Quick, what's the world's favorite beverage?

If you said 'beer', you're wrong, water and tea are way ahead, but it means the most comprehensive deciphering of the beer's proteome (the set of proteins that make beer "beer") ever reported will interest you just the same.   Their report on the beer proteome could give brewers a new way to engineer and even customize the flavor and aroma of beer by experimenting with the proteinaceous components.

Beer is the world's favorite alcoholic beverage, so you needn't feel bad about your beverage answer.

 Pier Giorgio Righetti and colleagues 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 while beer ranks behind only water and tea as the world's most popular beverage, little research had been done to identify the full set of proteins that make up beer.

beer proteome

Those proteins, they note, play a key role in the formation, texture, and stability of the foamy 'head' that drinkers value so highly but scientists had identified only a dozen beer proteins, including seven from the barley used to make beer and two from yeast.

Now these researchers have 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.

Citation: Elisa Fasoli, Giancarlo Aldini, Luca Regazzoni, Alexander V. Kravchuk, Attilio Citterio, and Pier Giorgio Righetti, 'Les Matres de l’Orge: The Proteome Content of Your Beer Mug', J. Proteome Res., Articles ASAP (As Soon As Publishable) Publication Date (Web): August 19, 2010 (Article) DOI: 10.1021/pr100551n