RIKEN ion beam technology used to create brewing yeast

Feb 20, 2012
Three types of Japanese sake called ‘Nishina Homare’ produced using a new brewing yeast

Heavy ion beams produced by the RIKEN Ring Cyclotron at the RI Beam Factory have played a key part in the alcoholic beverage-brewing process.

The Radiation Biology Team at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science, in with the Saitama Industrial Technology Center and the Saitama Sake and Shochu Makers Association, have used the ion beams to produce a new brewing yeast. The yeast is now being used to produce several brands of sake by local brewers in Saitama prefecture, in a distinct example of RIKEN technology’s practical applications in industry.

Three types of sake brewed using the new were produced at three breweries in Saitama, and entered the market in November 2011. They are collectively known as ‘Nishina Homare’ (‘in honor of Nishina’), named after Yoshio Nishina, the father of nuclear physics in Japan and one of RIKEN’s most eminent scientists.

Ion beams also have applications in the generation of new plant varieties. As heavy ion beams induce mutagenesis—a process which results in a mutation—more rapidly than other breeding techniques, they are capable of generating new varieties in plants within just a few years. Using this technique, which was pioneered in Japan, Radiation Biology Team leader Tomoko Abe has already developed a number of new plant varieties, including dahlias, petunias, dianthus, salt-resistant rice and high-yield rice. The most recent variety developed by Abe’s team is a new type of cherry blossom that can bloom all year round.

Explore further: Better mouse model enables colon cancer research

Related Stories

Emerging from the vortex

Feb 17, 2012

Whether a car or a ball, the forces acting on a body moving in a straight line are very different to those acting on one moving in tight curves. This maxim also holds true at microscopic scales. As such, a ...

'Cell surgery' using nano-beams

Apr 04, 2011

Using a simple glass capillary, atomic physicists at RIKEN are developing an ultra-narrow ion beam that pinpoints a part of organelles in a living cell, enabling biologists to visualize how the damage affects ...

New tool for proton spin

May 06, 2011

How the particles that constitute a proton give rise to is to its rotation, or ‘spin’, is an intriguing open question of contemporary particle physics. A technique that could provide some answers ...

Recommended for you

Better mouse model enables colon cancer research

12 hours ago

Every day, it seems, someone in some lab is "curing cancer." Well, it's easy to kill cancer cells in a lab, but in a human, it's a lot more complicated, which is why nearly all cancer drugs fail clinical ...

How to get high-quality RNA from chemically complex plants

May 26, 2015

Ask any molecular plant biologist about RNA extractions and you might just open up the floodgates to the woes of troubleshooting. RNA extraction is a notoriously tricky and sensitive lab procedure. New protocols out of the ...

Plant fertility—how hormones get around

May 26, 2015

Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology have identified a transporter protein at the heart of a number of plant processes associated with fertility and possibly aging.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.