Genetically modified hoppy beer has no hops

Avatar By Joseph Scalise | 1 year ago

A team of scientists from the University of California, Berkeley have created a more sustainable beer after discovering how to create the distinct hoppy taste without actually using hops, according to a new paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

To create the unique brew, researchers used DNA-editing software to manipulate the genome of brewer’s yeast by splicing in genes from mint, basil, and two forms of normal yeast.

That process boosted the production of flavors typically created by adding hops during the brewing process. In that way, it allowed a hoppy taste without any hops.

“We were able to use some of the tools [that] others and we developed to accurately control metabolism to produce the right amount of hops flavors,” said study co-author Jay Keasling, a professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, according to The Guardian.

The new method created such an authentic taste that members of the Lagunitas Brewing Company thought the artificially engineered beer tasted more hoppy that conventionally brewed beverages.

This new process is important because it could cut down on the amount of hops used in the beer industry. While the grains are key for many types of beer, they are extremely resource intensive. Each pint of craft beer requires 50 pints of water to grow the hops for it, and the recently popular trend of craft brewing uses many more hops per pint than commercially produced lagers and ales. 

If the hops needed for certain beers are cut back, it would then drop the need for water and fertilizer to produce the right taste. The scientists behind the study believe their new techniques could greatly reduce the beer industry’s reliance on hops without sacrificing taste or smell.

“My hope is that if we can use the technology to make great beer that is produced with a more sustainable process, people will embrace that,” added lead author Charles Denby, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, according to Phys.org.

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