Hybrid yeast produces tasty Belgian beers

Scientists from the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology found that a rare form of hybrid yeast is responsible for the fermentation of Belgian beers such as Gueuze and Trappist ales, according to research published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Scientists from the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology found that a rare form of hybrid yeast is responsible for the fermentation of Belgian beers such as Gueuze and Trappist ales, according to research published in Nature Ecology & Evolutionand a press release provided by the institute.

The hybridization is a combination of the DNA from the traditional ale yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and stress-resistant wild yeast such as S. kudriavzevii. To learn more about how this affects yeast adaptation and domestication, the researchers sequenced and phenotyped samples of the yeast hybrids that they isolated from breweries.

“Our analyses demonstrate that several hybrids between Saccharomyces species originated and diversified in industrial environments by combining key traits of each parental species,” wrote the researchers. These traits included the high levels of fermentation activity of the traditional ale yeast and the stress tolerance and ability to create different aromas of the wild yeast.

The researchers reported that the findings may help them to develop new beer yeasts that can give beer new flavor and aroma profiles.

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