Investigating how interactions between the environment and yeast genotype contributes to flavour and aroma production by beverage yeasts.

Academic partners: UCC, Cork, Ireland; INRA, Montpellier, France
Industry Partner: Pernod-Ricard, France

During fermentation, yeast metabolism gives rise to small volatile molecules that are important components of the flavour of fermented and distilled beverages. Depending on what genes are expressed at certain times, a yeast strain can display different metabolism and produce different volatiles. This project will study how external factors, for example, nitrogen levels and temperature, interact to affect expression of key genes and pathways related to flavour and aroma in beverage yeasts. The focus will be on non-traditional yeast species as, although these are of increasing importance in the beverage sector, our fundamental knowledge of these yeasts is limited. The project will integrate molecular methods like transcriptome analysis with chemical analytics to generate data to assess in computational models of metabolism. Models will be validated using genome engineering technology and ultimately used to design fermentation processes to optimise flavour and aroma production. These processes will be assessed through scale-up from lab to pilot-scale fermenters at the industry partner.