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  How We Work
  Our Laboratory
  Flavouring Technology
  Clarification Technology
  Nutrition Technology
  Yeast Technology
  Congener Technology
 
Yeast Technology
 
One of SPL's core strengths is the ability to develop and manufacture our own dried yeast strains available for supply in either bulk or sachets to both the homebrew and commercial drinks sectors.

Drawing on our wealth of knowledge, expertise and state of the art facilities, we have the capabilities to develop and isolate new strains. Then through the correct propagation and drying methods, it has allowed us and continues to allow us, to bring NEW strains to the commercial and homebrew drinks sectors. Our yeast strains are used in the production of spirits, liqueurs, beers, ciders, wines, alcobases and a significant number of other flavoured and unflavoured alcoholic beverages.

SPL supplies their core yeast strains, nutrition, carbons and spirit flavourings to the commercial alcoholic drinks industry and is responsible for a variety of market leading and award winning brands around the world.

One yeast cell is invisible to the naked eye, measuring about 1/100th of a millimetre. Most people can resolve down to 1/10th of a millimetre so the yeast cell is 10 times too small to see. One gram of SPL yeast will contain 10,000 MILLION living yeast cells (expressed as 1 x 1010 CFU/g).

There are many thousands of different strains of yeast, but only a small number of these strains are suitable for the fermentation of pure sugar into alcohol. Since 1992 SPL has carried out in excess of 10,000 individual fermentations as part of an ongoing screening program to identify the `best` alcohol yeast strains for the fermentation of pure sugar into alcohol.

In addition to the ongoing yeast strain screening program, SPL is actively working with leading Universities in the United Kingdom looking for further improvements within the areas of temperature tolerance, yield (grams of ethanol per kilogram of sugar), fermentable ethanol ceiling and tolerance, alcohol purity and rate of fermentation. The most significant projects have been;

1997 Nuclear Petite of the Gene PET191
Working with one of Europe's most respected molecular geneticists, Professor Stephen Oliver (best known for heading the EUROFAN yeast genome project), SPL created the world's first nuclear petite yeast strain by successfully removing the PET191 gene from multiple copies of an industrial alcohol yeast strain. Removing this gene from the cell takes away the yeast's ability to use oxygen for respiration and increases glycolytic flux substantially.

Benefits of this new strain include;
No post fermentation drop in ethanol percentage because this GM strain is unable to metabolise ethanol (or sugar) using oxygen.
44% faster specific fermentation rate.
Increased fermentable ethanol ceiling achieving 24.7% ABV in independent tests.
Unfortunately, because the political climate for genetically modified organisms (GMO) it is not at this time favourable, SPL has taken the decision not to commercialise this strain until political conditions become more favourable.
2003 Dried Immobilised Yeast
SPL is working with Professor Colin Webb of Manchester University, England on a system of encapsulation for living alcohol yeast cells for the continual production of ethanol through a bed of immobilised yeast. SPL used the traditional approach of immobilisation upon an alginate matrix but invented a system which reduced cell leakage, dramatically achieving optical densities below 0.03 after a 1000 hour running cycle. The second stage of the project attempted to dry immobilised yeast to achieve 12 months' shelf life at ambient 20C, this was achieved and represents worldwide.

Benefits can be summarised as;
Significantly reduced cell leakage in continuous fermentation plant process.
12 months' shelf life of dried product at 20C storage temperature
Ability to ferment to 18% ABV from 0% ABV in a batch system without cell leakage.
2003 Transcriptone / Metabolone

Working again with Professor Oliver of Manchester University in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry. This project represented foundational research to develop an understanding of which genes are responsible for the formation of which metabolites during fermentation.

Yeast produces many metabolites apart from ethanol. Such compounds are collectively called congeners but often nicknamed 'impurities'. The perfect alcohol yeast strain for producing pure alcohol would produce no impurities at all and produce only ethanol. Although such a vision will never be completely realised, SPL does believe that major strides can be made to reduce congeners and thereby improve the quality and yield of alcohol from a fermentation system.

The research itself centred on taking 'snap shots' of gene expression at one hourly intervals throughout fermentation using gene chip technology and comparing these gene expression 'pictures' with metabolites found in the fermentation solution. SPL gained a significant understanding of the relationship between gene expression and metabolite production and will, in the future, be able to engineer new yeast strains with improved ethanol yield and reduced congener formation.
Turbo Yeast
Pathfinder
Beer
Cider
Spirits
Liqueurs
Wine
Beverage Ethanol
Alco Base
Flavoured Alcoholic Beverages
 
 
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