Genetic Archaeology
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  About |  Newsletter |  Submit News |  Links |  Subscribe to GeneticArchaeology.com RSS Fee Subscribe


More Articles
Piezotronics and piezo-phototronics leading to unprecedented active electronics and optoelectronicsPiezotronics and piezo-phototronics leading to unprecedented active electronics and optoelectronics

Cosmic slurpCosmic slurp

Engineers develop new materials for hydrogen storageEngineers develop new materials for hydrogen storage

How kids' brain structures grow as memory developsHow kids' brain structures grow as memory develops

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of yearsImpact glass stores biodata for millions of years

Mantis shrimp stronger than airplanesMantis shrimp stronger than airplanes

Lemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voiceLemurs match scent of a friend to sound of her voice

Nanocrystalline cellulose modified into an efficient viral inhibitorNanocrystalline cellulose modified into an efficient viral inhibitor

The malaria pathogen's cellular skeleton under a super-microscopeThe malaria pathogen's cellular skeleton under a super-microscope

Chickens to chili peppersChickens to chili peppers

Diffeomorphometry and geodesic positioning systems for human anatomyDiffeomorphometry and geodesic positioning systems for human anatomy

Scientists grow cartilage to reconstruct noseScientists grow cartilage to reconstruct nose

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequencedDeadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Simplicity is key to co-operative robotsSimplicity is key to co-operative robots

Appearance of night-shining clouds has increasedAppearance of night-shining clouds has increased

Sperm meets egg: Protein essential for fertilization discoveredSperm meets egg: Protein essential for fertilization discovered

Satellite shows high productivity from US corn beltSatellite shows high productivity from US corn belt

The surprising consequences of banning chocolate milkThe surprising consequences of banning chocolate milk

Babies prefer fairness -- but only if it benefits them -- in choosing a playmateBabies prefer fairness -- but only if it benefits them -- in choosing a playmate

A new twist makes for better steel, researchers findA new twist makes for better steel, researchers find

Renewable energy market share climbs despite 2013 dip in investmentsRenewable energy market share climbs despite 2013 dip in investments

Study finds gaming augments players' social livesStudy finds gaming augments players' social lives

A breakthrough in creating invisibility cloaks, stealth technologyA breakthrough in creating invisibility cloaks, stealth technology

Overcoming structural uncertainty in computer modelsOvercoming structural uncertainty in computer models

Monkey caloric restriction study shows big benefit; contradicts earlier studyMonkey caloric restriction study shows big benefit; contradicts earlier study

Researchers developed world's first fluorescent sensor to detect date rape drugResearchers developed world's first fluorescent sensor to detect date rape drug

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

Turning back the clock on aging muscles?Turning back the clock on aging muscles?

New study finds differences in concussion risk between football helmetsNew study finds differences in concussion risk between football helmets

500 years ago, yeast's epic journey gave rise to lager beer (8/24/2011)

Tags:
beer, yeast
This graphic depicts the epic journey of lager yeast from Patagonia at the southern tip of South America to Europe 500 years ago. Illustration by Barry Carlsen
This graphic depicts the epic journey of lager yeast from Patagonia at the southern tip of South America to Europe 500 years ago. Illustration by Barry Carlsen

In the 15th century, when Europeans first began moving people and goods across the Atlantic, a microscopic stowaway somehow made its way to the caves and monasteries of Bavaria.

The stowaway, a yeast that may have been transported from a distant shore on a piece of wood or in the stomach of a fruit fly, was destined for great things. In the dank caves and monastery cellars where 15th century brewmeisters stored their product, the newly arrived yeast fused with a distant relative, the domesticated yeast used for millennia to make leavened bread and ferment wine and ale. The resulting hybrid - representing a marriage of species as evolutionarily separated as humans and chickens - would give us lager, the clear, cold-fermented beer first brewed by 15th century Bavarians and that today is among the most popular - if not the most popular - alcoholic beverage in the world.

And while scientists and brewers have long known that the yeast that gives beer the capacity to ferment at cold temperatures was a hybrid, only one player was known: Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeast used to make leavened bread and ferment wine and ale. Its partner, which conferred on beer the ability to ferment in the cold, remained a puzzle, as scientists were unable to find it among the 1,000 or so species of yeast known to science.

Now, an international team of researchers believes it has identified the wild yeast that, in the age of sail, apparently traveled more than 7,000 miles to those Bavarian caves to make a fortuitous microbial match that today underpins the $250 billion a year lager beer industry.

Writing this week (Aug. 22) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Portugal, Argentina and the United States describe the discovery of a wild yeast in the beech forests of Patagonia, the alpine region at the tip of South America, that apparently solves the age-old mystery of the origin of the yeast that made cold-temperature fermentation and lager beer possible.

"People have been hunting for this thing for decades," explains Chris Todd Hittinger, a University of Wisconsin-Madison genetics professor and a co-author of the new study. "And now we've found it. It is clearly the missing species. The only thing we can't say is if it also exists elsewhere (in the wild) and hasn't been found."

The newfound yeast, dubbed Saccharomyces eubayanus, was discovered as part of an exhaustive global search, led by the New University of Lisbon's José Paulo Sampaio and Paula Gonçalves. Aimed squarely at resolving the lager yeast mystery, the Portuguese team sorted through European yeast collections, combed the scientific literature and gathered new yeasts from European environments. Their efforts yielded no candidate species of European origin.

Expanding the search to other parts of the world, however, finally paid dividends when collaborator Diego Libkind of the Institute for Biodiversity and Environment Research (CONICET) in Bariloche, Argentina, found in galls that infect beech trees a candidate species whose genetic material seemed to be a close match to the missing half of the lager yeast.

"Beech galls are very rich in simple sugars. It's a sugar rich habitat that yeast seem to love," notes Hittinger.

The yeast is so active in the galls, according to Libkind, that they spontaneously ferment. "When overmature, they fall all together to the (forest) floor where they often form a thick carpet that has an intense ethanol odor, most probably due to the hard work of our new Saccharomyces eubayanus."

The new yeast was hustled off to the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where a team that included Hittinger, Jim Dover and Mark Johnston sequenced its genome. "It proved to be distinct from every known wild species of yeast, but was 99.5 percent identical to the non-ale yeast portion of the lager genome," says Hittinger, now an assistant professor of genetics at UW-Madison.

The Colorado team also identified genetic mutations in the lager yeast hybrid distinctive from the genome of the wild lager yeast. Those changes - taking place in a brewing environment where evolution can be amped up by the abundance of yeast - accumulated since those first immigrant yeasts melded with their ale cousins 500 years ago and have refined the lager yeast's ability to metabolize sugar and malt and to produce sulfites, transforming an organism that evolved on beech trees into a lean, mean beer-making machine.

"Our discovery suggests that hybridization instantaneously formed an imperfect 'proto-lager' yeast that was more cold-tolerant than ale yeast and ideal for the cool Bavarian lagering process," Hittinger avers. "After adding some new variation for brewers to exploit, its sugar metabolism probably became more like ale yeast and better at producing beer.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Post Comments:

Search

New Articles
More questions than answers as mystery of domestication deepensMore questions than answers as mystery of domestication deepens

Ancient DNA offers clues to how barnyard chickens came to be

Genetic study tackles mystery of slow plant domesticationsGenetic study tackles mystery of slow plant domestications

The story of animal domestication retoldThe story of animal domestication retold

Trisomy 21: How an extra little  chromosome throws the  entire genome off balanceTrisomy 21: How an extra little chromosome throws the entire genome off balance

At the origin of cell divisionAt the origin of cell division

Study finds new links between number of duplicated genes and adaptation

Does germ plasm accelerate evolution?

Faithful allies since the CretaceousFaithful allies since the Cretaceous

Ferns borrowed genes to flourish in low lightFerns borrowed genes to flourish in low light

Study tests theory that life originated at deep sea ventsStudy tests theory that life originated at deep sea vents

Scientists firm up origin of cold-adapted yeasts that make cold beerScientists firm up origin of cold-adapted yeasts that make cold beer

Lactase persistence alleles reveal ancestry of southern African Khoe pastoralists

Examination of a cave-dwelling fish finds a possible genetic link to human disordersExamination of a cave-dwelling fish finds a possible genetic link to human disorders

New research initiative investigates gene regulation in evolution and development



Archives
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
June 2005
October 2004
July 2001


Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Cognitive Research
Chemistry News
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Cybernetics Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Fossil News
Genetics News
Geology News
Microbiology Research
Nanotech News
Parenting News
Physics News


  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2015 Web Doodle, LLC. All rights reserved.