Chemotherapy and organ transplantation research may not only benefit patients undergoing such medical procedures, it might also lead to better beer.

Such medical procedures can compromise patients’ immune system, leaving them vulnerable to infections from microbes such as pathogenic fungi — the fastest-growing cause of hospital-acquired infections.

Now researchers from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research report discovering why fungal microbes are such a scourge.

According to the research appearing in the online edition of the journal Nature Genetics, fungal microbes can quickly alter the appearance of their surfaces, their skin, disguising themselves to slip past the immune system’s defenses. And, for all the world’s brewers, that also helps explain why certain beers are cloudy.

It’s all about skin, said researcher Gerald Fink. The skin of fungi microbes is what enables them to stick to your organs, and thus become pathogenic.”

He also notes it also enables the fungi to stick together, which is desirable for fermentation in beer.

The secret of a good, fresh, clear beer — the kind Americans tend to like — is the yeast cells all stick together, Fink said, noting when yeast cells don’t adhere, the beer tends to become cloudy.

More here.