The Rise of Yeast

The Rise of Yeast : How the sugar fungus shaped civilisation

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From breakfast toast to evening wine, yeast is the microscopic thing that we cannot live without. We knew what yeast did as an invisible brewer and baker long before we had a clue about the existence of microorganisms. Ten thousand years ago, our ancestors abandoned bush meat and wild fruit in favor of farming animals and cultivating grain. Leaving the forests and grasslands, our desire for beer and wine produced by the fungus was a major stimulus for agricultural
settlement. It takes a village to run a brewery or tend a vineyard. We domesticated wild yeast and yeast domesticated us. With the inevitable escape of the fungus from beer vats into bread dough, our marriage with yeast was secured by an appetite for fresh loaves of leavened bread.

Over the millennia, we have adapted the technologies of brewing, winemaking, and baking and have come to rely on yeast more and more. Yeast produces corn ethanol and other biofuels and has become the genetically-modified darling of the pharmaceutical business as a source of human insulin and a range of life-saving medicines. These practical uses of yeast have been made possible by advances in our understanding of its biology, and the power of genetic engineering has been used to modify the
fungus to do just about anything we wish. We know more about yeast than any other organism built from complex cells like our own. To understand yeast is to understand life. In this book Nicholas P. Money offers a celebration of our favorite microorganism.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 142 x 224 x 24mm | 352g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 21 black and white images
  • 0198749708
  • 9780198749707
  • 465,261

Table of contents

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Review Text

A highly entertaining read ... a fascinating and lucid historical study, rich with biological intrigue. Timothy James, Current Biology
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Review quote

Yeast rises our bread, ferments our beer, wine, and spirits, perfumes our fruit, nourishes our bodies, makes us bold in love, foments chaos, powers our cars, and unlocks the soul. We humans tend to think that we rule the earth, but the evidence on our behalf is scant. This fascinating book unlocks the mysteries of our world's true masters, which were here before we walked, will be here when we're gone, and, in the meantime, help make our time on the planet a lot more
fun and infinitely more delicious. * Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery, Editor-in-Chief, The Oxford Companion to Beer * An enjoyable and readable account. * Brewer & Distiller International * Nicholas Money's effervescent tour is packed with delights, such as illustrations by Charles Tulasne, the Audubon of fungi, or the revelation that yeasts and humans share a common ancestor (and hundreds of genes). * Barabra Kiser, Nature * The Rise of Yeast is a neat little book that elegantly covers a lot of ground. * Leon Vlieger, Inquisitive Biologist * The Rise of Yeast: How the sugar fungus shaped civilisation is an amazing story, about an amazing people-non-person relationship (and by an amazing writer): Surely, Moneys The Rise of Yeast is destined to be a classic and a thoroughly deserving award-winner! * Nigel Chaffey, Botany One, News and Views on Plant Biology and Ecology * A highly entertaining read ... a fascinating and lucid historical study, rich with biological intrigue. * Timothy James, Current Biology *
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About Nicholas P. Money

Nicholas P. Money is Professor of Botany and Western Program Director at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is an expert on fungal growth and reproduction. Nicholas has authored a number of popular science books that celebrate the diversity of the fungi and other microorganisms including Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard: The Mysterious World of Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycologists (OUP, 2002), and The Amoeba in the Room: Lives of the Microbes (OUP, 2014).
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