JUN 20, 2017 9:48 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
JUL 15, 2020
Plants & Animals
New Research Reveals Beluga Whale Social Networks
JUL 15, 2020
New Research Reveals Beluga Whale Social Networks
The familial and social relationships between whales, such as orcas and bottlenose dolphins, are moderately understood. ...
JUL 26, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
AI Creates Proteins that Rival Those in Nature
JUL 26, 2020
AI Creates Proteins that Rival Those in Nature
Proteins are crucial for the function of cells in living organisms. Now, researchers have developed a machine leaning-le ...
AUG 28, 2020
Plants & Animals
Will Traps Solve the Invasive Lionfish Problem?
AUG 28, 2020
Will Traps Solve the Invasive Lionfish Problem?
Extravagant and spiny lionfish were once highly sought after by home aquarium hobbyists. These venomous fish are native ...
SEP 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earth's Atmosphere Causes Moon to Rust
SEP 07, 2020
Earth's Atmosphere Causes Moon to Rust
Researchers from the University of Hawaii have noticed that the Moon is turning slightly red or 'rusty'- and tha ...
SEP 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
What the Sun's New Weather Cycle Means for Earth
SEP 17, 2020
What the Sun's New Weather Cycle Means for Earth
Scientists have confirmed that the sun is nine months into a new solar cycle, and that this 11-year cycle will resemble ...
NOV 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
NOV 06, 2020
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
Located inside the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Z Pulsed Power Facility (or Z Machine) i ...
Loading Comments...