The genome of wine yeast Dekkera bruxellensis provides a tool to explore its food-related properties.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The yeast Dekkera/Brettanomyces bruxellensis can cause enormous economic losses in wine industry due to production of phenolic off-flavor compounds. D. bruxellensis is a distant relative of baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nevertheless, these two yeasts are often found in the same habitats and share several food-related traits, such as production of high ethanol levels and ability to grow without oxygen. In some food products, like lambic beer, D. bruxellensis can importantly contribute to flavor development. We determined the 13.4Mb genome sequence of the D. bruxellensis strain Y879 (CBS2499) and deduced the genetic background of several "food-relevant" properties and evolutionary history of this yeast. Surprisingly, we find that this yeast is phylogenetically distant to other food-related yeasts and most related to Pichia (Komagataella) pastoris, which is an aerobic poor ethanol producer. We further show that the D. bruxellensis genome does not contain an excess of lineage specific duplicated genes nor a horizontally transferred URA1 gene, two crucial events that promoted the evolution of the food relevant traits in the S. cerevisiae lineage. However, D. bruxellensis has several independently duplicated ADH and ADH-like genes, which are likely responsible for metabolism of alcohols, including ethanol, and also a range of aromatic compounds.


  • Jure Piskur
  • Zhihao Ling
  • Marina Marcet-Houben
  • Olena Ishchuk
  • Andrea Aerts
  • Kurt Labutti
  • Alex Copeland
  • Erika Lindquist
  • Kerrie Barry
  • Concetta Compagno
  • Linda Bisson
  • Igor V Grigoriev
  • Toni Gabaldón
  • Trevor Phister
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences


  • Comparative genomics, Wine yeast, Aromatic compounds, Evolution, Ethanol fermentations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-209
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch