Evolutionary engineering of lager brewing yeast

Themes: Life Science & Health, Chemistry, bio- & process technology

Late prototype

A TRL is a measure to indicate the matureness of a developing technology. When an innovative idea is discovered it is often not directly suitable for application. Usually such novel idea is subjected to further experimentation, testing and prototyping before it can be implemented. The image below shows how to read TRL’s to categorise the innovative ideas.

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Evolutionary engineering is a strategy to improve the performance of microorganisms, the workhorses of many industrial processes. In this case the ability of lager brewing yeast to fast and more completely ferment maltotriose, an abundant sugar in barley wort, has been improved.


A maltotriose-enriched growth medium was used to create an evolutionary pressure to a model yeast over a multitude of generations. In this survival-of-the-fittest-like process, the yeast population evolved (via naturally occurring mutations) the enhanced fermentation characteristics.


The evolved model yeast has been tested in a 10 hL batch, with results that match the lab results. Because of the close collaboration with industry, a successful technology transfer from laboratory to industrial scale could be demonstrated.

Anja Brickwedde MSc


Prof. dr. Jack Pronk

Dr. Jean-Marc Daran