SCIENTIFIC interests

Biotechnological application of yeasts

Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been one of the most useful organisms for biotechnological applications. S. cerevisiae has been used in winemaking, baking, brewing and sake from ancestral times. Population genomics studies have shown a clearly isolated group of industrial S. cerevisiae strains from their closely related wild isolates. New strains are being generated for increase bioethanol production or for bioremediation applications; but also in winemaking and brewing processes where new organoleptic properties are of interest. In the case of bioethanol production, hydrolysates obtained from corn stover and other plant raw material are enriched with sugar components that S. cerevisiae cannot metabolize, such as xylose. For wine and beer, the production of new flavors requires the reconfiguration of the metabolic flux. Nowadays, two ways are being explored one is the engineering of S. cerevisiae strains with the necessary biological parts for pentose consumption, linocellulosic toxic tolerance or the production of new flavors; and the second is the combination of S. cerevisiae with sister species from the genus Saccharomyces, generating new hybrids, increasing the genomic diversity. Hybridization is a mechanism that has been observed in biotechnological environments, an several examples has been described, such as hybrids between S. cerevisiae x S. kudriavzevii (Belgium, German, Spanish, English and New Zealand wines), S. cerevisiae x S. kudriavzevii x S. uvarum (wine and cider), S. cerevisiae x S. eubayanus (also known as S. pastorianus, lager brewing), S. cerevisiae x S. uvarum x S. eubayanus (brewing contaminants). Understanding the phenotypic properties and genome sequences of non-cerevisiae strains is one of our goals to develop new techniques for improving the efficiency of hybridization and engineering with innovative purposes for biotechnological applications.


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