Brewing beer that tastes fresh longer

December 04, 2019

Unlike wine, which generally improves with time, beer does not age well. Usually within a year of bottling, the beverage starts to develop an unpleasant papery or cardboard-like flavor that drinkers describe as "stale." Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have engineered lager yeast to make more molecules that protect beer against staling, resulting in improved flavor stability.

Scientists have linked stale beer flavors to aldehyde compounds, such as (E)-2-nonenal and acetaldehyde. Many of these compounds are produced by yeast during fermentation, and chemical reactions during beer storage can increase their levels. Brewers have tried different approaches to reduce levels of these compounds, such as controlling the fermentation conditions or adding antioxidants, but staling remains a problem for the beer industry. That's why Qi Li and colleagues wanted to genetically modify lager yeast to produce more of a molecule called NADH. Extra NADH could boost the activities of natural yeast enzymes that change aldehydes into other types of compounds that don't contribute to a stale flavor, the researchers reasoned.

The researchers used a genetic technique called "overexpression," in which they artificially increased the levels of various genes related to NADH production. With this method, they identified four genes that, when overexpressed, increased NADH levels. The team found that beer from the overexpressing yeast contained 26.3-47.3% less acetaldehyde than control beer, as well as decreased levels of other aldehydes. In addition, the modified strains produced more sulfur dioxide, a natural antioxidant that also helps reduce staling. Other flavor components were marginally changed. This approach could be useful for improving the flavor stability and prolonging the shelf life of beer, the researchers say.
-end-
The authors acknowledge funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions, Program of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities, Postgraduate Research & Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities and China Scholarship Council.

The abstract that accompanies this study is available here.

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. 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 on Twitter | Facebook

American Chemical Society

Related Genes Articles from Brightsurf:

Are male genes from Mars, female genes from Venus?
In a new paper in the PERSPECTIVES section of the journal Science, Melissa Wilson reviews current research into patterns of sex differences in gene expression across the genome, and highlights sampling biases in the human populations included in such studies.

New alcohol genes uncovered
Do you have what is known as problematic alcohol use?

How status sticks to genes
Life at the bottom of the social ladder may have long-term health effects that even upward mobility can't undo, according to new research in monkeys.

Symphony of genes
One of the most exciting discoveries in genome research was that the last common ancestor of all multicellular animals already possessed an extremely complex genome.

New genes out of nothing
One key question in evolutionary biology is how novel genes arise and develop.

Good genes
A team of scientists from NAU, Arizona State University, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, the Center for Coastal Studies in Massachusetts and nine other institutions worldwide to study potential cancer suppression mechanisms in cetaceans, the mammalian group that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.

How lifestyle affects our genes
In the past decade, knowledge of how lifestyle affects our genes, a research field called epigenetics, has grown exponentially.

Genes that regulate how much we dream
Sleep is known to allow animals to re-energize themselves and consolidate memories.

The genes are not to blame
Individualized dietary recommendations based on genetic information are currently a popular trend.

Timing is everything, to our genes
Salk scientists discover critical gene activity follows a biological clock, affecting diseases of the brain and body.

Read More: Genes News and Genes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.