Hail to the ale yeast

16th October 2014

An image of a traditional British ale yeast strain from the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC) has been shortlisted as a finalist in the in the BBSRC’s Images with Impact competition.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae NCYC1026 is a strain used in brewing, and is one of 4,000 strains collected and maintained in the NCYC collection.

Carmen Nueno-palop_Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Brewing StrainThe yeast  image was taken by Kathryn Cross, using a scanning electron microscope, from a sample prepared by colleagues in NCYC, a BBSRC supported National Capability at the Institute of Food Research. The image was false coloured by Carmen Nueno-Palop, to highlight the features of the yeast. The yeast cells are dividing by budding, and the scars visible on the cell surface are from previous cell divisions.

For millennia, humans have been using yeasts, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae for brewing and baking, making them the original biotechnology. Less well known are their roles in a variety of other bio-industries, making fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals and biofuels.

Yeasts are an incredibly diverse group of fungi. Some are particularly adapted to certain environments. Others display surprising new properties for use in biotechnology, although we do not as yet have a clear understanding of the genes that control them. The National Collection of Yeast Cultures, in partnership with the Biorefinery Centre at IFR, has embarked upon a programme to improve yeasts for industrial applications using state-of-the-art techniques in microscopy and genomics.

The competition sought images that represented how life sciences are changing the world, in areas like: food, farming, bioenergy, biotech, industry and health.

The shortlist has been selected by an esteemed panel of judges. Now the public get their say and can vote for the category winners and runners up.

Great Britain has always been the home of bioscience discovery. Penicillin, the DNA double helix and a famous sheep called ‘Dolly’ were all born of UK research, but never before has bioscience moved at such a pace.

This competition captures the exciting developments and challenges happening in bioscience today, with images from the Great British public, its students and its researchers.

The three category winners will go on to be shown at the Great British Bioscience Festival in London on 14-16 November where visitors will vote to decide the overall winner.

Voting will close on 31 October 2014 so get sharing and voting.