Yeast Hybrids Give Brewers Chance to Experiment with New Flavors

Published By : 07 Dec 2015 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

A new study by the University of Wisconsin Madison states that researchers have been experimenting with genetically modified yeast to allow brewers to develop new and creative beer flavors that have never been made before.

German brewers in the 1500s found that storing beer in caves gave the beverage a better taste and made it crisper. Storing beer in caves is a method that is called lagering and this method unknowingly led to the hybridization of a type of yeast called saccharomyces cerevisiae with another type called saccharomyces eubayanus – a strain of yeast that thrives naturally in the caves’ cold environment. Until the 1900s, people did not completely understand the science behind yeast even though beer had already been revolutionized by then. Today, cold brewed lager is one of the most popular beverages in the world. 

Yeast is used to convert sugars to carbon dioxide and alcohol during the process of fermentation while brewing. Apart from this, different strains and species of yeast are used to make bread, wine, whiskey, cider, yogurt, cheese, soy sauce, and a host of other things that require fermentation. Yeasts are also used to make drugs, pigments, and flavors. Owing to their ability to produce many useful things, researchers at the University of Wisconsin Madison wanted to see if they could experiment and develop interspecies yeast hybrids in a manner that is faster than the natural process. 

The new method devised by the researchers uses plasmids, which are DNA circles that can be infused into an organism in order to transfer any genetic quality. With the plasmid inserted into the organism, it can alter its cell genes. In this manner, researchers were able to develop a natural yeast protein that triggers two distinct species of yeast to mate.

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