Two rapid spectroscopic approaches for whole-organism fingerprinting—pyrolysis mass spectrometry (PyMS) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR)—were used to analyse 22 production brewery Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains. Multivariate discriminant analysis of the spectral data was then performed to observe relationships between the 22 isolates. Upon visual inspection of the cluster analyses, similar differentiation of the strains was observed for both approaches. Moreover, these phenetic classifications were found to be very similar to those previously obtained using genotypic studies of the same brewing yeasts. Both spectroscopic techniques are rapid (typically 2 min for PyMS and 10 s for FT-IR) and were shown to be capable of the successful discrimination of both ale and lager yeasts. We believe that these whole-organism fingerprinting methods could find application in brewery quality control laboratories. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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