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The process of "domestication" brewer's yeast

Bacteria, yeast, and viruses that live within or around us have an incredible impact on our lives. But when it comes to the culinary delights, the most important helpers in this matter are the yeast.

These microorganisms consume sugar and produce alcohol and gas as waste, giving, for example, bread air bubbles that make it lush and delicious. By the way, they are killed in the process (high temperature). Self-sacrifice for the sake of eating habits a person.

Today, industrial strains of yeast used to make beer, wine, bread, biofuels and more. Nevertheless, the evolutionary history of such important culinary "helpers" are still not thoroughly understood. researchers recently published a scientific paper in the journal Cell, which attempted to describe all the "pedigree" of these germs, but the main emphasis was placed precisely on brewer's yeast.

So, scientists have uncovered genetic links that have helped to find out when the first yeast were "tamed" and how people have influenced the development of these organisms.

"The taste of beer that we drink today is largely dependent on these same yeasts. Now we drink the best beers, since ancient brewers were smart enough to get the desired output line of yeast. It really is a kind of art, "- says Kevin Ferstrepen (Kevin Verstrepen), a geneticist who studies yeast, from the Catholic University of Leuven.

The research team sequenced the genomes of 157 different strains of yeast used in the brewing, wine, bread, sake or bioethanol to explore the evolutionary history of the species.

According to the analysis, today's industrial yeasts occur only a few strains of childbirth. Five large groups have been genetically separated strains were mainly grouped according to their productive purpose. Geographical boundaries in the future also delimited each category - in the same group of brewer's yeast, for example, strains from Belgium and Germany were linked, but distinct from those used in the United Kingdom and the United States.

In addition, write "News," scientists have used genome data to trace a common ancestor commercial and wild yeast. According Ferstrepena, people first began to domesticate brewer's yeast at the end of 16 - 17 the beginning of the century. Time coincides with the period in Europe when the first brewers began to expand its business - to move from their homes in the pubs.

Scientists suggest that the first professional brewers yeast took with them when they moved to Europe and even in the New World: beer strains in the US, for example, are very similar to the British.

Something that takes brewing began quite early, has long been known. Some do believe that it began much earlier 16 century, when people are not even aware of yeast. Recently, we reported that archaeologists have unearthed the oldest brewery, its age of about five thousand years.

"If the first brewers saw a good fermentation, they were supposed to be smart enough to use the yeast sediment to create the next game, even if they really did not understand all that is happening. Re-use of microbes for brewing completely separates them from nature. Yeast has begun to evolve in different circumstances ", - says Ferstrepen.

Thanks to this, brewers could, after a while, select certain yeast strains that work and produce the desired tastes. According to experts, four centuries of domestication left traces in the genome of brewer's yeast. The strains of beer yeast are better able to process maltose and maltotriose - the main sugars in beer.

It is interesting that in yeast lines, used in brewing, scientists have discovered more signs of domestication, compared with the yeast used in winemaking. Brewer's yeast is also shown signs of domestication, such as the loss of survival skills and ability to sexually reproduce.

At the same time, many industrial yeast strains lost their ability to produce 4-VG substance that gives pennomu drink spicy flavor cloves, whereas wild strains saved it. It is noted that today there are few connoisseurs of taste. The only exception was the yeast used in the preparation of German beer Hefeweizens - it usually smells like a carnation.

The genomes of these strains contain DNA regions that are likely to originate from the wine yeast. According Ferstrepena such microorganisms having the line when the ale yeast strains combined with the yeast used in the production of wine.

The study of the genomic structure of yeast can help scientists and brewers in modifying yeast to enhance certain tastes and aromas. Ferstrepena’s research team is continuing research to develop new yeast strains for industry with useful characteristics.

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