BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Field of the Invention
The present invention is in the fields of biotechnology and food/beverage
manufacturing. The invention relates to the production of malt beverages, and more
particularly to the production of malt beverages having improved flavor-stability.
In particular, the invention relates to methods and compositions for improving
the flavor stability of fermented malt beverages such as beer, and to malt beverages
produced by these methods.
The Brewing Process
Overview. In the production of fermented malt beverages such
as beer, a warm water extract of barley malt, with or without other unmalted grains
such as rice or corn, is boiled with hops, cooled and then subjected to the fermentative
action of yeast. The warm water used to extract the malt allows the action of several
enzymes in the malt to hydrolyze the starch in the barley (and in the corn or rice)
to fermentable sugar, which is acted on by the yeast to produce the alcohol in
the fermented malt beverage.
Malting. Barley malt is steeped with water to produce steeped
out barley which is germinated at a fairly low temperature. Germination is carried
out with daily mixing and water addition as needed to maintain the moisture content
at about 43%. The resulting green malt contains a high content of beer flavor
precursors, beer flavor components, and coloring agents. After germination is complete,
the green malt is heated at a high moisture content to generate beer flavor precursors,
beer flavor components and also to reduce amylolytic enzyme activity. After heating,
the malt is dried to a moisture content of 3.5-5.5% and a soluble protein content
of 6.5-8%. The dried malt can then be mashed to produce a wort which is boiled
with hops, cooled, pitched with brewers yeast, and processed by conventional brewing
processes and in conventional brewing equipment.
Mashing. The malt, which may actually be a blend of malts (i.e.,
standard brewer's malt, high color, low amylase malt, etc.), is ground and
mixed with 2.5 to 4 times its weight of warm water in large tubs and mashed at
35-40° C for 5 to 15 minutes until it forms a thick malt mash. The mash is then
permitted to rest for 45-90 minutes without stirring, then heated in steps to 70-73°C
while stirring, with time allowed at each step for the various enzymes to convert
the starches into fermentable sugars. Following heating, the mash is held for 15-30
minutes, the temperature is raised to 75° C, and the mash is transferred to the
If rice and corn adjuncts are to be used, they are separately cooked
and a cooker mash is obtained. Production of the cooker mash involves the use of
adjuncts along with a 10%-30% portion of the malt (or the addition of commercial
enzymes) in order to convert raw starch into fermentable sugars. The adjuncts and
the malt portion are gradually brought to boiling and held there until the products
are completely gelatinized. During the final stages of mashing (at the higher temperatures),
the cooker mash and the malt mash are combined.
Mashing serves a three-fold purpose. First, it brings into solution
those substances of malt (and adjuncts) which are readily soluble in warm water.
Second, it permits malt enzymes to act on insoluble substances and render them
soluble. Third, it provides a far-reaching enzymatic degradation of starches,
proteins and gums into products of smaller size and lower molecular weight.
Lautering and Sparging. Lautering consists of the removal of
the liquid, now termed the "wort," from the insoluble husks or "spent grains."
Lautering begins upon termination of the mashing process, whereby the finished
mash is transferred to a lautering tub. There it is allowed to rest for about ten
to thirty minutes during which time the spent grains settle to the bottom. The
lautering tub is equipped with a false bottom containing numerous perforations
and an outlet leading to the true bottom of the tub. The mash is then allowed to
settle for 10-20 minutes and run-off begun. The wort is recycled until reasonably
clear. The clear wort is then pumped into a brewing kettle. Hot water is run through
the spent grains to rinse out, or sparge, any remaining wort.
The lauter temperature is about 72-77° C. for both the bath and sparge
water. The amount of sparge water used is about 50-75% of the amount of brewing
Boiling and Hopping of Wort: Primary Fermentation. The wort
is boiled vigorously for one to two and one-half hours in the brew kettle. Hops
(or extracts thereof) may be added at various stages of the boiling process, depending
on the nature of the final product that is sought.
Wort boiling serves a number of objectives, including (1) concentration
of the sparged wort, (2) complete inactivation of enzymes that may have survived
the final mashing process, (3) coagulation and precipitation of high-molecular
weight proteins and solids (termed "kettle break" or "hot break"), (4) extraction
of desirable hop constituents, and (5) sterilization of the wort.
Cooling, Fermentation and Storage: Maturation. After boiling,
the wort is strained to remove the solids, or "trub", and the wort is then cooled
to a temperature of about 12-16°C.
Fermentation is initiated when the wort is pitched with the proper
amount of a pure brewer's yeast culture (typically about 12.8-27.5kg/m3(0.7-1.51b/bbl)).
After 24 hours, fermentation is established and proceeds at an accelerated rate.
Fermentation typically proceeds for about 7 to 10 days. During this period, the
wort temperature must be controlled, since the fermentation process causes the
temperature of the wort to rise. Once the yeast has metabolized all the fermentable
ingredients in the wort, it settles to the bottom and is subsequently recovered
and recycled for use in pitching other brews. As the fermentation process comes
to a conclusion, the temperature of the wort begins to drop. The fermented wort
(termed "green beer") is drawn off for storage in a cold room tank, or "ruh," where,
its temperature is lowered to about 0-5°C.
Processing and Packaging. The "ruh" beer may be allowed to
remain in the ruh tank for completion of the maturation process, or it may be transferred
into a separate maturation tank upon further settling of any remaining yeast and
other solids. Depending on the particular brewery, the beer is allowed to age from
about 14 days to about 3 months. During this period, the beer clarifies and its
flavor develops. Upon maturation, the beer generally is filtered to remove the
yeasts and other solids.
The beer can undergo a single- or a double-pass filtration process.
The double-pass filtration consists of two steps: a primary (coarse) filtration,
and a secondary (fine) filtration. Filtered beer is subsequently stored in a finishing
To prepare the beer for consumption, it is carbonated to a specified
level. Then, depending on the form of packaging, the beer may be pasteurized. (In
the case of the cold-filtered "draft" beers, a microfiltration system is used to
remove contaminants, thereby obviating the pasteurization step.) Beer packaged
in cans and bottles is usually pasteurized, while beer packaged in kegs (and sometimes
bottles) remains unpasteurized. After final processing of the packaged product
(e.g. labeling, etc.), the beer is ready for shipment to the consumer.
Other conventional processing steps well known to those skilled in
the art may be used instead of, or in addition to, the above-disclosed general
brewing methods. For example, the fermented wort can be diluted with water to produce
a low calorie (40 or fewer calories per 300 grams (12 ounces)), non-alcoholic malt
beverage (less than 0.5 volume percent alcohol) that closely simulates conventional
beer flavor, taste and mouthful.
Flavor is a key factor in the quality of a malt beverage such as beer.
It is important that a beer retains its original, fresh flavor and character during
distribution and storage. Thus, off-flavors are a great problem for beer manufacturers
and distributors. The lightstruck flavor is a well known off-flavor formed during
the storage of bottled beer, as is the off-flavor caused by contamination with
microorganisms. Other off-flavors that are produced during storage are expressed
as papery, cardboard-like, oxidized, or in general, stale. At room temperature,
the stale flavor in canned or bottled beer begins to develop shortly after packaging,
and gradually and continuously increases to the extent that most American manufacturers
of beer recall their product from the market if it is more than about 4 months
from the packaging date. Although the oxygen in a bottle or can of beer is typically
consumed by the beer within 24 hours of packaging, the noticeable presence of a
stale flavor generally does not appear for several weeks.
In the past, the stale flavor of oxidized malt beverage, such as beer,
generally has been attributed the combined effects of oxidation, light and heat.
Primarily investigators (representing over 80% of the prior art) have focussed
on methods of reducing oxidation in the finished product. For example, the present
practice of delaying the staling of beer includes maintaining a low level of air
(or oxygen) in the packaged beer by minimizing free head space. Modern beer-filling
machines are designed to achieve very low air levels in the packaged product.
Typically, the bottle is evacuated before it is filled with beer, or the air in
the evacuated bottle is replaced with carbon dioxide before filling, or overfoaming
the bottle is utilized to displace the head space gases with beer foam. All of
these practices can produce air levels of less than 0.5 ml. per 360ml (12 oz).
bottle. But even these low levels of air still allow beer to oxidize in 2-3 months.
The off flavors are made more obvious when the malt beverage has been
stored at elevated temperature (thermal reactions). The negative influence of
isohumulones and melanoidins on the oxidation of alcohols at elevated temperatures
has been known for many years. See, e.g., Hashimoto, Rept. Res. Lab. Kirin Brewery
Co. Ltd. 19:1 (1979). However, although beer is ideally stored at cold temperatures,
maintaining a uniformly cool temperature is not always possible during transport.
This is a particular problem in hot and humid countries where the temperature
averages 28-38°C., even more so in those countries where modern refrigeration is
not always available. Therefore, there is clearly a need for a reliable method
of stabilizing beer flavor, which does not rely upon specifically controlled environmental
conditions after the packaged product has left the brewery.
A wide range of carbonyl compounds are known to be reduced during
fermentation, particularly from malt and wort, and to produce off-flavors. See
Meilgaard et al., Tech. Q. Master Brew. Assoc. Am. 12:151-168 (1975). Two
biological pathways control the level of carbonyl compounds in the final product
- the formation of aldehydes from the oxoacid pools and the enzymatic removal of
wort carbonyls by the brewer's yeast.
Higher alcohols and the corresponding aldehydes are formed partly
by anabolic processes from the main carbon source and partly through the catabolic
pathway from exogenous amino acids. In addition, aldehydes produced during fermentation,
mashing and boiling are known to be potential substrates for aldehyde dehydrogenases
or reductases. Peppard et al., J. Inst. Brew. 87:386-390 (1981).
However, recent studies have indicated that aldehyde-reducing systems are be more
complex than previously assumed. See Collins et al., Proc. Congr. Eur. Brew.
Conv. 23:409-416 (1991); Kronlof et al., Proc. Cong. Eur. Brew. Conv.
22:355-362(1989). It is now recognized that many enzymatic systems are involved
in the reduction of the carbonyl compounds into higher alcohols, and that each
system probably operates with varying activities during the course of the fermentation
process (Debourg et al., J. Am. Soc. Brew. Chem. 52(3):100-106 (1994).
For example, carbonyl compounds, particularly unsaturated carbonyls, are not stable.
Such compounds are decomposed to shorter chains, which are subject to aldol condensation.
Unsaturated aldehydes, notably trans-2-nonenal, and related compounds
involved in the oxidation of long-chain fatty acids have long been associated with
stale flavor in beer. See, e.g., Debourg et al.,
supra, and U.S. Patent No. 4,110,480. It is well known that enzyme mediated
oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, followed by the subsequent
oxidative or non-oxidative scission of the carbon chain, will produce flavor-active
compounds having carbon lengths of 6 to 12. Therefore, those attempting to stabilize
fermented malt beverage flavor have, in some cases, focused on modifying the lipids
involved in the brewing process. However, in beer, the lipids are derived from
malt in various forms including simple lipids (fatty acids, triglycerides and other
neutral lipids), complex lipids (glycolipids and phospholipids) and bound lipids
such as those bound with starch grains.
Numerous methods have been attempted to remove lipids from the raw
materials, including (1) removal of the germ of the grain, which contains a significant
portion of lipids found in the raw material cereals (polishing), (2) removal of
lipids from the raw material cereals by ethanol extraction, (3) pretreatment of
the raw material cereal grains with a lipid decomposing enzyme (Japanese Patent
Examined Publ. No. 22478/1973, Japanese Patent Unexamined Publ. No. 55069/1987),
and (4) removal of lipids by special filtration-separation (U.S. Pat. No. 5,460,836).
However, not all lipids have an adverse effect, i.e., the balance of these forms
of lipids subtly affects the beer quality and the efficiency of beer brewing process.
Thus, even after years of study, it remains unknown what balance is appropriate,
or how altering the total lipid content will affect the stability of flavor in
the stored, finished product.
Another recognized technique for stabilizing beer against oxidation
is to add an oxygen scavenger, such as sulfur dioxide, usually in the form of bisulfite,
to the beer. Sulfur dioxide is produced by yeast during fermentation and will combine
with carbonyls to form bisulfite addition components that are hydrophilic, and
thus less volatile. However, although effective, increasing the concentration of
SO2, naturally or artificially, may be commercially unacceptable. In
the United States, for example, SO2 is limited by law to less than 10
ppm, and even those low levels product undesirable and sulfury aromas in some beers;
while in other countries, such as Germany, prohibit any addition of exogenous SO2.
Even if permitted, the addition of bisulfite, which works by binding
to aldehydes, is not a panacea. Beer is a complex product, comprising many, many
different aldehydes (notably acetaldehyde, a normal by-product of fermentation),
hence the action of a sulfite additive is often muted. The addition of other oxygen
scavengers has also been tried, but with little effect on the long-term stability
of the flavor in the fermented malt beverage.
The addition of enzyme mixtures, including an oxidase, a catalase
and a superoxidase dismutase to inhibit the auto oxidation of the components of
beer is described in EP 0207039. JP 03065173 discloses a method for regenerating
fresh sake with fresh fragrance by passing old sake over immobilised yeast and
immobilised alcohol acid transferase active yeast.
In light of all of the prior art and years of research, however, beer
flavor still goes stale. Thus, it is clear that until the present invention, there
remained a long-felt need in the art for a reliable method of stabilizing the flavor
of fermented malt beverages, which has the following characteristics: (1) will
not significantly alter the desirable fresh flavor of the finished product, (2)
will not significantly diminish the efficiency of the brewing process, (3) violates
no law or regulation regarding the addition of additives or preservatives, and
(4) is not dependent on maintaining specific environmental conditions for the transportation
and storage of the packaged product.
The present inventors have developed an entirely new method for stabilizing
fermented malt flavor by focussing on an aspect of the brewing reaction not previously
considered in the prior art. The present invention demonstrates that fermented
malt flavors may be stabilized by the use of inhibitors, blockers or reducing agents
of Maillard reaction intermediates, such as the NADPH-dependent enzyme 3-deoxyglucosone
reductase, or aminoguanidine. Such enzymes have been isolated and used previously
to inhibit the maillard reaction. Liang et al, Biosci. Biotech. Biochem
56(7): 1074-1078 1992 describe the isolation and characterisation of a porcine
liver enzyme that reduces 3-deoxyglucosone in an NADPH- dependent reaction. This
enzyme was identified as 2-oxoaldelyde reductase. Japanese patent No. 02046285
discloses the use of plant derived 2-oxoaldehyde reductase to inhibit the Maillard
reaction by acting on 3-deoxyglucosone.
In order to evaluate flavor stability, the inventors found it essential
to have a sensitive, quick and reproducible method by which changes in the flavor
of the beer could be analyzed. Sensory testing has been the traditional means available
for assessing the organoleptic quality of beer. Taste testing, although sensitive,
suffers from human limitations, such as personal bias and the tendency to make
comparative (subjective) rather than objective evaluations (Mathews et al.,
Trends in Food Science & Technol. 4:89-91 (1990)). The Institute of Brewing
Technology began using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analyses according
to e.g., Greenhoff and Wheeler, J. Inst. Brew. 86:35 (1981); Strating and
Drost, Dev. in Food Sci. 17:109-121 (1988). Improved methods utilizing purge and
trap techniques, gas chromatography, and mass selective detection using the SIM
technique were applied to establish higher capacity and better separation, determination
and identification. See, e.g., Narziß et al., MBAA Tech. Q. 30:48-53
(1993). However, objective measurements of a particular quality parameter are meaningless
unless they are correlated to the human response to the beverage as a whole when
it is purchased and consumed under normal conditions.
Thus, the present inventors developed a system by which the organoleptic
deterioration of beer could be evaluated by analytical indices providing a series
of compounds (see Figure 1) representing a reproducible continuum of fresh through
deteriorated (stale) forms. These analytical indices were then related to organoleptic
evaluations, as demonstrated in Figures 2a and 2b, to provide a correlation between
objective and organoleptid measures of flavor freshness. Bravo et al.,
IBTC Technical Consortium Meeting #35, Salzburg, Austria, September 1993;
Bravo et al., IBTC Technical Consortium Meeting #36, Caracas, Venezuela,
November 1994. These compounds participate in the reactions involved in the beer
staling process (substrates, intermediates or final products), but do not necessarily
produce the stale flavor. These analytical indices are relatively easy to detect
and show a significant change in their relative peak areas during the aging process
(see Figures 2a and 2b).
The concentration of furfural, 5-methylfurfuryl, 2-acetylfuran and
5-hydroxymethylfurfural are useful indices for measuring heat damage in beer. For
example, in an effort to establish a "quality deterioration test," methods have
been developed for detecting furfural and 5-methylfurfuryl in fruit juices during
storage. Harayama et al., Agric. Biol. Chem. 55:393-398 (1991)
found by multivariate analysis of off-flavor in head-space volatiles formed during
the storage of beer, that certain furfural compounds were a valuable index for
measuring a particular cardboard flavor in the beer. Grongvist et al.,
421-428 (1993), using gas chromatography to measure carbonyl compounds
present during beer production and aging, found that the concentration of furfural
was significantly increased during aging.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present inventors, deducing that the products formed during the
Maillard reaction could be used as indices of beer aging, developed a method (using
indices measured by a combination of capillary electrophoresis and HPLC techniques)
to reliably monitor flavor stability and the organoleptic effect of aging on beer
(Bravo et al., IBTC Technical Consortium Meeting #35, Salzburg, Austria,
September 1993; Bravo et al., IBTC Technical Consortium Meeting #36,
Venezuela, November 1994). By utilizing the method for the detection of the relevant
chemical indices, the present inventors developed a novel system, significantly
advanced over those described and used heretofore, for dependably and efficiently
assessing the degree of beer freshness, and for determining the storage conditions
(time and temperature) of a beer exposed to a previously unknown environment. Furthermore,
the present inventors have utilized these analytical systems to develop methods
for improving the flavor stability of malt beverages such as beer, and for producing
malt beverages by these methods.
In initial investigations designed to solve the above-described problems,
it was discovered that by enzymatically regulating the production of certain intermediates
of the Maillard reaction formed during the brewing process, a fermented malt beverage
could be reliably produced having a refreshingly clean taste and enhanced flavor
stability. The present inventors made further investigations based on this finding,
and developed the present invention.
The present invention is directed to the production of malt beverages
having improved flavor stability. The invention has particular utility in the
production of fermented malt beverages such as beer, although the invention also
may be advantageously used in the production of other malt flavored beverages.
The invention is further directed to brewing methods for producing fermented malt
beverages, such as beer, the beverages prepared by said method, and beverages having
a substantially stabilized flavor. In particular, the present invention is directed
to a method for stabilizing the flavor of a fermented malt beverage, most particularly
a beer, by the addition of an oxoaldehyde reductase enzyme. Thus in the first aspect,
the present invention provides a method for improving the stability of the flavor
of an alcohol-containing fermented malt beverage comprising contacting said beverage
with a flavour stabilising amount of a naturally occuring NADPH oxoaldehyde reductase
produced by brewer's yeast.
The invention further relates to the use during the brewing process
of oxoaldehyde reductase enzymes from naturally occurring sources, including those
produced by yeasts, to stabilize the flavor of the resulting beer product and to
produce a beer having a stable flavor.
The present invention also provides a method for enhancing the flavor
stability of a malt beverage. In accordance with the present invention, this method
is suitable for enhancing the flavor stability of a fermented malt-beverage, in
Thus, in the second aspect the present invention provides a method
of producing an alcohol-containing fermented malt beverage, said method comprising
the steps of producing a grain malt. Producing a wort from said grain malt, adding
a flavor-stabilising amount of a naturally occurring NADPH-dependent oxoaldehyde
reductase produced brewer's yeast, fermenting wort to produce a malt beverage processing
said fermented malt beverage to produce a processed fermented malt beverage, and
packaging said processed fermented malt beverage.
The present invention also provides extracts from a naturally occurring
source (e.g., yeast), or a modified yeast or extract thereof, which will provide
a sufficient amount of the necessary enzymes to block, inhibit or reduce the Maillard
reaction intermediates (e.g., 3-deoxyglucosone), which results in the formation
of the stale flavor in fermented malt beverages.
Still other objects and advantages of the present invention will be
apparent from the following detailed description of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
Figure 1. Chromatogram of a fresh beer showing the chemical
indices of beer aging: LC8, LC11, LC18 and 5-HMF.
- a: Graph demonstrating changes in the intensity of LC18 peak height during
the storage at 5°C and its correlation with flavor evaluation. LC18 is consumed
at low temperatures and tends to disappear in time.
- b: Graph demonstrating changes in the concentration of 5-HMF during the storage
of beer at 28°C, and its inverse correlation with the oxidation degree.
Figure 3. Diagram of the proposed mechanism of formation of
LC18 in beer, and its possible involvement in flavor deterioration. LC18 is a dicarbonyl
compound precursor of 5-HMF which can also condensate with aminascids through
the Strecker degradation to produce aldehydes and pyrroles or pyrazines (CE3).
Figure 4. Chromatogram of a heat-treated glucose-glycine model
system, consisting of 1 M glucose + 0.5 M glycine, after 3 hours of reaction at
90°C, demonstrating acquisition of the analytical indices of beer aging (LC8,
LC11 and LC18) in a model system.
Figure 5. Composite chromatogram demonstrating the effect of
the addition of 1,2-phenylendiamine to wort. A: wort. B: wort+ 1,2-phenylendiamine.
The addition of 1,2-phenylendiamine causes a specific reduction in the LC18 peak.
- a: Bar graph demonstrating changes in the area of hydrophobic quinoxalines
accompanying storage of beer at 5°C and 28°C for 15 days and at 60°C for 3 days.
- b: Bar graph demonstrating changes in the area of hydrophilic quinoxalines
accompanying storage of beer at 5°C and 28°C for 15 days and at 60°C for 3 days.
Figure 7. Scheme of reductase enzyme purification procedure.
Buffer A: 25 mM potassium phosphate pH 7.5. Buffer B: 5 mM potassium phosphate
pH 6.5. Buffer C: 25 mM potassium phosphate pH 7.0.
Figure 8. Elution profile of Reductase 1 on Sephacryl S-200
chromatography. Inset: SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of Reductase 1.
The gel was stained with Coomassie Brilliant Blue.
Figure 9. Elution profile of Reductase 2 on Sephacryl S-200
chromatography. Inset: SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of Reductase 2.
The gel was stained with Coomassie Brilliant Blue.
Figure 10. Substrate specificities of the Reductase 1 and Reductase
Figure 11. Composite chromatogram demonstrating the decrease
in the LC18 peak in beer after addition of Reductase 1 and 2 isolated from brewer's
Figure 12. Bar graphs demonstrating organoleptically determined
freshness degree of beers treated with Reductase 1. Beers were incubated with
a mixture of buffer C, NADPH (control beers) and Reductase 1 (experimental beers)
for 15 days at 28°C (panel a) or 3 days at 60°C (panel b).
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
Throughout this disclosure, various terms that are genetally understood
by those of ordinary skill in the applicable arts are used. Several terms are used
with specific meaning, however, and are meant as defined by the following:
As used herein, the term "malt" is meant to refer to any cereal grain,
particularly barley, steeped in water until it is sprouted and used in brewing
The term "mash" as used herein is defined as crushed malt or grain
steeped in hot water to make wort.
The term "wort" as used herein is defined as the liquor run-off after
extracting a prepared solid material, such as a cereal grain or malt, with hot
As used herein, the term "fermented malt beverage" is meant as any
malt-flavored beverage produced by fermentation, such as beer or sake.
As used herein, the term "beer" is defined as an alcoholic beverage
brewed from malt and hops. The term as used herein is meant to include ales, stouts,
lagers, porters, malt liquors, low-calorie, low-alcohol and light brews, and the
The Maillard Reaction
More than eighty years ago, Louis Maillard first investigated the
reaction of reducing sugars with the free amino groups of amino acids and proteins.
This complex reaction, termed the Maillard reaction, or non-enzymatic browning,
is responsible for the aroma and taste in cooked or preserved foods. Specifically,
it is know to be involved in the resulting color and aroma of fermented malt beverages,
such as beer or sake.
As diagrammed in Figure 3, the Maillard reaction is initiated by the
reaction of primary amines (from amino acids, proteins and nucleic acids) with
sugars to form imines (Schiff bases) which undergo further rearrangement to form
the Amadori products, which are responsible for the browning and fluorescent process,
which subsequently results in the formation of numerous advanced glycosylation
end products. Broadly, the advanced glycosylation end products are termed α-carbonyl
intermediates, including, for example, 1-deoxydiketoses and 3-deoxyaldoketoses.
When the reduced sugar is glucose, as in the brewing of malt, one of the α-carbonyl
intermediates is 3-deoxyglucosone.
Hundreds of compounds, including dextrins, polypeptides, alcohols,
polyphenols, pyrrols, isohumulones, melanoids, fatty acids and aldehydes, as well
as related precursors and intermediates, are involved during the brewing process
in the Maillard reaction. For example, there are over 140 reductases and dehydrogenases
in the super family of reductases involved in the Maillard reaction. Prior to the
present invention, however, there was no suggestion in the prior art that by enzymatically
regulating the production of a specific intermediate of the Maillard reaction,
the flavor of beer could be effectively stabilized. In addition, the use of a specific
reductase as a regulatory enzymatic processing aid in the production of beer has
not heretofore been suggested. Historically, most assays used to test the flavor
stability of beer have been purely subjective (e.g., classical panels of
beer tasters) and have not been conducive to quantitation. It was therefore necessary
for the present inventors to first develop a reliable, objective analytical assay
to determine flavor stability of a sample, which could be used in addition to organoleptic
evaluations, before new procedures could be implemented or additives characterized
in terms of their effects on flavor stability.
The Attributes of Fermented Malt Beverages
Malt beverages, especially beer, possess attributes readily discernable
by the consumer. These attributes include foam, flavor and clarity. Of these, flavor
is ultimately the most important characteristic to the consumer.
Flavor (purity) and after-taste (refreshing feeling) are typically
measured within the industry as having one of the following five grades:
- 1: Taste is not very clean and after-taste has no refreshing feeling.
- 2: Taste is not clean and after-taste has almost no refreshing feeling.
- 3: Usual.
- 4: Taste is clean and after-taste has refreshing feeling.
- 5: Taste is very clean and after-taste has very refreshing feeling.
Flavor stability is typically evaluated in the stored packaged product
(usually at a storage temperature of 40°C.) as having one of the following five
- 1: Significantly staled.
- 2: Staled.
- 3: Usual.
- 4: Fresh.
- 5: Very fresh.
In addition, an increasing number of consumers desire an all-natural
beer product which demonstrates the above qualifies yet is entirely free of artificial
additives or supplements.
It is known in the art that the malted barley may be replaced in whole
or in part by a so called "brewing adjunct." Suitable brewing adjuncts include
maize, rice, sugar and various syrups. A brewing adjunct used in the production
of a wort, such as maize, is usually crushed and a mash formed separately from
the malt mash by adding enzymes. Prehydrolyzed products can be mixed with the
malt mash, and syrups can be added to the wort at the time the wort is boiled as
described above. The use of brewing adjuncts needs to be carefully controlled in
order to produce beer of acceptable taste and color. The use of adjuncts made from
maize, rice and other grains expands the brewing ingredients beyond the traditional
ones listed above. Such an approach is, however, not possible in certain countries
― in Germany, for example, the Beer Purity Laws enacted in 1516 (the "Reinheitsgeböt")
which limit brewing ingredients to barley malt, water, hops and yeast, are still
Compounds added to the wort mixture prior to the primary fermentation
step are termed "processing aids." On the other hand, compounds added to the wort
mixture after the primary fermentation step are termed "additives." The difference
between the two is significant because the use of additives is regulated, whereas
the use of processing aids are not.
By the methods of the present invention, a flavor-stabilizing amount
of at least one oxoaldehyde reductase enzyme is used as an additive to the fermented
malt beverage. This enzyme additive provides enhanced stabilization of the flavor
of the finished fermented malt beverage.
The oxoaldehyde reductase enzyme(s) may be added at any stage of the
brewing process, including to the grain malt, to the wort prior to fermentation,
to the fermented wort, to the fermented malt beverage prior to processing, or to
the processed fermented malt beverage prior to packaging. Most preferably, the
oxoaldehyde reductase enzyme is added to the wort prior to fermentation, to the
fermented malt beverage prior to processing, or to the processed fermented malt
beverage prior to packaging.
Preferably, the oxoaldehyde reductase enzymes are naturally occurring.
The enzymes may be isolated using known protein extraction procedures from a number
of sources, and may be purified as described below and then added to the fermentation
beverage as a processing aid and/or as an additive. In this scheme, the reductase
enzymes may be added to the fermentation process continuously or as a single injection.
The methods of the present invention may be carried out using either full-length
enzymes, or biologically active fragments thereof. As an alternative form of the
enzyme, certain synthetically formulated, full-length or attenuated oxoaldehyde
reductases can be used in plane of the naturally occurring enzymes to stabilize
the flavor of the fermented malt product, so long as the alternative enzyme form
possesses the biological activity of the naturally occurring oxoaldehyde reductase
Preferably, the oxoaldehyde reductase enzyme isolated and purified
by, or used in, the methods of the present invention is an NADPH-dependent enzyme.
Most preferably, the oxoaldehyde reductase enzyme is 3-deoxyglucosone reductase.
Naturally occurring oxoaldehyde reductase enzymes are preferably
isolated from yeast cells using routine protein extraction procedures as set forth
in Example 1 below, or from animal or vegetable sources. Preferred as sources
of naturally occurring oxoaldehyde reductase enzymes are yeast cells, including
brewer's or pitching yeasts, e.g., of the genus Saccharomyces, most
preferably of the species Saccharomyces cerevesias.
The oxoaldehyde reductase enzymes isolated from these natural sources
may be purified by protein purification techniques that are routine to those of
ordinary skill in the art. Preferably, the enzymes are purified by a combination
of "salting out" and chromatographic purification such as liquid chromatography,
HPLC, FPLC, affinity chromatography, ion exchange chromatography, size exclusion
chromatography, and immunoaffinity chromatography. Most preferably, the purified
enzymes are purified by a combination of ammonium sulfate precipitation and HPLC
or FPLC purification. These purified oxoaldehyde reductase enzymes may then be
added to the product, in flavor-stabilizing amounts as described above, to enhance
the flavor stability of the fermented malt beverage.
In an alternative embodiment, crude preparations of oxoaldehyde reductase
enzymes may be added to the product without purification. Crude preparations encompassed
by this embodiment of the invention include extracts or digests of naturally occurring
yeast, animal or vegetable sources. Preferable is an extract or enzymatic digest
of naturally occurring or genetically modified (as described below) yeast cells,
including cells of the genus Saccharomyces, and most preferably of the species
Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Methods for preparing such extracts or enzymatic
digests are well-described in the microbiological literature (see, e.g.,
Difco Manual, Difco, Inc., Norwood, Massachusetts).
In another alternative embodiment, sources (such as yeasts) capable
of producing oxoaldehyde reductase enzymes may be added per se in an amount
sufficient to produce an effective amount of the oxoaldehyde reductase
in situ to stabilize the flavor of the finished product. These sources may
also be used to prepare a crude preparation, preferably an extract or enzymatic
digest, comprising enhanced amounts of an oxoaldehyde reductase enzyme, which is
then used as described above to stablize the flavor of a fermented malt beverage.
Preferably, yeasts of the genus Saccharomyces, and most preferably of the
species Saccharomyces cerevisiae, are used in this embodiment.
In yet another embodiment, yeast cells, preferably of the genus
Saccharomyces, and most preferably of the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae,
are genetically modified to produce enhanced amounts of oxoaldehyde reductase
relative to their parental or wild-type strains. Methods for genetically modifying
yeast cells and other microorganisms are well-known and routine to those of ordinary
skill in the art (see, e.g., Watson. J.D., et al., in: Recombinant
DNA, 2nd Ed., New York: Scientific American Books, pp. 235-253 (1992)). These
genetically modified yeasts provide a readily available source of the reductase
(as a crude or purified preparation) to be added during the fermentation process.
In the alternative, as in the previous embodiments, the genetically modified yeast
having enhanced oxoaldehyde reductase expression may be added per se in
an amount sufficient to provide in situ stabilization of the flavor in the
finished malt product.
If added per se, yeast cells capable of producing oxoaldehyde
reductase may be immobilized onto a solid-phase carrier, at a density sufficient
to provide enough enzymatic activity to substantially stabilize the flavor of the
finished fermented malt beverage. The carrier is important in terms of providing
an adequate environment for yeast growth and contact with the aqueous substrate.
Materials used to provide a carrier may include, e.g., alginate beads (providing
a gel-like carrier), latex particles, or DEAE-cellulose granules. The yeast cells
may be immobilized onto a carrier and cultured according to any means known in
the art (see, e.g., U.S. Patent No. 5,079,011).
The optimal amounts of oxoaldehyde reductase necessary to stabilize
the flavor of the finished malt product were determined using the analytical methods
set forth in the Examples below. According to these methods, the optimal concentration
ranges for oxoaldehyde reductase enzymes in the finished malt beverage are about
5-500 units/ml, preferably about 10-250 units/ml, more preferably about 25-100
units/ml, and most preferably about 50 units/ml. As used herein, one unit of enzyme
is defined as the amount of enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of 1 micromole
of NADPH per minute at 25°C. It should be noted that while these ranges are described
in terms of a particular oxoaldehyde NADPH-dependent reductase, the methods of
the present invention contemplate the addition of other flavor-stabilizing proteins
simultaneously, sequentially, or by a single injection of two or more pre-blended
Having now described the present invention in detail, the same will
be more clearly understood by reference to the following examples, which are included
herewith for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to be limiting
of the invention.
Materials and Methods
The following materials and methods were generally used in the Examples.
Organoleptic testing is designed to give an indication of the stability
of bottled beer, as determined by subjective methods (e.g., "taste testing").
In this approach, filtered, enzyme-treated beer is packaged in standard 275 ml
bottles, and samples are subjected to an alternating cooling (0°C for 24 hours)
and heating (40°C for 24 hours) cycle. The flavor of the beer is then evaluated
organoleptically by skilled tasters. A control sample of beer not treated with
enzyme is temperature-cycled at the same time to provide a standard. The flavor
indices of these treated and untreated beers are then compared to determine the
improved stability achieved by treating beer with an oxoaldehyde reductase enzyme.
The results of this organoleptic testing are then compared to those obtained by
chromatographic measurements of the chemical indices of flavor described below.
Analysis of LC18 and 5-HMF.
Analysis of the chemical indices LC18 and 5-HMF was performed by
liquid chromatography, using a Waters HPLC system which consisted of a 600 pump,
Wisp 717 autosampler, Millennium 2010 Chromatography Manager v 2.1. Separation
was carried out in an Aminex HPX-87H column 300 x 7.8 mm, 9 µm held at 55°C. Elution
was monitored with a Waters 991 Photodiode Away Detector (200 nm - 300 nm) and
the quantitation of 5-HMF and LC18 peak was carried out at 283 nm. For analysis,
50 µl of degassed beer was injected in duplicate samples and eluted with 0.05 M
H3SO4 over 25 min at a flow rate of 1.0 ml/min. Quantitation
of 5-HMF was performed using an external calibration curve of the respective pure
compounds (Sigma; Saint Louis, Missouri).
Analysis of CE3.
All samples of beer were degassed in an ultrasonic bath before injection
and analyzed in duplicate. Analyses were performed on a 270A-HT Applied Biosystems
Capillary Electrophoresis System. An untreated fused silica capillary of 50 µm
internal diameter and 72 cm length (50 cm to the detector) was used in all separations.
Samples were vacuum-injected for 3.5 seconds, and electrophoretic separations were
carried out in 20 mM sodium citrate buffer, pH 2.5, at a voltage of 15 kV for 20
minutes. Detection was performed at 200 nm. Data acquisition and processing was
accomplished using a Model 600 Data Analysis System Software (Applied Biosystems)
Derivatization of dicarbonylic compounds with 1,2-phenytendiamine and
determination of quinoxalines by HPLC.
A fixed volume (2.2 ml) of 5% 1,2-phenylendiamine (OPD) in methanol
was added to a bottle of beer (222 ml) that was then recapped and kept at 20°C
for 12 hours. After 12 hours of reaction, 25 ml of sample were extracted with
chloroform (3 x 8 ml). The chloroform organic phase was removed by centrifugation
at 3000 rpm for 10 min, collected, washed with 0.1 M HCl (3 x 8 ml) in order to
remove the unreacted 1,2-phenylendiamine, and semi-dried with magnesium sulfate.
The semi-dried organic phase, which contained the hydrophobic quinoxaline derivatives,
was then rotavapped to dryness, and the residue resuspended in 250 µl of acetonitrile,
and diluted 1/10 (50% solvent A and 50% solvent B) before chromatographic analysis.
Hydrophobic quinoxalines were analyzed using Method I (see below). The aqueous
phase, containing hydrophilic quinoxalines, was injected directly and analyzed
using Method II (see below).
Chromatographic conditions were as follows: a Nova-Pak C18 (Waters)
column 3.9 x 150 mm, 4 µm was used. The mobile phase was: solvent A - 95% water
(Milli-Q) and 5% acetonitrile; solvent B - 90% acetonitrile and 10% water; flow
rate 0.7 ml/min. Elution was monitored with a Waters 991 Photodiode Array Detector
(200 nm - 360 nm). Typical results are shown in Figures 5 and 6.
Methods I and II are as follows:
Example 1: Purification of NADPH-dependent 2-axoaldehyde reductase
from brewer's yeast.
% Solvent A
% Solvent B
% Solvent A
% Solvent B
Brewer's yeasts (Polar, Caracas, Venezuela) for pitching were washed
twice with 25 mM potassium phosphate buffer pH 7.5 (buffer A), suspended in the
same buffer and disrupted by glass beads (0.5 mm diameter) in a Disintegrator-S
(IMA) at 3000 rpm for 10 minutes. The cell homogenates were centrifuged at 10000xg
for 40 minutes, and the supernatant (cytosolic fraction) was used for the purification
of NADPH-dependent oxoaldehyde reductase activities.
The enzymes were purified by successive column chromatographies on
a FPLC System (Pharmacia), as summarized in Figure 7. All the procedures were
carried out at 5°C.
The cytosolic fraction was applied to a DEAE-Sepharose column previously
equilibrated with buffer A. The column was first washed with the same buffer and
then with the buffer A containing 250 mM and 500 mM KCl, and the enzyme activity
was eluted as two peaks, The first peak (Reductase 1) was eluted with the washing
buffer, and the second (Reductase 2) was eluted with the buffer containing 250
mM KCl. Both fractions were pooled separately and precipitated by the addition
of ammonium sulfate. Reductase 1 was precipitated with ammonium sulfate to give
50% saturation, the mixture was stirred for 30 minutes at 5°C and then centrifuged
for 20 minutes at 4360 xg. The resulting supernatant was brought up to a saturation
of 90% ammonium sulfate, stirred for 30 minutes, and centrifuged for 20 minutes
at 4360 xg. Reductase 2 was precipitated with ammonium sulfate to give 80 % saturation
and processed as described above. The pellets obtained after this centrifugation
were resuspended, separately, in a minimal amount of 5 mM potassium phosphate pH
6.5 (buffer B) and dialyzed overnight against the same buffer.
The dialyzed enzyme fractions were applied separately on identical
CM-Sephadex columns previously equilibrated with buffer B. In both cases, reductase
activity did not interact with the resine and the proteins were eluted with the
equilibration buffer. Fractions with reductase activity were pooled and concentrated
by ultrafiltration with an Amicon YM-10 membrane.
The pooled enzyme fractions were then adsorbed separately to identical
Cibacron Blue columns previously equilibrated with 25 mM potassium phosphate pH
7.0 (buffer C). Reductase 1 was eluted with the buffer containing 400 mM KCl, whereas
Reductase 2 was eluted with a 0-1 M KCl linear gradient in buffer C.
The fractions showing reductase activity were pooled separately and
concentrated to a 2 ml volume as described previously, and then applied to a Sephacryl
S-300 column equilibrated with buffer C.
Reductase 1 was further purified by means of an additional Cibacron
Blue column equilibrated with buffer C. The column was washed with the same buffer
and the proteins were eluted with the buffer C containing 500 mM KCl.
As a last purification step, both enzyme preparations (Reductase 1
and Reductase 2) were subjected to a preparative reverse-phase column (Pharmacia
Biotech Resource RPC 1 ml) connected to a Waters LC Module I plus HPLC system.
The protein elution was monitored by measuring the absorbance at 215 nm. The purified
enzymes were freeze-dried and stored at -70°C.
The activities of the isolated and purified oxoaldehyde reductase
enzymes were determined in a mixture containing 9 mM methylglyoxal, 0.1 mM NADPH,
20 mM potassium phosphate buffer (pH 7.0), and the fraction enzyme (8 µg approximately)
in a total volume of 0.5 ml. The reaction was monitored at 340 nm. All assays were
performed at 25°C. One unit of the enzyme was defined as the amount of enzyme that
catalyzes the oxidation of 1 µmol of NADPH per minute at 25°C.
Example 2: Reductase characterization
Chromatographic fractions from Example 1 which showed enzymatic activity
were used for the estimation of molecular weight by both gel filtration chromatography
and 12.5% polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis containing sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS-PAGE)
as described by Weber and Osborn (J. Biol. Chem 244:4406-4412 (1969)). Protein
was determined by the method of Lowry et al. (J. Biol. Chem. 193:265-275
(1951)), using bovine serum albumin as a standard.
Analytical gel filtration in HPLC was performed on a Sephacryl S-200
column (Waters), which was equilibrated and eluted with buffer C. Both enzymes
eluted as single peaks; the molecular weight of native Reductase 1, as determined
by this method, was shown to be 86 kDa. However, the analysis on SDS-PAGE of Reductase
1 showed two major bands of molecular weight 44 and 47 kDa (Figure 8), whereas
a single band of 39.5 kDa was seen for Reductase 2 (Figure 9).
Example 3: Substrate specificity assays
Various carbonyl compounds were assayed as substrates for the isolated
and purified oxoaldehyde reductase enzymes. As shown in Figure 10, both Reductase
1 and Reductase 2 acted on 2-oxoaldehydes such as methylglyoxal and 3-deoxyglucosone.
Reductase 1 showed a higher activity than Reductase 2 on compounds with a single
keto or aldo group such as acetaldehyde and pyridine-3-aldehyde. Glucuronate was
found to be a better substrate for Reductase 2 than for Reductase 1, whereas metyrapone
was an acceptable substrate for both enzymes. Both reductases showed little or
no effect on the assayed aldoses (glucose, galactose and xylose). It is noteworthy
that neither enzyme, showed any appreciable activity on pyruvate.
These results demonstrate that Reductase 1 and Reductase 2 are chemically
and kinetically distinguishable.
Example 4: Effect of the reductases on LC18
In order to determine the effect of both reductases on the intensity
of the LC18 peak, a 1 ml mixture of fresh beer, 25 mM potassium phosphate buffer
(pH 7.0), 0.1 mM NADPH and the required volume of enzyme to obtain a final concentration
in the solution of 50 units/ml of enzyme was incubated at 25°C for 30 minutes.
After the incubation, the treated beer was analyzed on an Aminex HPX-87H column
connected to a Waters HPLC System under the conditions described above.
As demonstrated in Figure 11, treatment of beer with Reductase 1 or
Reductase 2 caused a significant decrease in the area of the LC18 peak (arrows),
relative to that in an untreated control beer. Treatment of beer with Reductase
1 induced a larger decrease in the LC18 peak than did treatment with Reductase
2, perhaps reflecting the higher specific activity of the former for various single
keto- and single aldo-carbonyl substrates as shown in Figure 10. These results
demonstrate that treatment with either Reductase 1 or Reductase 2, and preferably
with Reductase 1, can reduce the formation of stale flavor indices such as LC18
in fresh beer.
Example 5: Flavor evaluation
For sensory evaluations of beer flavor, we used a panel of six trained
tasters. Each participant was asked to compare flavor profiles and determine the
presence or absence of flavor components, associated with freshness degree of
beer in the following samples: 1) fresh beer at 5°C; 2) control beer at 28°C; and
3) beer with added Reductase 1 at 28°C. The scale used to report the freshness
degree of beer was from "1" to "5" (with "5" indicating the freshest taste).
Beers were prepared as follows:
- 1) Control beers: 10 ml of beer were taken out of each six bottles of 222 ml
of pasteurized, fresh beer under a CO2 current. This volume was replaced
with 6 ml of buffer C and 4 ml of 3 mM NADPH, and the bottles were then recapped.
Three bottles were stored at 5°C for 15 days and other at 28°C for 15 days.
- 2) Experimental beers: 10 ml of beer were taken out of each of three bottles
of 222 ml of pasteurized, fresh beer under a CO2 current, and this volume
was replaced with 5.4 ml of buffer A, 4 ml of 3 mM NADPH and 0.6 ml of Reductase
1. The bottles were recapped and stored at 28°C for 15 days.
The fresh, control and experimental beers were then subjected to evaluation
by the panel of tasters. As shown in Figure 12, these flavor evaluation tests
demonstrated a significant increase in freshness degree in beers containing reductase
1, compared with control beers at 28°C. Together with those for chromatographic
testing above, these results indicate that treatment of beer with Reductase 1 stabilizes
the flavor of the beer.