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Sensomics Analysis of Key Bitter Compounds in the Hard Resin of Hops (Humulus lupulus L.) and Their Contribution to the Bitter Profile of Pilsner-Type Beer

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journal contribution
posted on 08.04.2015, 00:00 by Michael Dresel, Andreas Dunkel, Thomas Hofmann
Recent brewing trials indicated the occurrence of valuable bitter compounds in the hard resin fraction of hop. Aiming at the discovery of these compounds, hop’s ε-resin was separated by means of a sensory guided fractionation approach and the key taste molecules were identified by means of UV/vis, LC-TOF-MS, and 1D/2D-NMR studies as well as synthetic experiments. Besides a series of literature known xanthohumol derivatives, multifidol glucosides, flavon-3-on glycosides, and p-coumaric acid esters, a total of 11 bitter tastants are reported for the first time, namely, 1″,2″-dihydroxanthohumol F, 4′-hydroxytunicatachalcone, isoxantholupon, 1-methoxy-4-prenylphloroglucinol, dihydrocyclohumulohydrochinone, xanthohumols M, N, and P, and isoxanthohumols M, N, and P, respectively. Human sensory analysis revealed low bitter recognition threshold concentrations ranging from 5 (co-multifidol glucopyranoside) to 198 μmol/L (trans-p-coumaric acid ethyl ester) depending on their chemical structure. For the first time, LC-MS/MS quantitation of these taste compounds in Pilsner-type beer, followed by taste re-engineering experiments, revealed the additive contribution of iso-α-acids and the identified hard resin components to be truly necessary and sufficient for constructing the authentic bitter percept of beer. Finally, brewing trails using the ε-resin as the only hop source impressively demonstrated the possibility to produce beverages strongly enriched with prenylated hop flavonoids.