Stories tagged yeast

Aug
22
2010

Fermentation of Straw
Fermentation of StrawCourtesy Martinonline

Beet wine

As a youngster, I watched my mom make wine from beet juice. She put yeast on a piece of toast and floated it in a crock full of beet juice. A few weeks later I discovered the effects of intoxification when I sneaked too many sips.

Making a stronger brew

Alcoholic drinks like beer or wine and biofuels like ethanol or iso-butanol are manufactured by adding yeast to a liquid mixture containing sugar. Yeast will die, though, when the alcohol content is too high. If yeast could be modified to withstand a higher alcohol content, the alcohol yield from fermentation would be higher. This would make biofuel production more economical.

Gene modified yeast should make biofuel production more economical

A University of Illinois reseach paper in August 20 issue of the Journal of Biotechnology describes how an overexpression of certain genes effected alcohol yields. "One strain in which INO1 was overexpressed elicited an increase of more than 70 percent for ethanol volume and more than 340 percent for ethanol tolerance when compared to the control strain".

Yong-Su Jin and colleages from the University of Illinois metabolic engineer, worked with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the microbe most often used in making ethanol, to identify four genes (MSN2, DOG1, HAL1, and INO1) that improve tolerance to ethanol and iso-butanol when they are overexpressed.
Further study of these genes should increase alcohol tolerance even further, and that will translate into cost savings and greater efficiency during biofuel production. U of Illinois press release

Students at Rice University are attempting to brew beer that contains resveratrol, a chemical that lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer. They plan to genetically engineer yeast, which is used in fermentation, to produce the chemical.

No word on how one can sign up to be a test subject.

Aug
16
2008

Bakers Yeast: Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Bakers Yeast: Saccharomyces cerevisiaeCourtesy Hellahulla

To easily manufacture drugs

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have developed a novel way to churn out large quantities of drugs, including antiplaque toothpaste additives, antibiotics, nicotine, and even morphine, using mini biofactories--in yeast.

Take one part baker's yeast

Christina D. Smolke, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Caltech, along with graduate student Kristy Hawkins, genetically modified common baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) so that it contained the genes for several plant enzymes.

Add some plant genetics

The enzymes allow the yeast to produce a chemical called reticuline, which is a precursor for many different classes of benzylisoquinoline alkaloid (BIA) molecules.

One step away from pharmacologically useful molecules

BIA molecules exhibit a wide variety of pharmacological activities, including antispasmodic effects, pain relief, and hair growth acceleration. Other BIAs have shown anticancer, antioxidant, antimalarial, and anti-HIV potential.

Learn more

A paper describing the research, now available online, will be featured as the cover article of the September issue of Nature Chemical Biology: Production of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Source: e! Science News