Researchers have long explored the various benefits that wine has to offer to the human body. Modern day science has already come a long way in proving some of the benefits that red wine ingredients such as resveratrol offer to the skin and the body. Vine Vera came across a recent study conducted by researchers working for the University of Illinois that showed exciting findings on the health benefits of wine. This study was published in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology Journal.
According to researchers, jail breaking yeast could dramatically increase wine’s health benefits by reducing the toxic byproducts which often lead to headaches the next morning. Most fermented food items such as bread, beer and wine are made using a polyploid strain of yeast. This means that the products contain numerous copies of genes in their genomes. Yong-Su Jin, the principal investigator and associate professor at Energy Biosciences Institute, mentions that genetic engineering of polyploid strains was considered to be a difficult process because altering a gene in a single copy of the genome was rendered useless by the unaltered copy. The unaltered version of the genome brought back the altered gene into its original state.
Through this study, scientists managed to create a “genome knife” that could be used to cut through different copies of the targeted gene in a precise manner until all copies of the gene were cut. Researchers used this RNA-guided Cas9 nuclease to engineer the polyploid strains that are currently being used in the fermentation of beer and wine
Vine Vera discovered that the results obtained through the study have been astonishing. The researchers mention that wine already contains a healthy component called resveratrol. By adding engineered yeast into the picture, they managed to increase the amount of resveratrol by at least 10 times. Moreover, the engineered yeast also allowed researchers to add metabolic pathways that led to the introduction of other bioactive compounds such as ginseng into the wine yeast from different food items. Similarly, researchers also devised ways to transfer the resveratrol-producing pathways into the engineered strains of yeast that were used in the fermentation of beer, kimchee, kefir, pickles and cheese.
Another major benefit of this engineered yeast is that it allows winemakers to clone the enzyme which helps in enhancing the malolactic fermentation, a secondary process that is used to give the wine a smoother taste. Improper malolactic fermentation is one of the root causes of hangover symptoms and toxic byproducts. Yong-Su Jin also suggested that this “genome knife” could be used as a tool that allowed genetic engineers to crease precise mutations, something that was not possible before.
Designed mutations are important because they allow scientists to understand the functions of specific genes. Jin gives the examples of a yeast that creates a great wine flavor. It would be important to understand the reasons behind the flavor. This process can allow researchers to delete genes one by one, until that distinct flavor in the wine disappears, thereby isolating the gene responsible for giving the wine its flavor.
Vine Vera believes that such technologies should make genetically modified organisms less objectionable. Researchers have traditionally used antibiotic markers as a means of indicating the genetic alterations in organisms and people have objected to the use of such food items because of the dangers associated with enhanced antibiotic resistance. However, by using the “genome knife” concept, researchers should be able to precisely cut the genome, without having to resort to the use of antibiotic markers as a means of confirming the genetic event.