Friday March 22, 2019

Here’s How The Microbes Help You Make a Perfect Cup of Coffee

Besides lactic acid bacteria, other micro-organisms that play a role during wet coffee fermentation include enterobacteria, yeasts, acetic acid bacteria, bacilli and filamentous fungi. But it is still not known how most bacteria influence this process, De Vuyst said

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A barista pours steamed milk into a cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2017. State health officials proposed a regulation change Friday that would declare coffee doesn't present a significant cancer risk, countering a California court ruling.
A barista pours steamed milk into a cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2017. State health officials proposed a regulation change Friday that would declare coffee doesn't present a significant cancer risk, countering a California court ruling. VOA

Ever wondered what makes your coffee taste good? It’s the microbes, finds a study.

The study showed that lactic acid bacteria which help in the longer fermentation of coffee beans results in better taste, contrary to conventional wisdom.

“A cup of coffee is the final product of a complex chain of operations: farming, post-harvest processing, roasting and brewing,” said lead investigator Luc De Vuyst, Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in Belgium.

There are several variants of post-harvest processing, among which wet processing and dry processing are the most common. Wet processing — commonly used for Arabica and specialty coffees — is the step that includes fermentation.

The research, published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal, was carried out at an experimental farm in Ecuador. The team found that during extended fermentation, leuconostocs — a genus of lactic acid bacteria used in the fermentation of cabbage to sauerkraut and in sourdough starters — declined in favour of lactobacilli.

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Hot coffee contains more antioxidants than cold coffee. Pixabay

Lactic acid bacteria were already present before fermentation, and these acid tolerant lactobacilli proliferated even more during this process.

“It is challenging to draw a causal link between the microbiota and the volatile compounds in the beans — those compounds that contribute to the coffee’s smell — since many of these compounds can be of microbial, endogenous bean metabolism, or chemical origin,” De Vuyst said.

But De Vuyst noted that the microbial communities, in particular the lactic acid bacteria, showed an impact.

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It may have “had a protective effect toward coffee quality during fermentation because of their acidification of the fermenting mass, providing a stable microbial environment and hence preventing growth of undesirable micro-organisms that often lead to off-flavours,” he said.

Besides lactic acid bacteria, other micro-organisms that play a role during wet coffee fermentation include enterobacteria, yeasts, acetic acid bacteria, bacilli and filamentous fungi. But it is still not known how most bacteria influence this process, De Vuyst said. (IANS)

Next Story

Coffee Compounds May Inhibit Growth of Prostate Cancer

It also showed the growth reduction occurred in transplanted tumour cells, rather than in native tumour cells

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coffee
Coffee can have both positive and negative effects. We need to find out more about the mechanisms behind these findings before we can think about clinical applications. Pixabay

Besides being the perfect morning drink, coffee may also play a role in delaying prostate cancer, finds a study, which may pave the way for treating drug-resistant cancer.

Scientists from Kanazawa University in Japan have identified kahweol acetate and cafestol — hydrocarbon compounds naturally found in Arabica coffee — which may inhibit growth of prostate cancer.

The pilot study showed kahweol acetate and cafestol can inhibit growth in cells that are resistant to common anti-cancer drugs like Cabazitaxel.

“We found that kahweol acetate and cafestol inhibited growth of cancer cells in mice, but the combination seemed to work synergistically, leading to a significantly slower tumour growth than in untreated mice,” said lead author Hiroaki Iwamoto.

Coffee
The pilot study showed kahweol acetate and cafestol can inhibit growth in cells that are resistant to common anti-cancer drugs like Cabazitaxel. Pixabay

For the study, presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Barcelona, the team tested six compounds, naturally found in coffee, on proliferation of human prostate cancers cells in vitro (i.e. in a petri-dish).

They found cells treated with kahweol acetate and cafestol grew more slowly than controls. They then tested these compounds on prostate cancer cells, transplanted to mice (16 mice).

“After 11 days, the untreated tumours had grown by around three and a half times the original volume (342 per cent), whereas tumours in the mice treated with both compounds had grown by just over one and a half (167 per cent) times the original size,” Iwamoto said.

It also showed the growth reduction occurred in transplanted tumour cells, rather than in native tumour cells.

 

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Although “these are promising findings, but they should not make people change their coffee consumption,” cautioned Professor Atsushi Mizokami from the varsity.

“Coffee can have both positive and negative effects. We need to find out more about the mechanisms behind these findings before we can think about clinical applications. But if we can confirm these results, we may have candidates to treat drug-resistant prostate cancer,” Mizokami noted. (IANS)