In this study, 20 microbrewery beer samples collected from different regions in Korea were analyzed for their contents of biogenic amines as well as for their physiochemical properties (pH, acidity and alcohol content). The separation of biogenic amines involved derivatization with dansylchroride followed by subsequent analysis by high-performance liquid chromatography. As a result, biogenic amines such as tryptamine (nd–1.10), 2-phenylethylamine (nd–0.69), putrescine (0.53–3.56), cadaverine (0.10–1.56), histamine (0.13–2.65), tyramine (0.10–4.96), spermidine (nd–2.29) and spermine (nd–1.02) mg/100 mL were detected in the analyzed beer samples. Agmatine was not detected in any of the beer samples processed. The pH, acidity and alcohol contents of the tested beer samples were found in the range of 3.92–4.57, 0.17–0.38 and 3.8–7.0%, respectively. It was found in this study that threshold toxic level of the beer products analyzed was at acceptable consuming limit.
Beer has been commonly reported to be a health risk for some consumers because of the biogenic amines it contains. These substances are derived from the microbial decarboxylation of the corresponding amino acids or by the transamination of aldehydes by amino acid transaminases. Various methods have been developed to analyze biogenic amines in foodstuffs. However, high-performance liquid chromatography has become a popular and powerful separation technique that possesses many advantageous features, such as high resolution, extremely high efficiency, rapid analysis, and small consumption of samples and solvents used. Because of the high consumption of beers and their possible harmful effects in human beings, application of useful, simple and rapid method for the determination of biogenic amines in beer products would be worthy to determine the threshold consumption limit of beverage products.