Brewers Are DNA Testing Beer for Bacterial Infections

Nothing ruins your evening or weekend quicker than taking a sip of spoiled beer. This may not happen very often, but when it does, it makes for a crummy happy hour and a feeling that you just flushed money down the toilet. DNA testing and beer might seem like they have little to do with each other, but it’s true that a unique DNA test could save your beer.

Why Some Beer Goes Bad

There are some microbes that just love to live in beer. While these microbes are fairly harmless at low levels, when they start to grow, they can directly affect the flavor of your beer by essentially destroying it. Lactobacillus and Pediococcus are two main culprits in this case, although there are other miscellaneuous bacteria that grow as well. Many breweries have relied on petri dishes to analyze beer samples to prevent bad batches of beer from being distributed. Unfortunately, the petri dish method takes four to five days to produce results, and breweries don’t have that kind of time to wait on a shipment.

How DNA Testing Helps

A Philadelphia based bio-tech company has developed a test that can produce nearly immediate readings on brew, eliminating the four to five day wait. The test resembles a pregnancy test, but instead indicates the presence and amount of microbes in the beer. What’s more, as long as you know how to take a sterile sample for testing, there’s no need for a trained technician or microbiologist to perform the test. It can also be used on areas besides the brew vat, including pipes, floors, and water. This type of test could help breweries from accidentally sending out bad batches of beer, keeping their reputations for good brewing intact.

Does It Work?

So far, DNA testing for beer appears to be quite reliable, though most breweries that have implemented the practice so far have not had positive or negative results either way. However, when one brewery does catch that bad batch before shipment and distribution, they are likely to be grateful they had immediate DNA testing methods available. For full details of this test, click here for the full article.