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Concept: Hops


Flowers of the hop plant provide both bitterness and “hoppy” flavor to beer. Hops are, however, both a water and energy intensive crop and vary considerably in essential oil content, making it challenging to achieve a consistent hoppy taste in beer. Here, we report that brewer’s yeast can be engineered to biosynthesize aromatic monoterpene molecules that impart hoppy flavor to beer by incorporating recombinant DNA derived from yeast, mint, and basil. Whereas metabolic engineering of biosynthetic pathways is commonly enlisted to maximize product titers, tuning expression of pathway enzymes to affect target production levels of multiple commercially important metabolites without major collateral metabolic changes represents a unique challenge. By applying state-of-the-art engineering techniques and a framework to guide iterative improvement, strains are generated with target performance characteristics. Beers produced using these strains are perceived as hoppier than traditionally hopped beers by a sensory panel in a double-blind tasting.

Concepts: DNA, Carbon dioxide, Metabolism, Enzyme, Taste, Brewing, Beer, Hops


During the beer brewing process, bitter tasting cis and trans iso-α-acids are generated from the precursor α-acids found in hops. The absolute configurations of the α-acid (-)-humulone and several of its derivatives have now been elucidated by X-ray crystallography, thus resolving decades of confusion over the humulone isomerization mechanism.

Concepts: X-ray, X-ray crystallography, Brewing, Beer, Hops, Brewery


Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) beta acids (HBA) were tested for miticidal effects on varroa destructor Anderson and Trueman, a parasitic mite of the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.). When varroa were placed on bees that had topical applications of 1 % HBA, there was 100 % mite mortality. Bee mortality was unaffected. Cardboard strips saturated with HBA and placed in colonies resulted in mite drop that was significantly greater than in untreated hives. HBA was detected on about 60 % of the bees in colonies during the first 48 h after application. Mite drop in colonies lasted for about 7 days with the highest drop occurring in the first 2-3 days after treatment. There was a reduction in the percentages of bees with HBA and in the amounts on their bodies after 7 days. Bee and queen mortality in the colonies were not affected by HBA treatments. When cardboard strips saturated with HBA were put in packages of bees, more than 90 % of the mites were killed without an increase in bee mortality. HBA might have potential to control varroa when establishing colonies from packages or during broodless periods.

Concepts: Insect, Honey bee, Beekeeping, Bumblebee, Mite, Varroa destructor, Humulus lupulus, Hops


Flavonoids have attracted considerable attention in relation to their effects upon health. 8-Prenylnaringenin (8-PN) is found in the common hop (Humulus lupulus) and assumed to be responsible for the health impact of beer consumption. We wanted to clarify the effects of prenylation on the physiological functions of dietary flavonoids by comparing the effects of 8-PN with that of intact naringenin in the prevention of disuse muscle atrophy using a model of denervation in mice. Consumption of 8-PN (but not naringenin) prevented loss of weight in the gastrocnemius muscle further supported by the lack of induction of the protein content of a key ubiquitin ligase involved in muscle atrophy, atrogin-1, and by the activation of Akt phosphorylation. 8-PN content in the gastrocnemius muscle was tenfold higher than that of naringenin. These results suggested that, compared with naringenin, 8-PN was effectively concentrated into skeletal muscle to exert its preventive effects upon disuse muscle atrophy. It is likely that prenylation generates novel functions for 8-PN by enhancing its accumulation into muscle tissue through dietary intake.

Concepts: Nutrition, Muscle, Posttranslational modification, Muscle atrophy, Atrophy, Humulus lupulus, Hops, Humulus


Humulus lupulus L. (hops) is a popular botanical dietary supplement used by women as a sleep aid and for post-menopausal symptom relief. In addition to its efficacy for menopausal symptoms, hops could also modulate the chemical estrogen carcinogenesis pathway and potentially protect women from breast cancer. In the present study, an enriched hop extract and the key bioactive compounds [6-prenylnarigenin (6-PN), 8-prenylnarigenin (8-PN), isoxanthohumol (IX), xanthohumol (XH)] were tested for their effects on estrogen metabolism in breast cells (MCF-10A and MCF-7). The methoxyestrones (2-/4-MeOE1) were analyzed as biomarkers for the non-toxic P450 1A1 catalyzed 2-hydroxylation and the genotoxic P450 1B1 catalyzed 4-hydroxylation pathways. The results indicated that the hop extract and 6-PN preferentially induced the 2-hydroxylation pathway in both cell lines. 8-PN only showed slight up-regulation of metabolism in MCF-7 cells, whereas IX and XH did not have significant effects in either cell line. To further explore the influence of hops and the compounds on P450 1A1/1B1, mRNA expression and ethoxyresorufin O-dealkylase (EROD) activity were measured. The results correlated with the metabolism data and showed that hop extract and 6-PN preferentially enhanced P450 1A1 mRNA expression and increased P450 1A1/1B1 activity. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) activation by the compounds was tested using xenobiotic response element (XRE) luciferase construct transfected cells. 6-PN was found to be an AhR agonist that significantly induced XRE activation and inhibited 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) induced XRE activity. 6-PN mediated induction of EROD activity was also inhibited by the AhR antagonist CH223191. These data show that the hop extract and 6-PN preferentially enhance the benign estrogen 2-hydroxylation pathway through AhR mediated up-regulation of P450 1A1, which further emphasizes the importance of standardization of botanical extracts to chemical markers that indicate both safety and desired bioactivity.

Concepts: Gene expression, Breast cancer, Metabolism, Menopause, Estrogen, Breast, Humulus lupulus, Hops


The hop (Humulus lupulus L.), a component of beer, is a sedative plant whose pharmacological activity is principally due to its bitter resins, in particular to the α-acid degradation product 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol. The mechanism of action of hop resin consists of raising the levels of the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter acting in the central nervous system (CNS).

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Brain, Neuroscience, Neurotransmitter, Resin, Humulus lupulus, Hops


Hops (Humulus lupulus L.) are traditionally used to add bitterness and flavour to beer. Although the isomerised hop extracts produced by the brewing process have been thought to ameliorate lipid and glucose metabolism, the influence of untreated hop extracts on high-fat (HF) diet-induced obesity is unclear. The present study examined the anti-obesity effects of a hop extract in male C57BL/6J mice fed a HF diet, or HF diet plus 2 or 5 % hop extract for 20 weeks. The oral glucose tolerance test was performed at week 19. Furthermore, water excretion was evaluated in water-loaded Balb/c male mice. The effects of the extract on lipid accumulation and PPARγ expression in 3T3-L1 adipocytes were examined. The hop extract inhibited the increase in body and adipose tissue weight, adipose cell diameter and liver lipids induced by the HF diet. Furthermore, it improved glucose intolerance. The extract enhanced water excretion in water-loaded mice. Various fractions of the hop extract inhibited lipid accumulation and PPARγ expression in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Hop extracts might be useful for preventing obesity and glucose intolerance caused by a HF diet.

Concepts: Insulin, Glucose tolerance test, Fat, Insulin resistance, Adipose tissue, Brewing, Humulus lupulus, Hops


Humulus lupulus (hop plant) has long been used in traditional medicine as a sedative and antimicrobial agent. More recently, attention has been devoted to the phytoestrogenic activity of the plant extracts as well as to the anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive properties of the prenylated chalcones present. In this study, an Italian sample of H. lupulus cv. “Cascade” has been investigated and three new compounds [4-hydroxycolupulone (6), humudifucol (7) and cascadone (8)] have been purified and identified by means of NMR spectroscopy along with four known metabolites. Notably, humudifucol (7) is the first prenylated dimeric phlorotannin discovered in nature. Because structurally related phloroglucinols from natural sources were found previously to inhibit microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase (mPGES)-1 and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO), the isolated compounds were evaluated for their bioactivity against these pro-inflammatory target proteins. The prenylated chalcone xanthohumol inhibited both enzymes at low μM concentrations.

Concepts: Inflammation, Nature, Antimicrobial, Chalcone, Humulus lupulus, Hops, Humulus, Cannabaceae


Two bottles of beer from an about 170 year old shipwreck (M1 Fö 403.3) near the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea were analysed. Hop components and their degradation compounds showed that the bottles contained two different beers, one more strongly hopped than the other. The hops used contained higher levels of β-acids than modern varieties and were added before boiling the worts, converting α-acids to iso-α-acids and β-acids to hulupones. High levels of organic acids, carbonyl compounds and glucose indicated extensive bacterial and enzyme activity during aging. However, concentrations of yeast-derived flavor compounds were similar to those of modern beers, except that 3-methylbutyl acetate was unusually low in both beers and 2-phenylethanol and possibly 2-phenylethyl acetate were unusually high in one beer. Concentrations of phenolic compounds were similar to those in modern lagers and ales.

Concepts: Enzyme, Water, Baltic Sea, Brewing, Germany, Beer, Hops, Pale lager


Using a binge-drinking mouse model, we aimed to determine whether hops (Humulus lupulus) in beer is involved in the less damaging effects of acute beer consumption on the liver in comparison with ethanol.

Concepts: Animal testing, Liver, Mouse, Beer, Humulus lupulus, Hops, Humulus, Cannabaceae