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

New method facilitates research on fuel cell catalysts

October 8, 2015

While the cleaning of car exhausts is among the best known applications of catalytic processes, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Practically the entire chemical industry relies on catalytic reactions. Therefore, catalyst ...

Better fluorescent lighting through physics

October 8, 2015

General Electric (GE), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have created new kinds of fluorescent lighting phosphors that use far less rare-earth elements than current technology.

Porous material holds promise for prosthetics, robots

October 8, 2015

Cornell researchers have developed a new lightweight and stretchable material with the consistency of memory foam that has potential for use in prosthetic body parts, artificial organs and soft robotics. The foam is unique ...


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.