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Occurrence of biogenic amines in beer: causes and proposals of remedies
G. Gasarasi, M. Kelgtermans, K. J. Verstrepen, J. Van Roy, F. R. Delvaux and G. Derdelinckx

Biogenic amines are biomolecules synthesized by eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells that can affect human health. Histamine and tyramine are the most important and can cause important troubles like headache and severe forms of allergy. Secondary biogenic amines can also be involved in the synthesis of nitrosamines in the stomach. In beer, the presence of biogenic amines is mainly due to the activity of contaminants that develop during fermentation but their synthesis was detected during malting too. The microorganisms involved are the Enterobacteria sp., possibly active at the early stage of the fermentation, and many lactic acid bacteria. Some strains of S. cerevisiae produce different biogenic amines, putrescine, spermidine and spermine mainly. Some speciality beers such as sour beers and beers produced by mixed cultures are characterized by a constitutive presence of biogenic amines due to the metabolism of the typical microflora involved. This paper demonstrates that it is possible to reduce the level of the biogenic amines significantly (up to 95 %) in speciality beers by keeping the process as traditional as possible. Mainly by assembling the freshly cooled wort with old beer containing lactic acid bacteria characterised by their lack of aminoacid decarboxylase activity. Biogenic amines are a typical class of amines; they are aliphatic, aromatic or heterocyclic compounds of low molecular weight produced by some biochemical activity of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells (1, 6). These molecules, monoamines, diamines or polyamines, are characterized by a physiological activity, for example by increasing blood pressure, provoking headache, fever, transpiration or even vomiting. They belong to the class of non volatile amines and are well studied because of their potential role in medicine. In fact, they are polycationic compounds that are present in all biological materials and have been implicated in a wide variety of biological reactions including synthesis of DNA, RNA and proteins (18). With humans, biogenic amines can be active on the psyche also, by causing diseases of the nervous system (provoked by catecholamine not present in beer) or by influencing the circulatory system (blood-vessels) due to histamine and tyramine mainly, biogene amines present in beer sometimes. In fermented drinks, the concomitant presence of ethanol and polyamines can accentuate the toxic effect of these biogenic amines. Moreover, these amines can react with nitrites to form N-nitrosamines in the foodstuffs (4, 7).The synthesis of the biogenic amines results from the decarboxylation of the amino acids. The presence of free amino acid and certain bacteria capable of the decarboxylation are factors leading to the formation of the biogenic amines...

Descriptors: Biogene Amine, Mischkulturen, Spontangrungen, Bierspezialitten, Belgische Biere

Monatsschrift fr Brauwissenschaft 56, Nr. 3/4, 58-63, 2003