Would you wear yeast perfume? Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks is brewing up a new concoction that contains yeast – that’s right, the microscopic fungus – that’s been genetically engineered to smell like roses.
This mixture could serve as a more convenient and cost-effective alternative to using actual rose oil, a classic perfume component derived from roses picked by hand from fields in Bulgaria and Turkey and then later distilled. Bioengineers at Gingko coded the genes of the rose to discover which enzymes were responsible for producing its smell. The experts identified specific chemical compounds from these enzymes and then modified the genome of yeast to engineer multiple strands of fungus to produce different metabolic reactions. In the future, microbes could help produce
a variety of scents that are cheaper and more consistent, since they’ reproduced in a more controlled environment. So get set to spritze yourselves with yeast.