Japan’s Kirin brewery has developed a way to identify and distinguish types of yeast strains. This ability will help brewers manage quality control and aid in the development of new beer products.
There are thousands of different strains of brewer’s yeast, and every strain has its own characteristics that affect flavor and other factors.
One standard way to distinguish different strains is to ferment the yeast and evaluate such factors as taste and fragrance, but this is time-consuming.
Another way is to compare the sizes of the chromosomes, but many strains of bottom-fermenting yeast are so genetically similar that they cannot be distinguished this way.
Using a group of six bottom-fermenting yeast strains, Kirin analyzed gene sequences at 329 different locations in the yeast genome and identified a set of 30 single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Genetic analysis of 26 other strains of bottom-fermenting yeast and 20 strains of top-fermenting yeast showed that these SNPs can be used to distinguish the strains.