The monophyletic Saccharomyces sensu strictu genus is composed of 8
species and several interspecies hybrids. Strains of this genus have been used in various
processes that form a significant part of human culture and history. These include
brewing, baking, production of wine and several other fermented beverages, and more
recently, the production of biofuels, drugs, and chemicals. They can be found in the
most diverse environments on almost all continents worldwide. A prominent example
is the species S. cerevisiae, which has a remarkable history with humankind. In the
present chapter, we illustrate the habitats of the Saccharomyces species and their longlasting
domestication process, as well as the hybridization that occurs between various
species of this genus and their underlying industrial applications. We then finalize the
text with an emblematic case study of its application in industrial sugarcane-based
ethanol production, as performed in Brazil.
Keywords: Diversity, Domestication, Ethanol, Fermented beverages, Fermentation processes, Habitat, Hybridization, Stress, Sugarcane, Saccharomyces, yeast.