As part of a week-long series of science events, Dr John Morrissey hosted an evening entitled ‘Fermenting the Future’. He gave a talk outlining the enormous potential of yeast biotechnology to enable us to produce commodities sustainably, and to create a clean, competitive economy in Europe. He presented the reasons for engineering yeast to replace unsustainable extraction of raw materials from the environment and other damaging methods of producing every day products and materials. He also talked about the role that yeast plays in flavours, and engaged in discussions with participants ranging from the potential to make Marmite taste better (a controversial topic!) to the differences in terminology used to describe engineered organisms, and the possible nutritional benefits of using yeast in flavour production.
About 40 people braved torrential rain to attend, even though the talk clashed with 2 major sporting fixtures! The audience included science students and professionals, environmental enthusiasts, and a large number of people with little prior knowledge of biotechnology or genetic engineering.
This evening was the first of three evening events on the theme of ‘Science for Sustainability’. The other events cover themes related to the circular economy, materials science, and engineering. An exhibition will run between 10th and 15th November. This is open for anyone to attend. For more information or to sign up for the talks, visit the eventbrite page, or see the UCC Yeast Research Facebook page. This event was part of the Cork Science Festival and Science Week Ireland.