For decades, a lucky subset of molecular biologists have been engaged in the study of beer diligently trying to figure out the science behind the drink’s clarity, taste and foam content. While most of us are content with studying beer after work hours, researchers from France and Japan worked many hours to uncover 18 proteins within the beer proteome that likely influence its delectable characteristics. Although their results are certainly noteworthy, the protocols utilized suffered from sample input limitations (less than 10 ml of sample per run) and consequently a relatively small number of proteins were discovered. Then came the Italians…

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Proteome Research , scientists from Milan utilized a protein enrichment strategy to identify 54 types of proteins from Italian-bottled Splügen beer. The group used Proteominer technology from Bio-Rad Laboratories to magnify low-abundant proteins that would have otherwise been lost with a protein depletion approach. They then analyzed the remaining fractions by mass spectrometry analysis and identified over 40 proteins that were present in trace amounts in the beer sample.

Lead author Pier Giorgio Righetti, of the The Polytechnic Institute of Milan told Discovery News “This opens up a completely new horizon in beer analysis in general, and also in the analysis of any beverage. We are now analyzing a lot of other beverages and finding a lot of surprising things that producers don’t know are in their beverages.”

For further reading on Beeromics, see Emily Sohn’s blog post Beer Gets Boost with Microbrew View.