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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Industrial brewing yeast engineered for the production of primary flavor determinants in hopped beer

  • Author(s): Denby, CM
  • Li, RA
  • Vu, VT
  • Costello, Z
  • Lin, W
  • Chan, LJG
  • Williams, J
  • Donaldson, B
  • Bamforth, CW
  • Petzold, CJ
  • Scheller, HV
  • Martin, HG
  • Keasling, JD
  • et al.

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© 2018 The Author(s). Flowers of the hop plant provide both bitterness and "hoppy" flavor to beer. Hops are, however, both a water and energy intensive crop and vary considerably in essential oil content, making it challenging to achieve a consistent hoppy taste in beer. Here, we report that brewer's yeast can be engineered to biosynthesize aromatic monoterpene molecules that impart hoppy flavor to beer by incorporating recombinant DNA derived from yeast, mint, and basil. Whereas metabolic engineering of biosynthetic pathways is commonly enlisted to maximize product titers, tuning expression of pathway enzymes to affect target production levels of multiple commercially important metabolites without major collateral metabolic changes represents a unique challenge. By applying state-of-the-art engineering techniques and a framework to guide iterative improvement, strains are generated with target performance characteristics. Beers produced using these strains are perceived as hoppier than traditionally hopped beers by a sensory panel in a double-blind tasting.

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