Yeast from Argentine Patagonia led to the lager
August 24, 2011
According to a study published in the U.S. “Yeast called Saccharomyces is used to make one of the most consumed beers in the world and it is from forests in Argentine Patagonia.
A team of scientists from the U.S., Argentina and Portugal solved the mystery that has long intrigued more than one investigator.
In the fifteenth century by monks in southern Germany, used the yeast ‘Saccharomyces cerevisiae’, and was used to make bread, wine and ale beers.
Experts German brewers stored barrels in caves and cellars and there they made a discovery that would forever change the history of the drink: a new hybrid bacteria, Saccharomyces pastorianus, which could withstand low temperatures and thus able to elaborate a new type of beer known as lager, from the German word ‘lagern’ (store), which is served cold and is now one of the most popular drinks around the planet.
Chris Todd Hittinger, a member of the research said “The researchers looked for this yeast for decades. And now we’ve found it and we can not say for sure if it also exists in other places.”
Diego Libkind from the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Research (Inibioma) in Bariloche, Argentina, discovered the beeches, Patagonian trees, a species of yeast that corresponded perfectly to the enigmatic progenitor of lager yeast. The new species was named Saccharomyces eubayanus.
Libkind explained that “This yeast seems to thrive and ferment spontaneously in the bulbs high in sugars called gills, which arise when the insects lay their eggs on the tree leaves. When they mature to much, fall to the ground together, where they often form a thick carpet that has a strong smell of ethanol, most likely due to the hard work of our new S. eubayanus.”
The samples were sent to the School of Medicine, University of Colorado, where a team that included Hittinger sequenced its genome.
Hittinger said that “It is different from all known species, but 99.5% identical to the genome of lager yeast that does not correspond to S. cerevisiae.”
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a comprehensive study of this research.