• Brewing Potential Increased with High Level Yeast

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Brewing Potential Increased with High Level Yeast

Aug 24 2017

University of Manchester researchers and the National Collection of Yeast Cultures have discovered a new species of Saccharomyces yeast. Closely related to the familiar brewers’ and bakers’ yeasts, this new species was found at altitude, growing 1000+ metres above sea level on an oak tree in Saint Auban, in the foothills of the French Alps.

To survive at this altitude, the yeast has developed an ability to tolerate colder conditions than most other known strains of Saccharomyces yeasts. “This ability is of interest to brewers, as lagers rely on yeasts that thrive in the cold; it also open the opportunity to create arrays of novel yeast hybrids with improved biotechnological traits ” said Prof. Daniela Delneri from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, based at the University.

Yeasts also play a major role in many industrial biotechnology applications that rely on their fermentation and a yeast that operates at lower temperatures opens up potential new applications in this field.

“This is the first new species belonging to the brewing yeast family to be discovered since 2011. It’s really exciting to find this new Saccharomyces yeast, as it extends even further the genetic diversity from which we can draw in the yeast gene pool” said Dr Steve James from the National Collection of Yeast Cultures, (NCYC), which is based on the Norwich Research Park.

As well as their familiar roles in brewing and baking, yeasts are one of the best model organisms scientists use to study how cells work. This has placed them at the forefront of synthetic biology, the emerging area of science that seeks to design biological systems useful purposes. Collections like that held by NCYC, with its over 4,000 different strains of yeast, are rich gene banks from which a myriad of different functions can be selected and engineered into new yeasts for specific purposes.

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