Researchers employing a century-old observational technique have determined the precise configuration of humulones, substances derived from hops that give beer its distinctive flavor. That might not sound like a big deal to the average brewmaster, but the findings overturn results reported in scientific literature in the last 40 years and could lead to new pharmaceuticals to treat diabetes, some types of cancer, and other maladies. “Now that we have the right results, what happens to the bitter hops in the beer-brewing process makes a lot more sense,” says Werner Kaminsky, a University of Washington research associate professor of chemistry. Kaminsky is the lead author of a paper describing the findings, published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition. There is documentation that beer and its bittering acids, in moderation, have beneficial effects on diabetes, some forms of cancer, inflammation, and perhaps even weight loss.
Kaminsky used a process called X-ray crystallography to figure out the exact structure of those acids, humulone molecules, and some of their derivatives, produced from hops in the brewing process. That structure is important to researchers looking for ways to incorporate those substances, and their health effects, into new pharmaceuticals.
More here. (Note: Thanks to dear friend Carol Westbrook)