UK—Microbiologists from Cardiff University in Wales, UK, have crafted a unique beer using yeast extracted from the gut microbiome of killer bees from Namibia.  

The innovative project is part of a collaboration between Cardiff University and the University of Namibia focused on sustainable environmental development. 

The team, led by Professor Les Baillie from Cardiff University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, discovered that Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as brewer’s yeast, resides in the gut microbiome of honeybees.  

During a project in Namibia, the scientists isolated yeast from naturally deceased killer bees. Upon returning to Cardiff, they used the isolated yeast, along with yeast from Welsh honeybees, to create several batches of beer. 

Professor Baillie explained the significance of this discovery: “When working on a project in Namibia, we isolated the brewer’s yeast from killer bees that died naturally. We then combined it with yeast from Welsh honeybees to brew several batches of beer.” 

This brewing endeavor is a side project of the broader Pharmabees initiative, which explores how the pollination of certain plants could lead to the development of drugs to treat superbugs and antibiotic resistance.  

The Pharmabees project has placed beehives and specific plants around Cardiff University’s campus to encourage the production of “super-honey,” aiding their research into superbugs. 

The new beer, dubbed “Killer Beer,” aims to merge scientific understanding of microbiology with Cardiff’s ongoing research into bee-related products. The researchers are now seeking a brewer to collaborate with to bring Killer Bee Beer to market, with proceeds supporting bee research in Wales. 

Professor Baillie highlighted the project’s broader impact: “Our Killer Bee Beer is a fun side project to our wider Pharmabees studies. Our research into bees is uncovering how honey, beeswax, and other bee biproducts can play a role in solving some of the world’s biggest challenges – including tackling antibiotic resistance and superbugs.” 

The launch comes as the global beer market was valued at US$758.72 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach US$1,169.71 billion by 2031, with a CAGR of 5.56 percent during the forecast period of 2024 to 2031.

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