A Piece Of News

Originally posted on Agritate, which is no longer active.

Yesterday, my first freelance news article went up on Chemical & Engineering News’s Latest News feed, in its Analytical SCENE and Biological SCENE feeds, which focus on American Chemical Society-published peer-reviewed scientific journal articles.

I wrote “Bitter Beer Compounds Stimulate Stomach Acids,” based on an article in today’s issue of the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry by nutritionist Veronika Somoza of the University of Vienna and colleagues. The basics: although many components of beer, such as organic acids and the all-important ethanol, have been identified as stimulators of gastric acid release, which can lead to health problems from acid reflux to cancer, no one has looked at the bitter acids derived from hops, compounds which provide many beers with distinct flavouring. So, Somoza and her colleagues did, finding that even though the bitter acids exist in low concentrations in beer, they pack a whollop of gastric acid secretion stimulation abilities. Figuring out which hops varieties have a better bitter acid profile and altering production processes may help brewers develop a more gut-friendly brew—I think the challenge will be retaining the great flavour profile while reducing gastric acid secretion stimulation.

Of course, seeing as how the researchers are all based in Austria and Germany, the home of some of most awesome beer in the world, I couldn’t not ask Prof. Dr. Somoza what her and her team’s favourite brew was—they tested local dark, wheat, lager, pilsener, and alcohol-free beers for their study. Prof. Dr. Somoza laughed when the question came up, declaring that her team is diverse, from different regions in Germany and Austria—“They all like beer!”

As a bonus, another one of my JACS Spotlights also went up online (again, for the full piece, you have to log in—and perhaps have extra credentials). This one is about an article looking at demethylases to get a handle on different structures and chemistries that can support demethylation reactions for epigenetic and post-translational control.

I wrote the demethylase Spotlight almost a month ago—I just turned another one in on Monday, so I’m sure it’ll be up in a few weeks, too!

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