Dr. Kyria Boundy-Mills, curator of the Phaff Yeast Culture Collection in the Food Science and Technology department at UC Davis, received an award of $579,246 from the National Science Foundation. This will fund the transfer of professor emeritus and yeast taxonomist Dr. Marc-André Lachance’s collection of 6,000 yeast strains from the University of Western Ontario to UC Davis, expanding the Phaff collection catalog by over 50%. This will ensure preservation of this very large and diverse yeast collection, expand the range of yeast species and strains in the Phaff collection catalog, and will make these yeasts and decades of characterization data available to the scientific community for the first time.
The collection contains over 500 different yeast species, about 100 of which do not yet have scientific names, and many of which were not yet in the Phaff collection. Extensive data about the yeasts is being added to the Phaff collection database, including geographic and host origin, and upwards of 80 laboratory tests used to identify the yeasts. This information now has commercial value for industrial fermentations including ability to consume inexpensive feedstocks such as xylose or pectin, produce enzymes, or tolerate stresses such as temperature, pH, or salinity. Research uses span basic and applied studies from functional genomics to food ingredients.
More information is available on the Phaff collection website, https://phaffcollection.ucdavis.edu/news/nsf-award-press-release