Saccharomyces is a genus of fungi that contains dozens of yeast species, such as Saccharomyces arboricolus, Saccharomyces bayanus, Saccharomyces ellipsoideus, Saccharomyces florentinus, Saccharomyces kluyveri, etc. Many species of Saccharomyces play important roles in food industry (e.g. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used in making bread, beer and wine). Saccharomyces colonies are flat, moist, smooth, glistening or dull, and cream in color. They grow rapidly and mature in three days. Members of Saccharomyces are unicellular species. Their cells are globose and ellipsoid to elongate in shape, with a diameter of 2-8μm and length of 3-25μm. Rudimentary pseudohyphae can be found in some cases. Saccharomyces can produce ascospores, especially when acetate ascospor agar, V-8 medium, or Gorodkowa medium are used for the culture. These ascospores are globose and located in asci. 1-4 ascospores can be found in each asci.
Saccharomyces is known as the brewer's yeast or baker's yeast, it has been used for hundreds of years. Many members of Saccharomyces have been involved in food production, winemaking and brewing for a long time. With the absence of oxygen, yeast converts the sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide through the process of fermentation. Brewing yeast strains can be catalogued into two groups: the ale group and the larger group. Lager strains include hybrid strain of S. cerevisiae and S. eubayanus and are often thought to be bottom fermenting. And the ale group, which cotains strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is often referred to as top fermenting strains. S. pastorianus and S. cerevisiae are closely related species, despite the two species differ in a number of ways. Saccharomyces also causes food spoilage of sugar-rich foods, such as syrup, maple sap, concentrated juices and condiments.
Fig.2 Yeast cells expressing TRK1/GFP.
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