Tuesday, 02 Dec, 2008 Health & Fitness

BioBeer Could Benefit Your Health


American scientists are working on a type of beer that will include the same amount of resveratrol (a compound that is found in red wine) which, for a long time has been related to good health and long life. Scientists called their new beer BioBeer.

They say that BioBeer is made from brew that was created from a genetically altered brewer's yeast, which produces resveratrol. It represents a powerful antioxidant that persists in natural foods such as red wine. Scientists say that resveratrol can protect against a series of age-related illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's.

Due to the fact that all scientists working on the production of BioBeer are graduate and undergraduate students, none of them is old enough to legally consume the new product.

"We started out with a strict policy that we aren't supposed to drink anything in the lab. We do have a strain, and verified that it has the genes, and are in the process of brewing the beer," says Peter Nguyen of Rice University, Texas.

The research of the young scientists represents a part of the International Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this November. The competition gathered 85 teams from different countries to provide new ideas in the field of synthetic biology.

Randy Rettburg, iGEM Director, outlined that young researchers that took part in the study are the future leaders of the synthetic biology industry. Although most of the teams finished their projects, the Rice team looks forward to carry on with the BioBeer project. They want to publish their research and its results in 2009 and continue to test and improve their strain of yeast donated to them by a Rice alumnus, who is currently the manager of Huston-based St Arnold Brewing Company.

Before being approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, scientists will have to eliminate some genetic markers in the yeast cells. This is because the yeast may be classified as a genetically modified organism.

It is worth mentioning that filtering is the process during which yeast is eliminated from beer. But it also eliminates the beer's medical benefits. Resverstrol is produced within the yeast cells. After entering the human body, resverstrol binds to SIRT1 receptors that are found inside the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell. SIRT1 activity is known to fight a number of illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.

Rice team considers that BioBeer will not have as much resvertsol as the red wine, and thus it may not have the same effect. The goal of the scientists was to prove that it is possible to prolong a person's life with the help of a mix from water, yeast, hops, malted grains and synthetic biology.

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