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article imageCan genetic modification make best quality wine?

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By Tim Sandle     Jun 9, 2012 in Food
Scientists have sequenced the genome of one of the yeasts used to make wine. By understanding more about which strains of yeasts make wine of the best quality it could be possible to genetically modify certain yeast to aid premium wine production.
A scientific research team have sequenced the genome of one of the yeasts used to make wine, according to a news release from the Alpha Galileo Foundation. By understanding more about which strains of yeasts make wine of the best quality it could be possible to genetically modify certain yeast to aid premium wine production.
A science team based at Lund University in Sweden have examined one of the most common yeasts used to make red wine, the microorganism Dekkera bruxellensis. The scientists took gene sequencing information from the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute to study the yeast with the aim of optimizing the development of the yeast with a view to aiding the fermentation of good quality wine.
The yeast D. bruxellensis is native to the Senne valley near Brussels, Belgium and was first discovered at the Carlsberg. It is naturally found on the skins of fruit.
Wine manufacture can be a hit-or-miss affair and much of the success of failure rests on the quality of the yeast, leading either to rich aromatic flavors or a harsh chemical taste which makes the end-product undrinkable.
Although the use of yeast is important, little research has been carried out into what makes for a good yeast compared with a bad yeast, as the Pasteur Institute notes. The object of the new research was to try and find out why and to create the best organism.
The findings were published in a research paper in the International Journal of Food Microbiology. The reference is:
Jure Piškur et al. The genome of wine yeast Dekkera bruxellensis provides a tool to explore its food-related properties. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 2012
Interesting research, although some may argue that knowing to much takes something of the magic away from the art of wine production.
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More about Wine, Yeast, Genome, Genetically modified
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