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Disease Fighting Beer Hops

March 14, 2016

Scientists are isolating and synthesizing the chemical compounds that make hops bitter, and studying their medicinal properties.

Transcript

Hops-1 Visitor7 CC BY SA 3.0 via wikipedia

Hops on the vine at Crossroads Farm near Coburg, Oregon (Visitor7/CC BY SA 3.0, via wikipedia)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Hops’ bitter medicine. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The same compounds in hops that give beer its bitter taste also have powerful antimicrobial and disease-fighting properties.

KRIS WAYNANT (University of Idaho):

One of the reasons that you put hops in beer is so it doesn’t spoil.  

HIRSHON:

University of Idaho organic chemist Kris Waynant says these compounds, called humulones, have been shown to fight cancer cells, MRSA, and inflammation in the lab. At the meeting of the American Chemical Society, he reported on his team’s efforts to synthesize different kinds of humulones.

WAYNANT:

Having these molecules in their isolated form can benefit both the pharmaceutical community by having just the exact molecule vs. a mixture; as well as the brewing industry so you could always have the exact one to base your brew off of.

HIRSHON:

But he notes that drinking beer itself is unlikely to confer these medical benefits. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.