A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have created a probiotic sour beer that boosts immunity and improves gut-health. The new specialty beer incorporates the probiotic strain Lactobacillus paracasei L26, which has the ability to neutralise toxins and viruses, as well as regulate the immune system.
Studies have shown that consuming food and beverages with live counts of probiotics are more effective in delivering health effects than eating those with inactive probiotics. Currently, the recommendation by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics is to have a minimum of one billion probiotics per serving in order to attain the maximum health benefits.
Ms Chan Mei Zhi Alcine, a student from the Food Science and Technology Programme under the NUS Faculty of Science, came up with the idea for fortified beer. 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.
Ms Chan took about nine months to come up with a recipe that achieves the optimal count of live probiotics in the beer. By propagating the probiotic and yeast in pure cultures, and modifying conventional brewing and fermentation processes, she managed to increase and maintain the live counts of the strain of probiotic.
“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 per cent,” explained Ms Chan.
“The general health benefits associated with consuming food and beverages with probiotic strains have driven demand dramatically,” said associate professor Liu Shao Quan from the NUS Food Science and Technology Programme. “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.”