Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have concocted a probiotic sour beer with ingredients that have the ability to regulate the immune system and neutralize toxins and viruses.
"The health benefits of probiotics are well known. While good bacteria are often present in food that has been fermented, there are currently no beers in the market that contain probiotics," says Chan Mei Zhi Alcine, a fourth-year student from the Food Science and Technology Programme under the NUS Faculty of Science. "Developing sufficient counts of live probiotics in beer is a challenging feat as beers contain hop acids that prevent the growth and survival of probiotics. As a believer of achieving a healthy diet through consuming probiotics, this is a natural choice for me when I picked a topic for my final-year project."
According to researchers, consuming foods and beverages with live counts of probiotics provides significant health benefits. The current International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics recommendation to achieve the maximum health benefits of consuming probiotics is 1 billion probiotics per serving.
In order to achieve that count, it took researchers nine months to develop a recipe.
"For this beer, we used a lactic acid bacterium as a probiotic micro-organism. It will utilise sugars present in the wort to produce sour-tasting lactic acid, resulting in a beer with sharp and tart flavours. The final product, which takes around a month to brew, has an alcohol content of about 3.5 percent," explained Alcine.
Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan from the NUS Food Science and Technology Programme said, "The general health benefits associated with consuming food and beverages with probiotic strains have driven demand dramatically. In recent years, consumption of craft or specialty beers has gained popularity too. Alcine's invention is placed in a unique position that caters to these two trends. I am confident that the probiotic gut-friendly beer will be well-received by beer drinkers, as they can now enjoy their beers and be healthy."
The researchers hope to make the beer available to consumers in the near future.