Background: It has been claimed that beer is one of the richest sources of silicon in the diet; however, little is known of the relationship between silicon content and beer style and the manner in which beer is produced. The purpose of this study was to measure silicon in a diversity of beers and ascertain the grist selection and brewing factors that impact the level of silicon obtained in beer.
Results: Commercial beers ranged from 6.4 to 56.5 mg L(-1) in silicon. Products derived from a grist of barley tended to contain more silicon than did those from a wheat-based grist, likely because of the high levels of silica in the retained husk layer of barley. Hops contain substantially more silicon than does grain, but quantitatively hops make a much smaller contribution than malt to the production of beer and therefore relatively less silicon in beer derives from them. During brewing the vast majority of the silicon remains with the spent grains; however, aggressive treatment during wort production in the brewhouse leads to increased extraction of silicon into wort and much of this survives into beer.
Conclusion: It is confirmed that beer is a very rich source of silicon.
(c) 2010 Society of Chemical Industry.