The American Chemical Society has announced that the most complete beer proteome has been found. The journal article in the ACS publication Journal of proteome Research, The Proteome Content of Your Beer Mug was conducted in Milan, Italy by two area university departments from the Politecnico di Milano and the Universit degli Studi di Milano working together.
According to the press release:
In an advance that may give brewers powerful new ability to engineer the flavor and aroma of beer — the world’s favorite alcoholic beverage — scientists are publishing the most comprehensive deciphering of the beer’s “proteome” ever reported. Their report on the proteome (the set of proteins that make beer “beer”) appears in ACS’ monthly Journal of Proteome Research.
Pier Giorgio Righetti and colleagues from say they were inspired to do the research by a popular Belgian story, Les Maîtres de l’Orge (The Brew Masters), which chronicles the fortunes of a family of brewers over 150 years. They realized that beer ranks behind only water and tea as the world’s most popular beverage, and yet little research had been done to identify the full set of proteins that make up beer. Those proteins, they note, play a key role in the formation, texture, and stability of the foamy “head” that drinkers value so highly. Nevertheless, scientists had identified only a dozen beer proteins, including seven from the barley used to make beer and two from yeast.
They identified 20 barley proteins, 40 proteins from yeast, and two proteins from corn, representing the largest-ever portrait of the beer proteome. “These findings might help brewers in devising fermentation processes in which the release of yeast proteins could be minimized, if such components could alter the flavor of beer, or maximized in case of species improving beer’s aroma,” the report notes.
I’m not sure about those findings, the statement about the “ability to engineer the flavor and aroma of beer” sounds a bit too Frankenstein-like for my tastes. Though to be fair, I don’t remember much about Proteomes from my time taking the short course on brewing at U.C. Davis.
At any rate, the whole article is online. Below is the abstract, see if it makes sense to you:
The beer proteome has been evaluated via prior capture with combinatorial peptide ligand libraries (ProteoMiner as well as a homemade library of reduced polydispersity) at three different pH (4.0, 7.0, and 9.3) values. Via mass spectrometry analysis of the recovered fractions, after elution of the captured populations in 4% boiling SDS, we could categorize such species in 20 different barley protein families and 2 maize proteins, the only ones that had survived the brewing process (the most abundant ones being Z-serpins and lipid transfer proteins). In addition to those, we could identify 40 unique gene products from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, one from S. bayanus and one from S. pastorianus as routinely used in the malting process for lager beer. These latter species must represent trace components, as in previous proteome investigations barely two such yeast proteins could be detected. Our protocol permits handling of very large beer volumes (liters, if needed) in a very simple and user-friendly manner and in a much reduced sample handling time. The knowledge of the residual proteome in beers might help brewers in selecting proper proteinaceous components that might enrich beer flavor and texture.