit – innocent bystanders.The United States Department of Agriculture provides several good resources and about grain  export from Russia and Ukraine.  You can find more information here: During the first four months of the war, all exports out of Ukraine ceased, which led to price spikes throughout global commodity trade.  Post-invasion, the U.N. and the government of Turkey were able to negotiate the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) which allows Ukrainian grain to be shipped out of a handful of ports in the Black Sea (; but this required mandatory inspections of incoming and outgoing cargo vessels.  It was established in order to help meet global grain demand by allowing commodities to be shipped out of Ukraine – primarily corn, wheat, sunflower, and other agricultural products (64% of Ukrainian wheat has been destined for developing countries while 51% of the corn has been similarly destined).  This endeavor has helped global commodity prices stabilize and to even decrease to almost their pre-invasion levels.On July 17, however, when this agreement was set for renewal, Russia decided not to extend the deal.  Global wheat prices spiked by at least 9% within two days.  The New York Times has an excellent piece discussing these developments: As I prepare this post, a news story from the BBC just entered my feed:  the Russians have been conducting missile strikes on grain terminals in Odessa: Here is an interesting article in the Spokane Spokesman-Review about weaponizing food:  we can soon get back to work on focusing on feeding people, especially in developing countries.  Stay tuned.  This is such an important topic that we will definitely have another episode in the future.
7/19/202315 minutes, 55 seconds
Episode Artwork

Episode Number 9

Cereal grains are staple foodstuffs around the world.  Unfortunately, it is estimated that in 2023 nearly 350 million people will suffer from food shortages.  How can we help alleviate hunger and starvation?Our guest this week talks about global food security issues.  Olivia Caillouet is a Soil Health Program Manager at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Prior to that she was a recruiter for Winrock International where she coordinated Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer assignments in Africa (this is how I met Olivia, in fact).  She has a Ph.D. from the University of Florida, and M.S. in Agricultural and Extension Services and B.S. in Horticultural Science from the University of Arkansas.  Feel free to reach out to her via LinkedIn at you are interested in further information on today's topic, I suggest that you check out the US AID webpage (U.S. Agency for International Development ( to learn about the US government's activities to help alleviate global hunger and poverty.  They have some really amazing programs.  I also suggest that you check out Winrock International's page (Winrock International) to learn about the Farmer-to-Farmer program, which is making significant impact in many countries.  The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (Home | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations ( has a vast array of country-specific statistics and information about food supplies, poverty, hunger, and related topics.Finally, I think you will find this article really enlightening:  Global Food Crisis: 10 Countries Suffering the Most From HungerPlease rate this podcast wherever you get your podcasts, and feel free to reach out to me any time.  Thanks for listening!
6/15/202355 minutes, 14 seconds
Episode Artwork

Episode Number 8

Light or dark?  Which kind of beer do you prefer?  Do you like hoppy IPAs?Me?  I like to explore all kinds of flavors.  I'm a food scientist after all!Today's episode builds upon our previous conversation with Dr. Noelle Phillips about the history of beer.  This episode is Part 2 of our beer sequence.  Our guest today is John Forte, who is the President of Betatec Hop Products, which is part of John I. Haas, the world's oldest and largest hops producer.   John joins us today to discuss all things hops and hops acids.  Not only do they provide flavors to beer, but they have some amazing antimicrobial properties which are effective against contaminating bacterial for all kinds of industrial fermentations.  John has an extensive background, including a Masters degree in International Food Marketing from Saint Joseph's University, an MBA from Rosemont College, a BS from Roosevelt University, and an Advanced Culinary Arts Certificate from the Culinary Institute of America.  He can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @Hopsman321.And if you are interested in the latest scientific research on hops, I suggest checking out a new journal paper that examines the characteristics and effectiveness of various hops acids against bacterial contaminants:Kolenc, Zala, Tomaž Langerholc, Gregor Hostnik, Miha Ocvirk, Sara Štumpf, Maša Pintarič, Iztok Jože Košir, Andreja Čerenak, Alenka Garmut, and Urban Bren. 2023. "Antimicrobial Properties of Different Hop (Humulus lupulus) Genotypes" Plants 12, no. 1: 120. has also published a special issue which focuses on hops acids for brewing and beyond:Special Issue "Humulus lupulus: From Field to Glass and Beyond"I suggest listening to today's episode with a rich IPA.  Enjoy the hoppy notes while you listen to our conversation!
5/31/202353 minutes, 8 seconds
Episode Artwork

Episode Number 6

You've heard my guests talk about grain.  You've heard me talk about grain.  How many times can you say the word "grain" in a single podcast??Have you ever wondered about careers in the grain industry?   There are many.  And they encompass a wide range of interests and skill sets.  In this episode, we talk with Amanda Homan, who is an engineer with Green Plains Renewable Energy, which is a company that manufactures biofuels, proteins, and sugars from corn.  She graduated from Iowa State University's Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and has had an interesting career path working with grain.  More about her company can be found at the GPRE website:  Green Plains - Ingredients that matter ( you are searching for a career, I suggest checking out the Cereals and Grains Association's Career Center page at:  Cereals & Grains Association (CGA), Cereals & Grains Association Career Center|Find Your Career Here (, or the American Society of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers Careers page: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), ASABE Career Center|Find Your Career HereYou can also find many opportunities on LinkedIn's job postings.Feel free to reach out to me if you ever want to discuss career options.
4/26/202340 minutes, 8 seconds
Episode Artwork

Episode Number 5

Is your food safe to eat?  How do you know?   There are many toxins that hide in grain, and they can make you sick even if you don't eat the grains themselves.....they may end up in the milk, meat, or eggs that you eat.  In this episode Dr. Kurt Rosentrater talks with Dr. Chris Maragos, who is a research scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.  He develops and tests detection methods for mycotoxins.  They discuss mycotoxins in grains and how we can keep our food systems safe from these compounds.  For more information about his work, check out his website:  Chris Maragos : USDA ARS A brief summary about mycotoxins in general can be found at the World Health Organization:  Mycotoxins ( a description about the challenge of mycotoxins throughout Africa can be found at the UN FAO:  the-need-for-integrated-approaches-to-address-food-safety-risk---the-case-of-mycotoxins-in-africa-en.pdf ( music is Inspiring Cinematic Asia by Lexin Music, which is available at Pixabay. 
3/17/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

Episode Number 3

Do you like veggie burgers?  Have you ever heard of corn burgers?  Do you know that this is the year of pulses?  In this episode Dr. Kurt Rosentrater talks with Dr. Fatma Boukid, who is a research scientist with ClonBio.  She works on developing food products from plant-based proteins and fibers.  They discuss plants, product development, science, and the curiosity that drives innovation.  Our music is Inspiring Cinematic Asia by Lexin Music, which is available at Pixabay. 
2/23/202344 minutes, 53 seconds