SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — A Cal Poly professor’s mission to turn 45-million-year-old yeast into an ingredient for beer has proven successful — and now he hopes to grow his operation.
Raul Cano, a Cal Poly biology professor, discovered the yeast in amber that came from Myanmar, which was previously known as Burma, while conducting research in the 1990s.
Cano gained international recognition at the time for his discovery that microorganisms could be brought back to life by extracting them from amber found in Myanmar, North America and Central America.
The microorganisms are able to lie dormant for long periods of time without air or food.
Through brewing experiments with collaborators, Cano has been able to take strains of yeast from the ancient amber and grow them. And he was interested in finding out how it could be used in food or drinks.
“Beer was the obvious product from an organism such as yeast,” Cano said. “It was either that or bread. But beer seemed more adventurous.”
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