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The Modern Bar Cart Podcast

Mar 16, 2023

In this deep dive on the biochemistry and genetics of mint with Abby Bryson and Dr. Björn Hamberger of the Michigan State University Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, some of the topics we discuss include:

  • Why mint and other members of the Lamiacea family have been able to evolve in such a diverse array of ecological niches, infusing their flavors and health benefits into the ethnobotanical cultures of people around the world.

  • The reason why mint smells even more amazing when you “activate” it, and what these chemical “signals” might indicate in the “universal language of small molecules.”

  • We also cover an important class of compounds called “terpenes,” which have become all the rage in certain beverage and cannabis communities recently, but that might also hold the key to certain health benefits.

  • Then, we explore Abby’s fascinating research using computational genetics to identify important biosynthetic gene clusters in various mint species.

  • And we conclude by peering into what the future might hold for this area of study, including the use of yeast to naturally synthesize flavors and medicines without harming these beautiful plants in the wild.

This episode is also brought to you by Near Country Provisions. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic and want to enjoy ethically raised (and delicious) meat from local farmers delivered to your door every month, then you need Near Country in your life.

Head over to and enter the code BARCART when you sign up for your subscription to receive 2 free pounds of bacon or ground beef in your first delivery.