Contrary to what many of us may think, yeasts aren’t just found in breads and beers. These unicellular organisms are hundreds of millions of years old, found all over the world, in a variety of habitats, and have a variety of uses, from baking to biotechnology and beyond. There’s a lot we can learn from them. So how do we do it? That’s where the University of the Free State Yeast Culture Collection comes into it.
Housing a collection of over 3000 yeast isolates from various habitats in South Africa and worldwide – the largest collection of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere – the UFS YCC is a national and international resource for researchers and industries interested in yeast diversity, and a core member of the Biodiversity Biobanks South Africa (BBSA) network.
The team, led by biobank manager Prof Carolina Pohl-Albertyn and biobank curator Dr Adepemi Ogundeji, maintains state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, manages and coordinates the provision of biobank services, and conducts cutting-edge research to support scientific advancement and innovation.
Biodiversity biobanks are repositories of biologically relevant resources, including reproductive tissues such as seeds, eggs and sperm, other tissues including blood, DNA extracts, microbial cultures (active and dormant), and environmental samples containing biological communities….