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Diverse yeasts for diverse fermented beverages and foods
- Hittinger, Chris Todd, Steele, James L, Ryder, David S
- Current opinion in biotechnology 2018 v.49 pp. 199-206
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae, beverages, biodiversity, bioprocessing, food biotechnology, food production, genome, industrialization, microbial communities, sequence analysis, yeasts
- Yeasts play vital roles in food biotechnology, especially in fermented products. Yeasts are monoculture bioprocessing agents, are members of complex microbial communities, and are even consumed directly. Advances in genetic technologies, such as whole genome and environmental DNA sequencing, have shed light on the diverse yeasts used in both traditional and industrialized processes. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae plays an outsized role in fermented beverage and food production, but new research has revealed a cornucopia of yeast biodiversity that includes dozens of species. These often surprising studies have shown how yeasts are related, how they interact with other microbes, and how valuable traits are encoded in their genomes. This deeper understanding illuminates current practices in food biotechnology, while foreshadowing future innovation.