AsianScientist (July 5, 2017) – Beer lovers may soon have a gut-friendly drink to raise a toast to, thanks to a team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS). Using a bacteria first isolated from human intestines, the researchers have created a probiotic beer that can help regulate the immune system.
The idea of producing a probiotic beer was first mooted by Ms. Alcine Chan Mei Zhi, a fourth-year student from the Food Science and Technology Program under the NUS Faculty of Science, who consumes dairy-based probiotic beverages daily.
“The health benefits of probiotics are well known. While good bacteria are often present in food that have been fermented, there are currently no beers in the market that contain probiotics,” said Chan, who will be graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science with Honours (Highest Distinction) from NUS in July 2017.
“Developing sufficient counts of live probiotics in beer is a challenging feat as beers contain hop acids that prevent the growth and survival of probiotics.”
Under the supervision of Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan, Chan took about nine months to come up with an ideal recipe that achieves the optimal count of live probiotics in the beer. She achieved this by propagating the probiotic and yeast in pure cultures, and modifying conventional brewing and fermentation processes.
“For this beer, we used a lactic acid bacterium as a probiotic microorganism. It will utilize sugars present in the wort to produce sour-tasting lactic acid, resulting in a beer with sharp and tart flavors. The final product, which takes around a month to brew, has an alcohol content of about 3.5 percent,” explained Chan.
The NUS research team has filed a patent to protect the recipe for brewing the probiotic sour beer.
“The general health benefits associated with consuming food and beverages with probiotic strains have driven demand dramatically,” Liu said. “In recent years, consumption of craft or specialty beers has gained popularity too. Chan’s invention is placed in a unique position that caters to these two trends. I am confident that the probiotic gut-friendly beer will be well-received by beer drinkers, as they can now enjoy their beers and be healthy.”
Looking ahead, the researchers are keen to collaborate with industry partners to introduce the beer to consumers.
Source: National University of Singapore.
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