Morski Kukumar: Graduate Student Creates Beer from Adriatic Sea Yeast

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Igor Jakšić
Igor Jakšić

Petar Puškarić is now a former student of the Split University Department of Marine Studies and someone who will indeed remain inscribed in the history of this faculty. Namely, this master engineer of Ecology and Marine Protection worked at the L.A.B. brewery in Split. When choosing a topic for his dissertation, he came up with an exciting idea – to make beer. But not just any beer – a beer made from sea yeast, reports Dalmacija Danas

His product was also given an appropriate name – Morski Kukumar (Sea Cucumber). 

“The topic was called ‘isolation of sea yeast and its application in brewing.’ It is a slightly different diploma than the professors and students are used to. I used to work occasionally at L.A.B. brewery from Split, and it occurred to me that I could connect it. At a lecture on Marine Microbiology, I approached my future mentor, prof. Marina Ordulja and asked if there were yeasts in the sea and if we could ferment them. We discussed a bit and came up with the idea to try making a beer with sea yeast,” Petar described.

The yeast formation process is very complex.

“We had the most problems with how to find yeast that can ferment. So the yeast was collected from a sea sample and was taken near the shore, at a depth of about 30 centimeters. First, we isolated it by standard microbiological methods for the isolation of microorganisms. After that, we planted the filter paper on nutrient media, and thus the microorganisms from which we extracted sea yeast grew,” Petar added. 

The beer was produced as any standard beer.

“The only difference is in the type of yeast because marine yeast was used instead of standard yeast. We brewed this beer in very small quantities, even small ones for home use. We only made a few tasting bottles. The taste of the beer is similar to the sour / farmhouse type of beer. It is slightly sour and gives fruity notes and aromas. Of course, a change in the recipe needs to be made, and the beer had 4.6 percent alcohol,” Petar said.

Reactions at the faculty are more than positive.

“My mentor told me that everyone is interested and that this is a good idea. I think they were very pleased with my thesis. And my friends are thrilled. They said that it was something completely different from what they had been drinking so far but expected it from me. So they tried the beer and immediately gave me some ideas on how to develop it further – they will be satisfied.”

And he has a plan.

“I need to find a way to develop the product and test it better, to see if it is one hundred percent safe for higher production. The next thing is to find investment, after which it will be much easier to work and develop the product,” he added.

Unfortunately, despite his obvious abilities and potential, he has not found a job.

“I am planning further steps regarding beer. I have some opportunities to help through the Croatian Bank for Sustainable Development. They fund and co-finance projects that connect science and industry. Of course, the plan is to apply for EU funds, but there is more to it. Everything is still in the experimental phase, and it remains to be seen how the yeast will react to larger amounts of beer. I could find some more yeast in the sea, which will give even better results, so I will work on that. I’m going step by step,” Petar said modestly.

His faculty is critical to our society.

“At my faculty, there are two majors at the graduate level. One is ecology and marine protection, and the other is sea fishing. It educates staff experts in marine protection and management of marine resources and fish farming and ecological and sustainable use of marine resources. As for our awareness of keeping the sea clean, I think it’s increasing more and more. Of course, it is never enough, but we are on the right track, and I believe that we will soon get the results,” concluded Petar.

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