The project "Icelandic barley for the production of alcoholic beverages" completed

The results of the project Icelandic barley for the production of alcoholic beverages is reflected in an MS project developed by Craig Clapcot, except in food science at the University of Iceland earlier this year.

The aim of the project was to compare two methods for producing fermentable liquids from Icelandic barley for domestic whiskey production. The first method was based on the production of malt liquor from Icelandic barley, the second was based on processing Icelandic barley only with added enzymes. Imported barley malt was also studied for comparison. Measurements were made of sugars at the beginning and end of fermentation as well as alcohol at the end of fermentation. Samples were specially prepared for sensory evaluation and to assess the possibility of producing alcoholic beverages. 

In Iceland, there are opportunities to define Icelandic methods for the production of alcoholic beverages, and these methods do not necessarily have to follow traditional methods in Scotland and Ireland. Within the beverage industry in Iceland, an examination has begun of how the name "Icelandic whiskey" can be protected both in Iceland and in Europe (see article in Bændablaðið from November 2020: Eimverk applies for protection for "Icelandic whiskey).

Part of this process is to define what Icelandic whiskey is and how it is produced, just as the Scots had to do in the early 19th century for their own production. They did this by asking the question: What is whiskey?

It is necessary to define Icelandic whiskey so that domestic barley can be used for more than just feed and it will be possible to ascertain whether it will be possible to increase the value of barley. It is hoped that this work will make it easier for new parties to utilize Icelandic barley for the production of whiskey and other alcoholic beverages.

The results of the MS project are that both production methods are promising for the production of alcoholic beverages in Iceland. However, not as much sugar was obtained from malted Icelandic barley as imported malt or Icelandic barley that had been treated with added enzymes at high temperatures. It may be that the type of distillation equipment has a greater effect on the taste of the whiskey than whether the barley has been malted or processed with enzymes. It may not be possible to malt Icelandic barley every year as the development of the barley depends on the weather. The industry therefore needs other measures than malting in such years to ensure the production of alcoholic beverages. The project will hopefully provide knowledge and ideas for the rapidly evolving beverage industry in Iceland.

Further information about the project can be found on its project page here: Icelandic barley for the production of alcoholic beverages


Icelandic vegetables play an important role in the country's image and sustainability

Recently, an article appeared in Bændablaðið where one of Matís' vegetable projects; Improved quality, shelf life and less waste in the value chain of Icelandic vegetables were reported, in addition to discussions with the project manager Ólafur Reykdal.  

The project on the value chain of Icelandic vegetables received a grant from the Food Fund and began this year but will end next year. The main topics are shelf life research, research on ways to make value from underutilized by-products of horticulture and analyzes aimed at reducing waste in the entire vegetation chain of vegetables. The various parts of the project have been worked on in recent months and Matís staff hopes to be able to deliver interesting results to the vegetable sector in the coming months, Ólafur told a journalist.

The project aims to strengthen the vegetable sector in Iceland with new knowledge that supports the development of the sector, which means increased production, more employment opportunities and an increased supply of nutritious products. The project is carried out in collaboration with the University of Iceland and the retail chain Samkaup, but the Association of Horticultural Farmers, the Horticultural Sales Association and the Agricultural Advisory Center have also been consulted.

Bændablaðið's article can be read in its entirety here: Increased value of Icelandic vegetable production

You can follow the progress of the project on its project page here: Improved quality, shelf life and less waste in the value chain of Icelandic vegetables.

Matís has historically conducted various researches on vegetables and interesting discussions took place on related issues at a focus meeting held this spring on the value chain of vegetables. A recording of the meeting can be accessed here: Value chain of vegetables


The Green Entrepreneurs of the Future have entered the zone around the country

In recent weeks, Matís' staff has been busy launching the educational project Green Entrepreneurs of the Future in the three primary schools participating in the project this winter. Visits were made to Árskóli in Sauðárkrókur, Nesskóli in Neskaupsstaður and Grunnskóli Bolungarvíkur, where Matís employees chatted with students 8-10. classes and their teachers on climate change, the environment and the project itself.

The educational project Green Entrepreneurs, funded by the Climate Fund, has the main goal of educating Icelandic primary school students about climate and environmental issues, the effects of climate change on the sea and its ecosystem, and not least, the potential impact on the fishing industry and society. The project will also aim to empower primary school students by educating them about the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship, not only as a tool in the fight against the climate problem, but also for themselves and their local community. One of the main products of the project will be teaching material for Icelandic teachers and their students, which includes about 40 different projects, games and experiments, to name a few. A packed package of information and not least, entertainment.

In recent weeks, Matís' employees, Ragnhildur Friðriksdóttir and Katrín Hulda Gunnarsdóttir, have visited the three primary schools that are participating in the project this winter. The teaching material will be tested in these three schools and that experience will be used to develop and improve the material and methods. During these visits, the children talked a lot about climate change, discussed what climate change really is and what it means for us, our society, the planet and the environment.

Lively discussions and a great atmosphere were created, as the kids are enthusiastic and full of enthusiasm about their future and nature. A game with a climate-related twist was started in all three schools and in the picture to the right you can see when the students tried Lundaleikinn, which is one of 40 games and projects of the Green Entrepreneurs of the Future. Finally, the project was introduced to the students, where their role and that of the class were reviewed.

In the coming weeks, teaching in workshops will take place in the three schools and we encourage everyone who is interested to follow the project's website, www.graenirfrumkvö and the instagram page gff_matis. There will be photos, videos and other things related to the project. At the end of the project, or around the middle of next year, the teaching material will finally be made available for download on the project's website.

The team behind the Green Entrepreneurs of the Future


Sustainable feed materials for European aquaculture


Birgir Örn Smárason

Project Manager

SUSTAINFEED is a two-year project with five partners, two of them from Iceland. The project received a grant from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT Food) earlier this year and formally began last week with a meeting of partners at Matís in Reykjavík.

The project aims to develop ingredients in fish feed in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Reducing the proportion of fishmeal and oil in fish feed has been a goal in Europe for over 20 years. This ratio is replaced by plant-based ingredients such as soy, wheat and corn. Increased demand for these raw materials in feed and food means that the development of environmentally friendly and sustainable ingredients continues. Part of the solution can be found in by-products of grain and vegetable production as well as new raw materials produced in efficient production systems that are independent of seasonal fluctuations and deliver equal quality.

SUSTAINFEED will focus on the development of micro-algae from VAXA's high-tech production system that utilizes carbon dioxide emissions from the Hellisheidi power plant for growth, as well as renewable energy and hot and cold water flowing to and from the power plant, as well as the development of by-products from grain and vegetable cargo. The raw materials will be mixed into high-quality feed for aquaculture and replace raw materials that could otherwise be used in food.

The goal is for the new feed to be as environmentally friendly as possible, with much less carbon footprint than is known, but at the same time contain all the main nutrients for fish growth.

Over the next two years, a number of experiments will be carried out with the development of the ingredients, their mixing in feed and an assessment of the growth and welfare of fish.

The project's website is still under construction, but in the coming months it will be possible to follow the progress of the project here: SUSTAINFEED WEBSITE.

SUSTAINFEED partners at the inaugural meeting on Vínlandsleið.


Domestic cereals for food production

Matís has for many years worked with grain farmers and the Agricultural University to utilize domestic grain for food production.

Barley is grown in many parts of this country, mostly for feed, but it has also been used in various foods. In recent years, good results have been achieved in the cultivation of oats and oats from Sandhóll are sold in supermarkets. Consumers have taken the oats very well and there is reason to believe that product development based on Icelandic oats will lead to a diverse selection of food products. We must not forget the Icelandic rapeseed oil, which has been extensively researched. Rapeseed oil can be expected to be a raw material for many products in the future. 

It's a pleasure to see a discussion from Erni Karlsson at Sandhóll about the benefits of the Icelandic oats on

Further information on Matís' research on the utilization of domestic grain for food production.


LAURENTIC FORUM - opportunities and challenges for coastal communities in the Arctic

From 2.-4. The LAURENTIC FORUM online conference will take place in November, and this is the thirteenth time the conference has been held. The aim of the conference is to discuss opportunities and challenges for coastal communities in the Arctic. The program is divided into two parts, ie. tourism (Nov 2) and fisheries (Nov 3 & 4).

The conference takes place online and interested parties can participate free of charge, but registration is required. website of the conference where you can also access the program.

The program is divided into five seminars and in each of them there are presentations from representatives of Iceland, Norway, Ireland and Newfoundland & Labrador. The seminars and speakers can be seen below.

Session 1: Sustainable Tourism: Looking Forward

  • Minister Steve Crocker, Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts & Recreation, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Councilor Jack Murray, Mayor of Donegal
  • Sigrid Engen, Researcher, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • Dale Jarvis, Executive Director of Heritage Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Johann Vidar Ivarsson, Project Manager at the Icelandic Tourist Board
  • Maurice Bergin Managing Director, (Ireland)
  • Margaret Story, TIDE Project Officer

Session 2: The value of the Blue Economy

  • Andrew Ward, Joint CEO of Inishowen Development Partnership
  • Charlie McConalogue, Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  • Sunniva Løviknes, Troms and Finnmark County
  • Bente Olsen Husby, West - Finnmark Council
  • Iris Petten President, Port de Grave Historical Society, NL
  • Karl Bonar, Manager, Donegal Blue Economy Marine Cluster
  • Sveinn Agnarsson, Professor, University of Iceland School of Business

Session 3: The Engine That Does Not Stop: Changing Course Through Innovation & Technology

  • Paul Winger Director, Center for Sustainable Aquatic Resources, Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University
  • Þór Sigfusson, Founder and Chairman of the Icelandic Ocean Cluster
  • Joanne Gaffney Aquaculture Technical Manager, BIM
  • Pål Arne Bjørn, IMR and Jo Inge Hesjevik Fisherman and Regional Political Representative

Session 4: The New Frontier: Sustainable Wealth & Health Through Blue Bioeconomy

  • Nils Kristian Sorkem Nilsen, Director Arctic, regional policy, state aid, North Norway EU Office, Brussels
  • Jón Þrándur Stefánsson, Ministry of Industries and Innovation (Department of fisheries), Iceland
  • Jón Garðar Steingrímsson,Chief Operating Officer, Genis
  • Line Kjelstrup, Cluster Manager, BIOTEC NORTH
  • Jason Whooley, Chief Executive Officer, Bio-Marine Ingredients Ireland Ltd.
  • Heather Burke Director, Center for Aquaculture and Seafood Development, Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University.

Session 5: The Whale in the Room: Climate Change

  • Jónas R. Viðarsson, Director of Division of Value Creation, Matís, Iceland
  • Glenn Nolan, Head of Oceanographic and Climate Services at the Marine Institute, Galway
  • Darrell Mullowney, Shellfish Research Scientist, Fisheries & Oceans, Canada.
  • Ragnhildur Friðriksdóttir, Matís, Iceland
  • Stein Arne Rånes Senior Policy Advisor for Troms and Finnmark County Council


Matís scrapie analysis in Bændablaðið


Sæmundur Sveinsson

Group Leader

In the last issue of Bændablaðið, an interview was published with Sæmundur Sveinsson, director of genetic research at Matís, and the topic was a research project he is currently working on in order to protect genetic variability in sheep against rubella.

Bændablaðið's article "Project on the search for protective genetic mutations in sheep against rubella" discussed Matís' project, which is funded by the Professional Council for Sheep Breeding and is carried out in collaboration with Keldur. The project is about refining scabies gene analyzes in Iceland by adding genotypic analyzes of the protective variability that is best known for providing great protection against scrapie in sheep. This is the second of two projects in Iceland today that focus on scrapie analysis.

In the interview, Sæmundur discusses the possibilities inherent in these improvements, but emphasizes that this is not a quick fix, but that the project will possibly provide tools that can be used in the fight against riding in the long run.

The news can be read in its entirety in the last issue of Bændablaðið or on the website here: Project on the search for protective genetic mutations in sheep against rubella


Matís and the Marine Research Institute sign a co-operation agreement

Þorsteinn Sigurðsson, director of the Marine Research Institute, and Oddur M. Gunnarsson, director of Matís, signed a co-operation agreement on 27 October. to strengthen and strengthen the institutions' co-operation on research and sharing of infrastructure.

The key to successful science and innovation is good access to research infrastructure and undoubtedly increased collaboration creates significant opportunities for both parties in times of great challenges, for example in aquaculture, genetics and environmental change in the Arctic.

The good co-operation between the institutions has taken place for a long time, from the years when they shared housing at Skúlagöa 4 in Reykjavík. There has also been a great and good collaboration between Matís and the GRÓ Fisheries School, which the Marine Research Institute has hosted for many years. The agreement formalizes this good co-operation as well as creating further opportunities in marine and water research.


Caffeine consumption by upper secondary school students - new report by the Risk Assessment Committee


Ásta Heiðrún E. Pétursdóttir

Head of Public Health and Food Safety

At the request of the Food Administration, the Risk Assessment Committee in the field of food, feed, fertilizers and seeds has investigated whether the consumption of energy drinks containing caffeine has a negative effect on the health of young people in upper secondary schools.

The report shows that the importance of energy drinks in the total caffeine consumption of Icelandic young people is greater than has been seen in comparable foreign studies. More than half of high school students consume energy drinks once a week or more and 10-20% high school students drink energy drinks daily. Students who consume energy drinks are about six times more likely to exceed the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) thresholds for the amount of caffeine that affects sleep and the caffeine safety limits for the cardiovascular system compared to those students who do not consume energy drinks.

The committee's conclusions indicate that there is reason to restrict upper secondary school students' access to energy drinks, as the supply, accessibility and marketing of energy drinks seem to result in the consumption of Icelandic upper secondary school students being higher than desirable.

The Risk Assessment Committee issued a similar report a year ago which covers the consumption of young people in 8.-10. grade on energy drinks. The results show that the proportion of students who consume energy drinks twice a week or more often increases with age, with about one in ten eighth-graders consuming energy drinks more than twice a week than every other high school student aged 18-20. It is interesting to note that younger young people are more likely to receive energy drinks as a gift in connection with sports and group work (40-70%) than older young people (10%). Recently, the media have covered the report of the Risk Assessment Committee from 2020 on the one hand here: It is common for children to receive energy drinks free of charge and on the other hand here: Swallow twelve times the amount of caffeine and experience discomfort.

The report has been covered in the news recently, but Rúv's coverage can be found here: Icelandic young people crave energy drinks like never before and Vísir's coverage here: Children have to go to the emergency room after consuming energy drinks

Ásta Heiðrún E. Pétursdóttir, division manager at Matís, is the chairman of the risk assessment committee.

Further information and the main results can be found in the news agency Matvælastofnun here: High school students' high consumption of energy drinks gives reason to limit access.

The full report can be accessed here: Report on health risks due to Icelandic young people's consumption of caffeine in beverages in beverages in upper secondary schools.


Viggó Þór Marteinsson honored by the French Embassy

The scientist Viggó Þór Marteinsson received the floor National Order of Merit.

Viggó studied biology at the University of Iceland and graduated with a BS degree. He went to France for postgraduate studies and defended his doctoral dissertation at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale in early 1997. Viggó is a specialist in microbiology and professor at the Faculty of Food and Nutrition at the University of Iceland as well as being a professional leader in research and innovation at Matís ohf.

After completing his doctorate from the Université de Bretagne Occidentale, he has collaborated well with the French scientific community. This connection has led to many French students coming to Iceland and working for longer and shorter periods on projects that have been part of their projects for a master's or doctoral degree.

"Although some have completed or are completing doctoral studies under my supervision at the University of Iceland and have worked on their research projects at research institutes such as Matís," says Viggó. "Some of these students have been here for a long time after their studies and have research positions at Matís. This successful co-operation between the nations in the field of science continues and I firmly believe that it will be strengthened in the future. "

The word was published on November 20, 2020, but due to Covid-19, the word was given on June 9, 2021.

Matís sincerely congratulates Viggó on the word.