Burp! Singapore scientists hope for
probiotic beer hit
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[July 29, 2017]
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - It's a
breakthrough worth raising a glass to.
Researchers in Singapore have brewed up a beer containing probiotic
bacteria that can improve gut health and boost the immune system.
Food researcher Alcine Chan, 23, 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
Chan, who perfected the beer recipe as a project for the senior year of
her degree, said she drew inspiration from the probiotic yoghurt and
dairy drinks she consumes every day.
The pale, bubbly drink tastes slightly sweet and has 3.5 percent alcohol
content, just under the 4 percent to 6 percent of regular beers. Every
100 ml (3.4 oz) of the drink, or roughly just over a mouthful, contains
1 billion probiotic organisms.
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.
[to top of second column]
National University of Singapore (NUS) researchers Alcine Chan Mei
Zhi and Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan (L) pose with their pint
of "gut-friendly" probiotic sour beer, which incorporates a
probiotic strain that helps to neutralise toxins, at their Faculty
of Science lab in Singapore July 14, 2017. Picture July 14, 2017.
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.
But it will be some time before bars can offer the new beer, as the
researchers wait for their drink to be patented. The pair are also
in talks with beer companies on marketing plans, Liu said, without
The beer contains the Lactobacilus paracasei L26 probiotic strain,
the researchers said.
(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Karishma Singh and
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