Probiotic beer that can improve gut health brewed by Singapore scientists

July 31, 2017

A team of researchers in Singapore has successfully brewed beer that contains probiotic bacteria that can boost the immune system and improve gut health.

Alcine Chan, a 23-year-old food researcher, worked and experimented for almost a year with a recipe of malt, alcohol, hops and a strain of probiotic bacteria, until she got the formula just right.

“The hops are the main ingredient that kills probiotics, so we had to find a way for the probiotics to overcome the hops,” Chan said, demonstrating the pre-fermentation process in a laboratory at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The popularity of beer promises huge market potential for the process, she said, adding that she hoped it would reach as many consumers as possible.

Chan, who perfected the beer recipe as a project for the senior year of her degree, said she drew inspiration from the probiotic yogurt and dairy drinks she consumes every day.

The pale, bubbly drink tastes slightly sweet and has 3.5% alcohol content, just under the 4% to 6% of regular beers. Every 100 ml of the drink, or roughly just over a mouthful, contains 1 billion probiotic organisms.The beer contains the Lactobacilusparacasei L26 probiotic strain, the researchers said.

While probiotics have been shown to improve digestive function and boost the immune system, among other health benefits, project researchers stop short of making nutrition claims.

“The beer is simply a new vehicle for delivering probiotics and the associated health benefits,” said Chan’s project supervisor, Liu Shao Quan, adding that it had not yet been given a name.

Melissa Mak, founder of Fermentation Friends, a group that holds workshops on making fermented probiotic food and beverages, said she would give the beer a try.

“It’s highly incongruous to think of beer as being a good thing in terms of nutrition,” Mak said. “No one knows for sure, but I think it’s a very exciting new product.”

Liu’s team has also experimented with flavored coffees and wines made from Southeast Asia’s popular lychee and durian fruits.

The researchers are still waiting for their drink recipe to be patented so it will still be some time before it will be offered in bars. They are also in talks with beer companies on marketing plans, Liu said, without giving details.


Category: Education, Features

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