Hop leaves—discarded in beer brewing—have substances that could fight dental diseases

March 5, 2014

Beer drinkers know that hops are what gives the drink its bitterness and aroma. Recently, scientists reported that the part of hops that isn't used for making beer contains healthful antioxidants and could be used to battle cavities and gum disease. In a new study in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they say that they've identified some of the substances that could be responsible for these healthful effects.

Yoshihisa Tanaka and colleagues note that their earlier research found that antioxidant polyphenols, contained in the hop leaves (called bracts) could help fight cavities and . Extracts from bracts stopped the bacteria responsible for these dental conditions from being able to stick to surfaces and prevented the release of some . Every year, farmers harvest about 2,300 tons of hops in the United States, but the bracts are not used for making beer and are discarded. Thus, there is potentially a large amount of bracts that could be repurposed for dental applications. But very few of the potentially hundreds of compounds in the bracts have been reported. Tanaka's group decided to investigate what substances in these leaves might cause those healthful effects.

Using a laboratory technique called chromatography, they found three new compounds, one already-known compound that was identified for the first time in plants and 20 already-known compounds that were found for the first time in hops. The bracts also contained substantial amounts of proanthocyanidins, which are healthful antioxidants.

Explore further: Keeping beer fresh longer

Related Stories

Keeping beer fresh longer

April 13, 2011

Researchers are reporting discovery of a scientific basis for extending the shelf life of beer so that it stays fresh and tastes good longer. For the first time, they identified the main substances that cause the bitter, ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover new glass technology

February 11, 2016

Imagine if the picture window in your living room could double as a giant thermostat or big screen TV. A discovery by researchers at the University of British Columbia has brought us one step closer to this becoming a reality.

Breaking cell barriers with retractable protein nanoneedles

February 11, 2016

The ability to control the transfer of molecules through cellular membranes is an important function in synthetic biology; a new study from researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.