The growing inclination of people towards anti-GMO products and the urge for tasting new flavors have started a new trend in the alcohol industry. Researchers across Europe are speeding-up evolution of yeast to develop new alcohol flavors.
Yeast converts sugar solution into alcohol. And, during fermentation, yeasts undergo certain reactions that instill taste into the beverage. For instance, banana, clove, apple, and butterscotch.
Aromagenesis is the Technique to Speed-up Evolution
Urusula Bond, a molecular biologist at Trinity College London speaks about a process called Aromagenesis. Further, this is a technique that speeds up evolution through natural process. Here, yeast cells are subjected to high temperature and stress. Further, they let the yeast cells adapt to certain conditions and see which ones do it best.
It is important to understand that this is similar to previous attempts where humans have tried to introduce genes beat weather or water requirements for crops. In this case, we are doing the same, but in a faster way and to introduce new flavors.
Also, the researchers also recreate some pressure aspects that yeasts undergo during fermentation. This enables them to understand if the yeast can tolerate high sugar volumes. On the other hand, it also ensures that they manage to withstand commercial brewing when industry partners scale up production.
The reason Bond and her colleagues have adopted this approach is due to the growing sentiments towards gentically modified organisms. She says that this is a natural process and does not require gene mutation.