Scientists Create Mutant Yeasts with Heavy Ion Beam, Sake Ensues

While the newly-generated variety of brewing yeast cooked up by boffins at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science doesn't shoot laser beams or gain super-strength when you piss it off, it does apparently make a very tasty rice wine.

By training its heavy ion beam at a batch of brewing yeast, yhe Radiation Biology Team at RIKEN, in collaboration with the Saitama Industrial Technology Center and the Saitama Sake and Shochu Makers Association, were able to induce it to undergo mutagenesis—a process by which an organism's genetic code is shuffled in a more stable manner than random genetic mutation. The result is a new variety of yeast employed by three Japanese breweries in the making of ‘Nishina Homare' sake (‘in honor of [Yoshio] Nishina' , the father of Japanese nuclear physics). The first batches came to market in November of last year. [RIKEN via PhysOrg]