Food waste is a fact of life. Often the best thing we can do is try to compost what we don’t use. As a home-brewer, I’m well aware of how much organic material doesn’t make it to the final product; I’ve even tried using it in a variety of ways: breads, birdseed, etc. However, scientists in Spain may have developed the most innovative product yet from the biproduct: bone regenerating biomaterials.
I always thought the substance sticking to the bottom of the fermenting pale had some unknown benefit to science; it has a mineral-rich smell and a paste-like texture. According to Science Daily Spanish researchers associated with Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) have at last unlocked the powers of said substance.
To be fair, the “bagasse” (unused materials) of industrial brewing (which they used) is different to that of home-brewing; but both essentially are made of yeast, grains and hop remnants that survive the brewing and fermenting process. These materials are high in phosphorous, magnesium, silica and calcium, which coincidentally are the building blocks of bones.
The scientists have to used further modification processes to concentrate the materials into coating prosthesis or bone grafts upon which bone growth could be promoted. Currently processed sheep bones and synthetic materials are used for these supporting purposes. Bagasse (currently used as a marginally nutritious feed component for livestock) would be a much less expensive and more environmentally friendly alternative.
This wouldn’t be the first time that beer would help advance humanity. There is even a documentary explaining how beer helped to start civilization itself (among other things).
Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as saying (although he actually was writing about wine):
Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
… and apparently we’re still finding further depth to that proof.
Pictures by: Jeff Kubina