New species of yeast could help beer brewers reach new heights

Researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered a new species of yeast that could help brewers create better lager. Working in collaboration with the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC), the team say it is a new of  member of the Saccharomyces family and is closely related to the familiar brewers’ and bakers’ yeast.

However, this new species was found at altitude, growing more than 1000 metres above sea level on an oak tree in Saint Auban, in the foothills of the French Alps. To survive at this altitude, the yeast has developed an ability to tolerate colder conditions than most other known strains of Saccharomyces yeasts.

Professor Daniela Delneri, from the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology at The University of Manchester, said: “This ability is of interest to brewers, as lagers rely on yeasts that thrive in the cold; it also open the opportunity to create arrays of novel yeast hybrids with improved biotechnological traits.” Yeasts also play a major role in many industrial biotechnology applications that rely on their fermentation, and a yeast that operates at lower temperatures opens up potential new applications in this field.