52 Years of the International Commission on Yeasts (ICY)

ICY is an active international body, whose role is “to establish effective liaison between persons and organizations concerned in yeast investigations, and between them and the practical users of results of investigations, including yeast culture collections”. Two years ago (in 2016) we commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of its existence. When and how did the story of ICY start? The creation of this body is linked to the second International Symposium on Yeasts which was held in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, now the capital of Slovakia, in July, 1966. The meeting was attended by 145 participants from 21 countries. During the Symposium the Czechoslovak representatives initiated the creation of an international organization which would stimulate scientific collaboration of people working with yeasts all over the world. A Council for International Collaboration in Yeast Science was founded. The late Dr. A. Kockova-Kratochvilova (1915-1992) was appointed Chair and Dr. Erich Minarik (1924-2007) (both from Czechoslovakia), Secretary of the Council. The other endowing members of the Council were: K Beran (Czechoslovakia), A. Eddy (UK), P. Elinov (USSR), H. Klaushoffer (Austria), N. I. Kudrjavcev (USSR), U. Leopold (Switzerland), R. Muller (GDR), S. Nagai (Japan), O. Necas (Czechoslovakia), H. J. Phaff (USA), C. F. Robinow (Canada), H. Soumalainen (Finland), T. Tsuchiya (Japan), L. Wockerham (USA), T. Wiken (Holland) and S. Windisch (GFR), all well recognized yeast researchers of that time. During the meeting it was also agreed that the existing Yeast Newsletter, edited by H. J. Phaff at the University of California, would serve as the official publication of the Council. Thanks to Prof. H. Phaff and later to Prof. M.-A. Lachance, current editor, the Yeast Newsletter is still alive and bringing interesting and important information to our groups.

In early years after its foundation, the Council underwent changes in names and affiliations. In 1970, under the new name, International Commission on Yeasts and Yeast-like Microorganisms (ICY), it became a part of the Microbiology Division of the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS). In 1981, ICY also joined the Mycology Division of the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS).

The main activity of ICY is the organization of International Congress on Yeasts (ICY) at 4 years intervals (before 2004 the meeting was called International Symposium on Yeasts) and more frequently, sometimes every year and in a different country, International Specialized Symposia on Yeasts (ISSY). The main organizer of the ICY becomes Chair of the ICY until the next ISY. Current ICY Chair is in hands of Prof. Hiroshi Takagi from Nara Institute of Science and Technology (Japan) who was in charge of the successful 14th ICY in Awaji Island held in September, 2016. He will hold the Chair till the 15th ICY planned to be organized by in Vienna, Austria in August, 2020.

2018 Peter Biely, Institute of Chemistry, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia

 

Founders of International Commission on Yeasts (ICY)

Dr. Anna Kocková-Kratochvílová, DrSc. (1915-1992)

Dr. Kocková-Kratochvílová, born on March 2nd 1915 in Jugoslavia, is the key scientist from previous Czechoslovakia responsible for initiation of international activities of yeast researchers in sixties of the last century. She can be assigned as a founder of the tradition of general and specialized yeast symposia. She organized the 1st Symposium on Yeasts in 1964 in the Smolenice Castle near Bratislava, Slovakia. She was also in charge of the International Yeasts Symposium held in 1966 in Bratislava, during which the International Commission on Yeasts was created. She became the first chairman of the Commission making it the driving force of international activities of yeast researchers up to the presence. In Slovakia she is known mainly by her Collection of Yeasts and Yeast-like Microorganisms, which she directed for several decades.  The collection is the largest in Central Europe and represents a valuable source of strains for research and fermentation industry. She contributed to taxonomy, ecology and biochemistry of yeasts with more than 300 papers, several textbooks, monographies and yeast catalogues, and supervised many students. Her enthusiasm for science is an example for her successors.

Doc. Ing. Erich Minárik, DrSc. (1924-2007)

Born in Slovakia on September 17, 1924, he graduated from the Slovak Technical University in 1950. After graduation he joined the Research Institute for Viticulture and Enology in Bratislava, in which he remained till his late retirement. He was awarded PhD degree in 1960 and habilitated at the Technical University in 1966. His main contribution can be recognized in microbiology and technology of wine production. He published more than 200 papers, several books and student textbooks. His most successful work is the book on winemaking published in three volumes, chemistry, Microbiology and analysis, which was awarded the price of the Office Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin in Paris in 1967 and 1971. Prof. Minárik was a co-founder of the Czechoslovak Commission on Yeasts in 1964 and of the International Commission on Yeasts in 1966 with Dr. Anna Kocková-Kratochvílová. For his life achievments he received in 1998 the Slovak state price, Order of Ludovít Štúr. He is remembered as a leading wine-yeast researcher, outstanding teacher and enthusiastic organizer of natioanl and international scientific meetings on yeasts.

Peter Biely, Institute of Chemistry, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia