A Genetically Modified Revolution?

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This article is part of a series that looks at the theme of technology and its place in the future of the brewing industry. This time we will explore genetically modified yeasts and what impact these may have in the world of brewing. First created in 1973, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been around longer than perhaps first thought. The applications of GMOs are numerous from creating more resistant crops to increasing nutrient contents of foods. But what will this mean for brewing?

The Benefits Of Genetically Modified Yeasts

Yeast is a brewer’s bread and butter. By targeting genetic modification of a yeast strain, it is possible to improve brewing efficiency, product diversity and, above all, customer satisfaction. With the wider public becoming more interested in brewing processes and the many styles of beer available both past and present, it is clear that yeast is at the forefront of determining these styles.Through improved understanding of how ale and lager brewing yeast has evolved in recent years to exploit their respective fermentation environments, it is allowing scientists and brewers to better select strains for particular processes. Development into isolating particular traits can then be used to create hybrid strains. These hybrid strains could yield great benefits for the future of brewers, particularly when looking at other advances in technology, which will be discussed in a future article.

The Future Of Brewing Met With Some Opposition

Despite the benefits realised since research into GMOs started, there has been opposition with many believing the processes to be unnatural. Particularly in farming, the inception of GMOs has had dramatic effects, with increased production, improved conditions for agricultural workers and sustainability. It has been said that brewing was humanity’s first engineering project. We’ve spent millennia perfecting the processes used, with recent breakthroughs in GMOs and other technology advances, we could soon see brewers having even greater abilities over the process. If you wish to continue the conversation with us about genetically modified yeasts, please contact us at your convenience.

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