Quantitative genetics of food spoilage properties in Zygosaccharomyces bailii.

Academic partners: University of Leicester, United Kingdom; University of Bicocca, Milano, Italy
Industry Partner: Organobalance, Germany

Weak acids, such as acetic acid, and high osmolarity, i.e. high sugar content, are important for food preservation. However, one of the most prevalent and important food spoilage yeasts, Zygosaccharomycs bailii, tends to be resistant to weak acids and to high osmolarity. As there is variation in levels of resistance in different strains of Z. bailii, we can find out the genes involved in food spoilage properties using quantitative genetics. Rather than the laborious approach of making mutations and then mapping them to determine genes involved, we will use breeding by crossing strains with differences in resistance and apply the tools developed for S. cerevisiae. Advanced inter-cross lines along with next generation sequencing of selected pools of offspring will result in high resolution and highly sensitive detection of the genetic variation involved in making a particular strain a food spoilage strain. This will help in screening for non-spoilage strains for use in fermentation applications with the industrial partner.