Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Oh, the Gall! The Beer of a Better Tomorrow

Five hundred years ago, Saccharomyces cerevisiae was domesticated for use by humans in ale, wine, and bread. One of its cousins gave rise to lager beer. Hybridization of Saccharomyces would prove to be better for the industry, and researchers are attempting to do so.
Image credit:
Diego Libkind, Institute for Biodiversity
and Environment Research, Bariloche, Argentina

Creating a hybrid in the wild between two yeast species is one in a billion, but when it did occur, it created a huge industry in lager. This was the hybridization between Saccharomyces cerevisiae Saccharomyces eubayanus, which lives inside tree galls and can conduct fermentation at low temperatures.

Repeating the process would make advancements in alcohol fermentation, biofuel, and more. More yeast variants accomplish many things: reduction of monoculture, more variations to experiment with with regards to flavor, enhancing production, and even making new products. The plasmids then came be removed, essentially locking the new yeast's DNA in, unchanged.

Plasmids are vital to making new variations. Inserted into the two species, they exhibit a protein that makes two distinct yeast species to mate. This also can help overcome a creative bottleneck, as industrial yeasts cannot make spores.

Original Article: Link
Original Paper


  1. I for one would love to say I have a yeast powered car

  2. This sounds awesome! If they could make yeast work as biofuel that would help the environment tremendously! It does sound like there is still a lot of work to be done to make this possible.