High-throughput techniques have become crucial for the discovery of new strains suitable for the beverage industry. These approaches allow assessment of critical traits for fermented beverages such as; stress tolerance, growth, viability, vitality and aromatic compound production in a fast and effective manner.

The growth rate of 24 Saccharomyces and non-Saccharomyces yeast strains were evaluated in industrially relevant media. High-throughput robotic platforms, the ROTOR HDA and PIXL, were used to pin colonies on solidified synthetic apple juice (SAJ), malt extract (ME), apple juice (AJ) and wort (WO) media. During incubation at 20 and 25 °C for up to 240 hours, the plates were imaged, and analysed via PhenoBooth and the ggplot2 R package. The results were corroborated via liquid growth.

Pichia scullata Y-7663 and Hanseniaspora vineae Y-17530 showed the highest growth values in ME, WO and AJ; with final colony diameters double that of the ESM356-1 control. However, the former two strains displayed defective growth in SAJ. Kluyveromyces lactis Y-1140 exhibited high growth performance, especially in ME and WO. Interestingly, the ale strain Y-11875, showed significantly higher growth in SAJ and AJ medium than in ME and WO. Better adaptation to growth in wort conditions was expected.

This trial shows that the fitness of yeast strains can be assessed in solid media representing industrial conditions. The method can be up-scaled to a wider format, opening the possibility of screening a thousand-fold libraries of industrially relevant and/or novel yeast isolates in a fast, cost-effective manner.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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