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Artificial Butter Flavoring Ingredient (Diacetyl) Linked to Key Alzheimer’s Disease Process

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by UncleJimbo, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. UncleJimbo

    UncleJimbo Site Editor (945) Massachusetts Sep 11, 2002 Staff Member

    http://www.biosciencetechnology.com...nt-Linked-to-Key-Alzheimer’s-Disease-Process/

    "A new study raises concern about chronic exposure of workers in industry to a food flavoring ingredient used to produce the distinctive buttery flavor and aroma of microwave popcorn, margarines, snack foods, candy, baked goods, pet foods and other products. It found evidence that the ingredient, diacetyl (DA), intensifies the damaging effects of an abnormal brain protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The study appears in ACS’ journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

    Robert Vince and colleagues Swati More and Ashish Vartak explain that DA has been the focus of much research recently because it is linked to respiratory and other problems in workers at microwave popcorn and food-flavoring factories. DA gives microwave popcorn its distinctive buttery taste and aroma. DA also forms naturally in fermented beverages such as beer, and gives some chardonnay wines a buttery taste. Vince’s team realized that DA has an architecture similar to a substance that makes beta-amyloid proteins clump together in the brain — clumping being a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. So they tested whether DA also could clump those proteins.

    DA did increase the level of beta-amyloid clumping. At real-world occupational exposure levels, DA also enhanced beta-amyloid’s toxic effects on nerve cells growing in the laboratory. Other lab experiments showed that DA easily penetrated the so-called “blood-brain barrier,” which keeps many harmful substances from entering the brain. DA also stopped a protective protein called glyoxalase I from safeguarding nerve cells. “In light of the chronic exposure of industry workers to DA, this study raises the troubling possibility of long-term neurological toxicity mediated by DA,” say the researchers."
  2. FosterJM

    FosterJM Champion (825) California Nov 16, 2009

    So is DA in every beer or just infected beer? Always curious if something else in the process made it come to the forefront of taste or if it was just always there? Guess that makes sense the way I typed it? You all get my point though right?

    Cheers!
  3. Shipyard beers should come with a warning label.
    Krebsy, OtisCampbell, phyfe99 and 2 others like this.
  4. UncleJimbo

    UncleJimbo Site Editor (945) Massachusetts Sep 11, 2002 Staff Member

    I don't know for sure, but I think it could be present in trace amounts in every beer. It must be in a certain concentration to be tasted and/or smelled.

    Personally, I don't think the levels of diacetyl in any beer are of concern with regard to this finding (e.g., microwave popcorn has massively more diacetyl than any beer), but it is something to keep an eye on as research continues.
  5. Gonzoillini

    Gonzoillini Advocate (605) Illinois Oct 15, 2008

    Diacetyl is present in almost every beer to some extent, but the majority of brewers view it as an off flavor and go out of their way to avoid it crossing a perceptible threshold.

    Many traditional English yeasts / techniques / equipment actually accentuate this character (Ringwood yeast, square open fermenters where the yeast is continually roused (Samuel Smiths), etc...).

    Interesting article to say the least.

    Cheers!
  6. Diacetyl is a byproduct of yeast not an infection. Yeast will clean it up after fementation.
    Twal and antlerwrestler19 like this.
  7. Gonzoillini

    Gonzoillini Advocate (605) Illinois Oct 15, 2008

    Partially true.

    Diacetyl can also be caused by a bacterial infection (or found in many sour beers that haven't had enough time for the Brett to breakdown that compound).

    http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html/

    Couldn't find a better source quickly than Palmer, but if you scroll down on that link you'll find the section on buttery flavors where he discussed it.

    Cheers!
    nicnut45 and yeahnatenelson like this.
  8. jivex5k

    jivex5k Advocate (550) Florida Apr 13, 2011

    =/
    Everything is bad for you in this day and age....
    Real butter is bad, fake butter is bad, red meat is bad, tuna is bad, the sun is bad, running is bad, typing is bad, watching tv is bad......
    Have a good beer with some good friends, were all doomed anyways!
  9. To the OP: The article stated that workers in the plants where these products are made are more likely to be effected. Do you know of anywhere that I could find data about how much of this you would have to consume in a lifetime to have an effect on you? Alzheimer's runs in the family and I need as much info as I can get.
  10. Have a few good beers with some good friends, we're all doomed anyways!

    Corrections in italics.
  11. Noticeable DA is acceptable in certain beers at certain levels. Just depends on the beer and the style guidelines. Google "GABF style guidelines" and read through them and you'll find a few that mention what is allowed.
  12. UncleJimbo

    UncleJimbo Site Editor (945) Massachusetts Sep 11, 2002 Staff Member

    I don't know, but I will look into it to see if there is any data.
    Note that the article shows there is a "link", but the way I read that is that there is so far not a definitive causal relationship to the disease. I will see if I can get a copy of the actual article in Chemical Research in Toxicology.

    This press release has a bit more details: ACS Press Release.
  13. Thanx.
  14. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Savant (440) Oregon Aug 17, 2005

    I can't find the article right now (it was probably 2-3 years ago when I read the study), but when the risks of diacetyl exposure were first being widely reported, the danger was linked to diacetyl in aerosol form, not from the consumption of diacetyl in solution. In other words, airborne diacetyl "mist" floating through the air in the popcorn factories causes skin irritation, and breathing it in causes blockage in the lungs which also (apparently) allow the chemical to bypass the blood/brain barrier.

    There's no reason (yet) to fear that consuming the minute amount of diacetyl in beer is dangerous. Until new research indicates otherwise, the alcohol itself is still the most toxic thing in your beer.

    If it were truly dangerous to consume in beer form, you would think that someone in the brewing industy (like a long-term employee of Shipyard) would have exhibited symptoms of chronic diacetyl exposure by now.
  15. UncleJimbo

    UncleJimbo Site Editor (945) Massachusetts Sep 11, 2002 Staff Member

    Yes, this article referenced above appears to describe experiments conducted on cells in cell culture, not on entire animals. I do not know how readily diacetyl survives digestion and circulation in the blood stream, but the authors of the paper feel that more study is warranted. As you say, though, the more exposure, the more risk, and if you work at a microwave popcorn factory, you are going to be exposed to a heck of a lot more diacetyl than the average beer drinker.
  16. So is "hints of Alzhemer's" an acceptable descriptor when reviewing?
    devonnaire and Jwren5 like this.
  17. robinsmv

    robinsmv Initiate (0) Florida Jun 24, 2010

    I can't remember
    alpinebryant, Dope, Jwren5 and 2 others like this.
  18. Ungertaker

    Ungertaker Savant (460) Minnesota Apr 30, 2010

    That explains all those mornings that I couldn't remember what happened the night before!
    2beerdogs and silentjay like this.
  19. GABF style guidelines are soooo overrated. ;)
    2beerdogs likes this.
  20. Whether diacetyl is acceptable depends entirely on whether or not you like it.Style guidelines have no business to state what's acceptable or not.
  21. We all start to die the moment we're born. So really, it's all over but the cryin'. Besides...we're lucky if we've all got 5 months left in us anyway. ;)
    2beerdogs likes this.
  22. In addition, if there is any of the precursor in the beer it will oxidize if exposed to O2 when packaging, and produce diacetyl.
  23. crosamich

    crosamich Savant (260) Florida Nov 28, 2007

    This correlation b/t diacetyl and respiratory problems surfaced about 2+ yrs ago. It has nothing to do with consumption and is in relation to inhalation. The levels in a manufacturing plant are exponentially higher than anything the average consumer will ever encounter in beer, food, or otherwise.
    nlmartin, JimKal and jesskidden like this.
  24. Maybe they are. I don't really use them. But there has to be some set standard to judge one against another.

    Yes, it ultimately comes down to whether you like it or not. Style guidelines, such as those put out by the Brewers Association, still have their place. Said style guidelines can still say what characteristics are acceptable for a certain style, and if we didn't have guidelines to say what makes each style what they are, how would we know what makes an IPA different from a barleywine? If you don't like what is acceptable for the style, perhaps you don't like the style.
  25. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Savant (480) Kentucky Apr 20, 2004

    Sure they do. For the competition the guideline is written for.

    I dont want judges deciding willy-nilly what flavors are acceptable at a competition.

    And when I am buying beer, my personal style guidelines damn well do have business stating what is acceptable or not.
    odiedog52 likes this.
  26. stop pouring bombers into the humidifier
    Jwren5 likes this.

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