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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2014;68:61-80. doi: 10.1146/annurev-micro-091213-113025. Epub 2014 Apr 24.

Taming wild yeast: potential of conventional and nonconventional yeasts in industrial fermentations.

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Laboratory for Genetics and Genomics, Center of Microbial and Plant Genetics, KU Leuven, 3001 Leuven, Belgium; email: ,


Yeasts are the main driving force behind several industrial food fermentation processes, including the production of beer, wine, sake, bread, and chocolate. Historically, these processes developed from uncontrolled, spontaneous fermentation reactions that rely on a complex mixture of microbes present in the environment. Because such spontaneous processes are generally inconsistent and inefficient and often lead to the formation of off-flavors, most of today's industrial production utilizes defined starter cultures, often consisting of a specific domesticated strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, S. bayanus, or S. pastorianus. Although this practice greatly improved process consistency, efficiency, and overall quality, it also limited the sensorial complexity of the end product. In this review, we discuss how Saccharomyces yeasts were domesticated to become the main workhorse of food fermentations, and we investigate the potential and selection of nonconventional yeasts that are often found in spontaneous fermentations, such as Brettanomyces, Hanseniaspora, and Pichia spp.


Dekkera bruxellensis; apiculate yeast; domestication; ecology; flavor; killer

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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