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Brief Published: 23 Mar 2015

Hangover-Free Alcohol

Scientists have developed a way to reduce hangovers

US-based scientist Yong-Su Jin and his team at the University of Illinois have developed a way to reduce hangovers by altering the DNA of yeast used to make wine and beer.

According to research published in US science journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Jin and his team used a new 'genome knife' (an enzyme that allows scientists to perform accurate genetic mutations) to metabolically engineer polyploid Saccharomyces cerevisiae (a strain of yeast) typically used in the wine- and beer-making process.

The findings show that mutating the toxic byproducts created when making wine, and the similar yeast strains used to make beer, can reduce hangover symptoms such as headaches in drinkers. While still at the experimentation stage, the development could have wide implications for alcohol brands – particularly as health-conscious consumers are increasingly turning towards low-alcohol options.

Scientists and brands are developing ways for consumers to enjoy alcohol without the negative side effects. British scientist David Nutt is in the process of developing a synthetic alcohol that could be taken in the form of a pill. The pill would produce the same desired effects as alcoholic drinks, but avoid inebriation. For more on this, see Drinks Developments: Alcohol.

Meanwhile, global beer brands such as Carlsberg are developing low-alcohol and gluten-free drinks. For further insight, see Cult of Craft: Beer & Millennials. For wider alcohol industry developments, see Master Mixologist, Craft Spirits and Reframing Wine.