Is Your Beer Making You Sick? – #365papers – 2018 – 55

Pradenas, Galarce-Bustos, Henriquez-Aedo, Mundaca-Uribe, and Aranda, 2016, Occurrence of biogenic amines in beers from Chilean market: Food Control, v. 70, 138-144

What’s it about?

Brewing beer is serious organic chemistry, and beer can have some not-really-healthy chemicals in them from various sources. The authors of this paper discuss the occurrence of amines (a type of biologically produced chemical) in beers produced in Chile that can, at high concentrations, have negative effects on the health of the beer drinker.

There are two general sources of these amines, either from microbial contamination (like small quantities of bacteria in the beer) or could have been present in the raw materials used to make the beer (barley, yeast, and hops).

Why does it matter?

Studies have shown that at least one of the amines discussed, tyramine, can at concentrations above 10mg per liter can cause hypertensive crises in patients taking MAO inhibitors. Thus it is important to have a sense of how much of these amines are present in any beers.

As it happens, the authors found that two Chilean beers had notably higher levels of two amines (putrescine and tyramine) but still below the levels considered a risk for patients taking MAO inhibitors.

Why did I read this?

I felt like reading a beer paper. It was a refreshing change.

What did I learn?

Probably not what the authors hoped I would have learned, but I’m a little disturbed that there are amines called putrescine and cadaverine. I don’t want to consume anything that has those in it! Ick!

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