About this Research Topic
Saccharomyces cerevisiae is one of the microorganisms most commonly used in industry, as it is responsible for wine and beer fermentation and bread leavening. For years, this budding yeast has been thought to live and evolve only in association with human-related activities. However, the identification and isolation of S. cerevisiae strains from natural sources (e.g., soil, trees, water, insects, and bigger animals) called this hypothesis into question.
Genomics analyses on S. cerevisiae strains revealed clades associated with specific environments and human activities, suggesting the role of humans in shaping the evolution of this yeast. Yet besides the higher resistance to copper and sulfur of strains selected through human activities in the vineyard, the forces shaping this population structure are far from being known. The renewed interest of the industry in the production of food and beverages with characteristics typical of the production area has stimulated the use of indigenous S. cerevisiae strains isolated in locus instead of the few commercially available yeast strains used worldwide to prime wine and beer fermentation. However, the process of isolation, identification, and selection of indigenous strains suitable as fermentation primers is long and requires sophisticated and sometimes expensive techniques. Pinpointing the factors contributing to shaping S. cerevisiae population structure, optimizing techniques for the identification and characterization of strains, and quantifying the reciprocal influence of industrial and wild strains would not only support industrial applications of these strains but also provide fundamental information for a better understanding of microbial evolution and its impact on humans.
This Research Topic aims to advance our current understanding of S. cerevisiae evolution by collating information on genetic and phenotypic differences among wild and industrial strains and exploring hypotheses on possible paths of evolution of this yeast. In additional, the impact of indigenous S. cerevisiae populations on industry and of industrial S. cerevisiae strains on the environment will be considered.
Topics of interest include but are not limited to:
• Differences among strains (e.g., comparative genomics on S. cerevisiae strains, associations between genetic variability and traits modulation);
• How the local S. cerevisiae variability influences the industry (e.g., application of indigenous strains in the industry);
• How industrial S. cerevisiae strains spread and how they impact the environment;
• Development of techniques and approaches for the identification and characterization of S. cerevisiae strains.
Article types welcomed: Original Research, Methods, Reviews, Mini Reviews, Hypothesis and Theory, Perspective
Keywords: Saccharomyces cerevisiae, evolution, selection, genomics
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