Genetically modified wine? Experts find the gene that adds flavour to beer and wine
Researchers in Belgium have discovered the gene in yeast responsible for giving beers and wine their sweet flavour.
The experts claimed they could inset the DNA into brewers’ batches, producing truly new and unique flavours.
The study, which was published in the American society for Microbiology, could be used to grow genetically-modified yeasts to produce new flavours.
A flavour compound called phenylethyl acetate is responsible for bringing out the rose or honey flavours in beer and wine.
The researchers used DNA analysis to study genes in a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, — commonly known as brewer’s yeast.
The study found that alleles or ‘versions’ of two genes, TOR1 and FAS2, were responsible for the highest production of phenylethyl acetate.
“In some wines, you can smell the rose flavour above all the others,” said Johan Thevelein, one of the microbioligists involved with the project at VIB, a life sciences institute in Flanders.
“But why certain yeast strains make more of this compound than other strains, there was no knowledge at all.”
Yeast plays a critical role in shaping the flavour of beer and wine.
During the fermentation process, yeast adds flavours and carbonation. In wine, however, most of the flavour comes from the grapes themselves.
The metabolism of the yeast can alter those flavours, potentially creating never-before tasted notes.