Close Menu

Scientists brew killer bee beer

Extracts from killer bees from Namibia have been used by microbiologists to brew a new kind of craft beer.

The scientists, based at Cardiff University, used brewer’s yeast that resided in the gut microbiome of killer honeybees in Namibia and applied it to develop what it is calling ‘The Killer Bee Beer’.

The invention came about after Cardiff microbiologists visited Namibia as part of a project to unite Cardiff University and the University of Namibia for sustainable environmental development, however, while there, the scientists became interested in the Africanised honey bee – also known as the killer bee.

Cardiff University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences professor of microbiology Les Baillie said: “Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as brewers yeast, is found in the gut microbiome of honeybees. When working on a project in Namibia, we isolated the brewers yeast from killer bees that died naturally.

Baillie explained: “When we got back to Cardiff, we used the isolated killer bee brewers yeast, along with yeast from Welsh honey bees, to make several batches of beer.”

The ‘Pharmabees’ project had initially set out to explore how the pollination of certain plants could lead to the development of drugs to treat superbugs and antibiotic resistance. The experiment involved the scientists placing numerous bee hives around Cardiff University, as well as specific plants, to encourage the production of super-honey and aid the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ superbug research.

The scientists are now looking for a brewer to collaborate with to bring ‘The Killer Bee Beer’ to market, with proceeds helping to support bee research in Wales.

Bailie added: “Our Killer Bee Beer is a fun side project to our wider Pharmabees studies. Our research into bees is uncovering how honey, beeswax and other bee by-products can play a role in solving some of the world’s biggest challenges – including tackling antibiotic resistance and superbugs. By using brewer’s yeast from bees that have died naturally, we can not only produce a beer that draws attention to, as well as fund, research like this – but also broadens the understanding of bees at a microbiological level.”

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No