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New Hybrid Beer Yeast

University of Washington researchers uncovered a new yeast from within a brewer's wild beer through sequencing, ScienceInsider reports.

Maitreya Dunham and her colleagues collected a sample of fermenting beer from Epic Ales in Seattle. The brewery was relying on yeast from the environment to do its fermentation work and wasn't quite sure what was in the mix, ScienceInsider adds.

As Dunham and her colleagues report in a preprint at bioRxiv, they used the chromosome conformation capture method Hi-C to tease out four bacterial and four yeast genomes from the sample. In particular, they found one yeast genome that appears to be a hybrid of Pichia membranifaciens and a related, but unknown yeast. They named the new hybrid Pichia apotheca.

ScienceInsider adds that the researchers attempted to brew beer using only P. apotheca, but found that it generated low alcohol levels. That, they say, isn't unexpected as yeast in mixed cultures often don't work well on their own.

Dunham and her colleagues also uncovered Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeast in the sample as well as LactobacillusPediococcus, and Acetobacter bacteria, and note in their paper that other interspecific hybrids have been uncovered in breweries, leading them to wonder whether the brewery environment somehow encourages such events.

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