Yeasts in the lager brewing group are closely related and consequently do not exhibit significant genetic variability. Here, an artificial Saccharomyces cerevisiae × Saccharomyces eubayanus tetraploid interspecies hybrid was created by rare mating, and its ability to sporulate and produce viable gametes was exploited to generate phenotypic diversity. Four spore clones obtained from a single ascus were isolated, and their brewing-relevant phenotypes were assessed. These F1 spore clones were found to differ with respect to fermentation performance under lager brewing conditions (15°C, 15 °Plato), production of volatile aroma compounds, flocculation potential and temperature tolerance. One spore clone, selected for its rapid fermentation and acetate ester production was sporulated to produce an F2 generation, again comprised of four spore clones from a single ascus. Again, phenotypic diversity was introduced. In two of these F2 clones, the fermentation performance was maintained and acetate ester production was improved relative to the F1 parent and the original hybrid strain. Strains also performed well in comparison to a commercial lager yeast strain. Spore clones varied in ploidy and chromosome copy numbers, and faster wort fermentation was observed in strains with a higher ploidy. An F2 spore clone was also subjected to 10 consecutive wort fermentations, and single cells were isolated from the resulting yeast slurry. These isolates also exhibited variable fermentation performance and chromosome copy numbers, highlighting the instability of polyploid interspecific hybrids. These results demonstrate the value of this natural approach to increase the phenotypic diversity of lager brewing yeast strains.
- lager yeast
- S. eubayanus