JUN 20, 2017 09:48 AM PDT

Fruit Flies Can Improve the Taste of Beer


We've all seen it happen, a healthy bowl of fruit on the table turns into a swarming mess of fruit flies and their eggs. These pests do serve a purpose though, in an area one wouldn't expect. Beer. Fruit flies are attracted via smell to food sources that are yeasty. Several acetates in beer, that give it flavor, will attract flies by the dozen. Wild yeast contains these and when a group of chemists got together to see what was happening, they noticed that yeast cells would stick to the flies and then get carried off, as a pollination or colonization process. Mutant cells, that did not contain these acetate compounds, did not attract fruit flies and therefore was not colonized.

It's a matter of evolution, the yeast cells have developed specifically to attract the flies, who then carry them off to make more yeast. Yeast that brewers use to develop more flavorful beers via fermentation. So, while they might be annoying, the fruit flies are assisting the yeast in colonizing and making more of what brewers need to make beer better. So buy that fly a cold one next time.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
NOV 19, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 19, 2019
These Are Some of Nature's Brightest Animals
Lots of people are quick to dismiss animal intelligence as inferior to human intelligence, but let the record show that plenty of animals have earned a rep...
NOV 19, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 19, 2019
Ultra-dark Material Constructed with Carbon Nanotubes
The reason why we can "see" is because when light rays strike an object, a portion of them get reflected at its surface and enter into our eyes....
NOV 19, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 19, 2019
Hidden Cameras Capture Birds Stealing Shiny Things
It’s no secret that some birds like to collect shiny things. In the case of the humble bowerbird, males often build impressive twig structures and th...
NOV 19, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 19, 2019
Here's What We Know So Far About Titan's Liquid Methane Oceans
Titan is perhaps one of the most captivating moons orbiting Saturn today; so much so that astronomers spent a lot of time studying it when the Cassini miss...
NOV 19, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 19, 2019
What Makes Cheetahs Such Adept Predators?
The humble cheetah has earned its reputation as the world’s fastest land animal. This large cat is capable of accelerating to speeds of up to 60 mile...
NOV 19, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 19, 2019
Mars 2020 Rover Carries Full Weight on Wheels for First Time
NASA has been working on an advanced successor to the Martian Curiosity rover for quite some time. Dubbed the Mars 2020 rover, the upgraded SUV-sized auton...
Loading Comments...