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Long lived yeast factories


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In a article about using yeast to make useful drugs (https://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21724797-print-me-brewery-better-way-make-drinks-and-drugs), there was an interesting comment on keeping the system functional for an extended period.  The following claim is made that the yeast cells stop growing but continue normal functioning.  


The team’s bioreactors have continued to produce ethanol in this way for over four months now, with no signs of slowing down. The cause of this desirable phenomenon is not yet clear. Dr Nelson believes that immobilising the yeast cells in the hydrogel somehow stops them both ageing and reproducing, without affecting their ability to ferment. Somehow, the cells’ confinement is signalling to them to stop growing without affecting their normal metabolism.

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