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Phylogeography of the wild Lager‐brewing ancestor (Saccharomyces eubayanus) in Patagonia

Eizaguirre, Juan I., Peris, David, Rodríguez, María E., Lopes, Christian A., De Los Ríos, Patricio, Hittinger, Chris Todd, Libkind, Diego
Environmental microbiology 2018 v.20 no.10 pp. 3732-3743
Nothofagus, Saccharomyces, ancestry, beers, fermentation, glaciation, landscapes, phylogeography, screening, trees, yeasts, Argentina, Asia, New Zealand, North America
Saccharomyces eubayanus is the close relative of the Lager‐brewing yeast and was firstly found in North Patagonia associated with Nothofagus trees. In recent years additional strains were found in North America, Asia and New Zealand, and genomic analyses showed the existence of two main populations of this yeast, both of them present in Patagonia. Here, we performed the most comprehensive study of S. eubayanus in Patagonia natural environments (400 samples) and confirmed that this region has the highest isolation success rate for this species described worldwide (more than 10‐fold). The genetic characterization of 200 isolates (COX2, DCR1, intFR) revealed five geographically structured subpopulations. We hypothesized that marine ingressions and glaciations, which shaped the Patagonian landscape, contributed on population differentiation. The first large screening of fermentation performance of 60 wild S. eubayanus strains indicated which subpopulations would be more suitable for beer production.