Nav: Home

Detecting potentially harmful mycotoxins in beer

November 02, 2016

Beer is one of the world's most popular alcoholic beverages. But, made with barley, brews can contain low levels of mycotoxins, which are produced by fungi that can contaminate grains. Although not a major health threat, the industry needs to minimize the risk of contamination. Now scientists have developed a portable sensor that can help. Their report appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Because of its alcohol content and the high temperatures required to make beer, most consumers might assume that contamination by biologically derived compounds is not an issue. But mycotoxins can survive the brewing process and end up in the final product. Some mycotoxins have been shown to cause genetic damage in cells and cancer in animals. Currently, methods to detect mycotoxin contamination in beer are costly and require in-laboratory analysis. Sweccha Joshi, Teris van Beek and colleagues wanted to come up with a less expensive, portable alternative.

Building on technology used to detect mycotoxins in grains, the researchers developed a biosensing chip that can bind these compounds when they are present in beer samples. The team also could reuse the chip 450 times before it started to fail. Testing on commercial beer and barley showed that the portable instrument detected levels as low as 0.2 nanograms/milliliter of ochratoxin A and 120 ng/mL of deoxynivalenol -- respectively, the estimated safe limits for these mycotoxins.
-end-
The authors acknowledge funding from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

The abstract that accompanies this study is available here.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

Follow us: TwitterFacebook

American Chemical Society

Related Beer Articles:

Why you love coffee and beer
Why do you swig bitter, dark roast coffee while your coworker guzzles sweet cola?
The secret to a stable society? A steady supply of beer doesn't hurt
Scientists analyzed bits of beer vessels from an ancient Peruvian brewery to learn what the beer was made of and where the materials to make the vessels came from.
Beer and fodder crop has been deteriorating for 6,000 years
The diversity of the crop sorghum, a cereal used to make alcoholic drinks, has been decreasing over time due to agricultural practice.
Keeping heavy metals out of beer and wine
A frosty mug of beer or ruby-red glass of wine just wouldn't be the same if the liquid was murky or gritty.
Investigating cell stress for better health -- and better beer
Human beings are not the only ones who suffer from stress -- even microorganisms can be affected.
Store craft beer in a cool place and consume it as fresh as possible
A new study by the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich (Leibniz-LSB@TUM) shows that craft beer should be kept cool and consumed as fresh as possible.
Researchers identify additional inoculation source for lambic beer production
Researchers in Belgium have identified an additional inoculation source - the wooden casks or foeders - for producing lambic beers.
Global warming will have us crying in what's left of our beer
In a study published today in Nature Plants, researchers from the University of California, Irvine and other institutions report that concurrent droughts and heat waves, exacerbated by anthropogenic global warming, will lead to sharp declines in crop yields of barley, beer's main ingredient.
Study reveals how climate change could cause global beer shortages
Severe climate events could cause shortages in the global beer supply, according to new research involving the University of East Anglia.
Consumers willing to pay more for sustainably brewed beer, study finds
More and more breweries are investing in practices to save energy and reduce greenhouse gases.
More Beer News and Beer Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.