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Beer Biotech Science

Microbe New To Science Found In Self-Fermented Beer ( 27

sciencehabit writes: In May 2014, a group of scientists took a field trip to a small brewery in an old warehouse in Seattle, Washington -- and came away with a microbe scientists have never seen before. In so-called wild beer, the team identified a yeast belonging to the genus Pichia, which turned out to be a hybrid of a known species called P. membranifaciens and another Pichia species completely new to science. Other Pichia species are known to spoil a beer, but the new hybrid seems to smell better.
Their investigation offered a proof-of-concept for a new methodology for studying spontaneously fermented beers -- especially since the brewmaster admitted that like many brewers making wild beers, "he had no idea what microbes were living in the barrel staves that had inoculated his beer."

The scientists dubbed the new hybrid Pichia apotheca -- which is Greek for "warehouse."
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Microbe New To Science Found In Self-Fermented Beer

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  • About 80% of microbial organisms living on and around us are "unknown" or rather not classified yet.

    According to researchers, colonies of organisms are unique to each of us and can fingerprint pretty much everything in the world. It wouldn't be surprising if you can track down the origins of each bottle of beer to a specific brewing site.

  • If the scientists want to find more previously unknown microbes, they probably need go no further than their local Chipotle.

  • Apotheca is Latin. It may be Greek too, but scientists don't use words because they are Greek; they use Latin.
    • Also, while it technically means any warehouse, the word apotheca is commonly associated with pharmaceuticals: see apothecary []. I have also encountered it in relation to wine storage, presumably because wines and spirits were traditionally considered medicine.
  • Grapes have yeast and wine will ferment on it's own. Something you really don't want as it would be undrinkable.

    Most anything will pick up yeast from the air. This was a very lucky find.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner