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Lecture by Peter Raspor – Yeast: A Challenge for Technologists and Microbiologists in Beer Production?

Academia Europaea Wrocław Knowledge Hub and Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences invited students, academic teachers, and citizens of Wrocław to a lecture by Peter Raspor entitled Yeast: A Challenge for Technologists and Microbiologists in Beer Production?


There are many varieties and strains of yeast. In the past, there was a division into two types of beer yeast: ale yeast (the “top-fermenting” type, Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and lager yeast (the “bottom‐fermenting” type, Saccharomyces uvarum, formerly known as Saccharomyces carlsbergensis). Although the Saccharomyces species are still being reclassified, and both ale and lager yeast strains are constantly scrutinised to prove the difference, beer production is constantly going on.
Since Cagniard de Latour demonstrated the biological background of yeast (1836), and Louis Pasteur proved that fermentation is caused by living organisms and asserted that the agents which are responsible for the reaction are connected with the yeast cell (1860), there have been many findings which helped the brewing and yeast industry to flourish and integrate many discoveries to structural innovations in processing. Today, they can be perceived as revolutionary. One of them is the possibility to turn fermenters from horizontal to vertical position. Moreover, during the starter production, we went from spontaneous fermentation to pure starter culture and also downstream processing of beer when we introduced filtration and pasteurization, just to mention some of the innovations. Although the art of brewing is as old as Mesopotamian and Chinese cultures, real industrial development had a significant influence on beer, yeast, and brewing in the last two centuries. The Industrial Revolution was not without consequences for beer quality, safety, and diversity of the beers we drink today. This spectrum of impacts is rather complex to address, but current challenges of technologists and microbiologists in beer production have to be taken up. There is still a need to answer many scientific and practical questions to go on with modernisation on one hand and to keep traditional beer heritage on the other. For humans, both aspects are important to be present and preserved for our descendants. Based on that, a few issues are still waiting for scientific and innovative solutions:

  • Biotechnology of conventional and unconventional yeasts,
  • Lactic acid bacteria as performer and spoiler,
  • Yeast stress & performance,
  • Food Safety issues ‐ more biochemical than microbiological – the status of gluten‐free beer,
  • Bio‐process engineering opportunities and impact of relevant parameters in alcohol‐free beer production,
  • Commercial enzymes in brewing,
  • Bio‐process engineering needs in combining in‐line instrumentation and data monitoring to improve brew house and brewery efficiency,
  • Brewing through the perspective of the craft brewer,
  • Eco‐awareness & sustainability,

just to name ten of the most challenging issues in beer research and beer practice. However, there are many other relevant issues which should be tackled by researchers not only in life sciences and technology area, but also in social sciences and humanities, due to their consequences for human well-being and health.


Guest professor at The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, 2006‐ Guest professor at the University of Vienna, 2008‐ Guest professor at the Faculty of Biosistemic Sciences at the University of Maribor, 2009‐ Guest professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ljubljana, 2011‐ Retired professor of Microbiology and Food Safety from the University of Primorska, 2014‐2016 Retired professor of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology from the University of Ljubljana, 1986‐2013 Retired professor of Food Biotechnology from Budapest Corvinus University, 1994‐2006.


  • Biochemistry and genetics of yeast strains with a particular interest in biomass production, ethanol production, extracellular enzymes synthesis, metal accumulation and flocculation
  • All aspects of food and beverage fermentation technology from the point of view of biotechnology
  • Starter culture production for food biotechnology and food safety
  • Solid state cultivation and processing waste recycling
  • Food safety issues


October 15, 2016


Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences (Norwida 25, 50-375 Wrocław)