▷ Korean indigenous yeast that can replace imported yeasts for beer brewing was discovered.
▷ The newly found strain of yeast is expected to make beers with rich flavors such as fruit, caramel and rose flavors.
National Institute of Biological Resources (NIBR) under the Ministry of Environment announced that it found indigenous yeast that makes more flavorful beers from Korea's wild leaven last November and applied for a patent recently.
* Number/date of patent application: No. 10-2017-0079971, Date: June 23, 2017
The recently discovered indigenous yeast is expected to replace imported yeasts for beer brewing. Though beer accounts for over 50 percent of the total alcohol consumption in Korea, most of the yeasts used for brewing domestic beers are imported from abroad.
Yeast is one of the primary elements including malt and water, having a significant impact on the quality of beers.
NIBR conducted joint research with Prof. Kim Kye-won of Hankyong National University and Prof. Park Chun-seok of Kyunghee University last year. The research team separated 23 strains of the yeast from traditional leaven, and found a strain of yeast that can make beers with rich flavor and aroma among distinctive yeast strains.
The yeast is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is a type of yeasts widely used for brewing beer, and it was separated from traditional leaven collected for brewing in Samcheok-si, Gangwon-do.
According to genetic analysis, the newly found strain belongs to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but it is a new strain (S. cerevisiae NIBRFGC000498868) with partially different gene structure.
The research team also found that the strain can mass-produce compounds that make fruit flavors such as banana, apple and fruit as well as caramel flavors, up to 859% compared to existing yeasts.
NIBR looks forward that the yeast can help make flavorful beers as well as secure Korea’s brewing right in preparation for the Nagoya Protocol.
Baek Woonsuk, president of NIBR, commented that "we will promote technology transfer to companies who want to brew beers with Korea's indigenous yeast." "By doing so, we hope to change the prevailing mindset that only imported biological resources would work, and encourage the utilization of native biological resources in wide-ranging areas," he added.