Cornucopia will train a new generation of young scientists focusing on less studied yeasts with interesting traits, which could be applied in the food and health sectors. Yeasts are a divergent group of fungi that predominantly exist as unicellular organisms. The baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is by far the best known because of its role in producing beverages, baking and recombinant drugs, such as insulin. S. cerevisiae is also the main model for the analysis of common features of all eukaryotic cells, and has been used in pioneering the development of several molecular biology, genomics and post-genomic tools. However, the yeast kingdom includes more than 1.500 other species that display a variety of unusual characteristics, and play an important role in their natural environments, but have so far been only poorly studied. These yeasts represent a large untapped potential to develop novel food and health related processes and products. We will make use of thousands strains available within Cornucopia to screen, using a variety of microbiological, analytical chemistry and bioinformatics techniques, for traits of interest to industry. such as ethanol-, acid- and osmo-tolerance, aromatic and off-flavor compounds and probiotic properties. Our young researchers will develop novel species-specific molecular, genetic and post-genomic tools to find out which genes determine the superior traits. They will “domesticate” new isolates so that they can be easily handled in the lab, and develop scale-up cultivations for applied purposes. We will benefit from yeast biodiversity and open new avenues within fundamental and applied research. Cornucopia, consists of seven leading yeast academic laboratories and three leading European industry partners, will provide a unique environment to develop strong academia and industry oriented careers, in-depth training in major experimental technologies used in yeast research and the industrial application of innovative ideas.
Fields of science
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