11. A new take on the oldest biotechnology: Engineering brewer's yeast for production of hop-derived terpenes

Charles Denby (1); (1) LBNL, Berkeley, CA, U.S.A.

Technical Session 3: Yeast Biotechnology
Sunday, August 14  •  9:45–11:30 a.m.
Plaza Building, Concourse Level, Governor’s Square 15

At the chemical level, the flavor and fragrance of beer is conferred by a complex mixture of molecular determinants. Some of these flavor-determining molecules are present in wort before fermentation and remain throughout the brewing process, some are the product of yeast fermentation, and others are derived from hops. “Hoppy” flavor and aroma is imparted by a class of molecules called terpenes. In this work, we have engineered a strain of S. cerevisiae to produce several terpene molecules, at various levels and in different combinations, that impart a range of hoppy flavors and aromas in finished beer. Ultimately this method could serve to enable a more sustainable brewing process, as reduced natural hop additions would significantly decrease the land and natural resources required in hop farming.

Charles received his Ph.D. degree from UC Berkeley in molecular and cell biology, specializing in genetics and genomics of S. cerevisiae. He has since worked in the lab of Dr. Jay Keasling, professor of biochemical engineering at UC Berkeley. Charles’ current research focuses on engineering microbial metabolism for sustainable production of valuable chemicals (i.e., fuels, medicines, flavors/fragrances). Charles is also an enthusiastic home brewer.