Posts Tagged ‘Boston University’

1337 Brewing

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Researchers at Boston University deserve some sort of award. They have perfected control over flocculation, the process wherein the yeast cells clump together and fall to the bottom of the fermenter. By varying when (and if) the yeast flocculates you can exercise precise control over the flavor of the beer. If the yeast clumps together early and falls to the bottom it may leave a good amount of residual sugar in the beer and give it a sweet taste. On the other hand, if it fails to flocculate at all the beer will remain hazy and have a bready yeast flavor.

Anyway, James Collins led a team of synthetic biology researchers that have developed a kind of library of genetic “routines”. They have deconstructed much of the biological machinery that drives activation of genes. By using this library and lots of computer modeling they are able to assemble these component parts into what they call a gene network and have them behave in predictable ways.

So anyway, this team has used their library to produce a system quite analogous to an electric circuit that precisely controls the timing of yeast flocculation.

I wonder if anyone could get away with synthetic-yeast fermented beer?