Biotech yeast turns jug-wine into fine vintages

Gengineers are growing biotech yeast to allow cheap Chateau Thames Embankment to taste like Chauteau La-feet, eliminate hangovers, and extend shelf-life.

Instead, it is the other organism involved in winemaking – the yeast – which has been taught new tricks. GM yeast has dazzling potential because many of the "organoleptic" qualities of a wine – its colour, aroma and flavour – are created by chemicals spat out by yeast as it munches its way through the mush of crushed grapes. And the metabolic pathways that produce these chemicals have proved obligingly easy to manipulate…

Already, some research groups have carried out small-scale experimental fermentations. One major experimental success has been to use modified yeast to correct the balance between sugar and fruit in grapes, which can peak at different times…

But experimental yeasts are also helping to eliminate undesirable compounds. These are the off-flavours that make wines taste sweaty, eggy, gassy or vinegary, the nasties that give you a bad head in the morning, and the carcinogens that get you in the long run.



(via Robot Wisdom)