Genes behind lager yeast's cold- and sugar-loving success revealed

Phys.org | January 30, 2019

Lager beer is cold, crisp, dry and worth about half a trillion dollars worldwide. Behind the world's most popular alcoholic beverage is a yeast adapted to the cold, and hungry for the sugars it will transform into bubbles and booze. That yeast is a hybrid, an amalgamation of the domesticated baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and a recently discovered wild species, Saccharomyces eubayanus. Hundreds of years ago, the two species combined their strengths into a cold-fermenting strain that readily produces the crisp, light taste that came to dominate the beer market in the centuries that followed.
In a pair of new papers, University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor of Genetics Chris Todd Hittinger, his graduate student Emily-Clare Baker and others show how modern lager yeast adopted the cold-loving and sugar-hungry traits essential to their success. In one paper, to be published Feb. 1 in Science Advances, the team demonstrates that when the cold-loving S. eubayanus donated its mitochondria—the power-generating portion of the cell to the new hybrid, it conferred cold tolerance on the strain. Today, all industrial lager strains retain the S. eubayanus mitochondria and ferment at cold temps.

Spotlight

The Frederick Manufacturing Center (FMC) is a large-scale mammalian cell culture manufacturing facility. Fluor provided construction management, start-up, commissioning, and qualification services for MedImmune’s FMC Expansion Project.

Spotlight

The Frederick Manufacturing Center (FMC) is a large-scale mammalian cell culture manufacturing facility. Fluor provided construction management, start-up, commissioning, and qualification services for MedImmune’s FMC Expansion Project.

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