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Acid/Base Chemistry Essay

1400 words - 6 pages

Yeast produce beverages that Americans twenty-one or older enjoy, they make drinks like beer, wine, and etc. One of the most widely seen genus and species is Saccharomycescerevisiae (winemakermag.com). There are many different strands of this organism. But this particular yest genus is so useful that one company seems that they only work with it, Vinters Harvest provides these organisms to home brewers and theirmain yeast is this one.
Yeast ferment sugars in order to produce energy and alcohol an unintended byproduct. This process lowers the pH of the surrounding environment. If not kept in check it can harm the organisms producing it (Hernandez-Cortez 2010).A group of researchers noted that the pH of agave and yeast could get too low if left untreated, which causes a dip in the fermentation production of the organism.
The pH of wine is in a range of 3.3 to 3.7 according to one source (Pandell 1999). This is the acidity of all the different acids making up this substance. In all wines one of the most predominant acids is tartaric acid (Lamikanra 1997). pH is a scale from 1-14; to calculate it one takes the negative log of the hydronium ion concentration. One is very acidic, 7 is neutral, and 14 classified as a strong base. Therefore, wine would be considered an acidic beverage according to this scale. While something like pure water is neutral.
The pH of wine can be affected during the fermentation process. If temperature gets too high then yeast will stop fermenting the sugars into alcohol (English Montreal School Board 2005). These organisms might stop the process because the heat could have denatured them. With no microbes working means that fewer acids would have been created in the product. Making the wine more basic than it should be. Another factor possibly affecting pH is the growth and unwanted fermentation of bacteria. If left alone to their own devices they can grow and turn the wine into vinegar like solution (Keller). Which besides making it unpalatable will change the overall pH of the product.
The Ka equilibrium constant illustrates the amount of dissociation an acid undergoes. While strong acids will do so completely, a weak one will only partly finish the process. For example Phosphoric acid, which is found in Coca Cola, has a pKa of 2.12(Kotz, Triechel, and Townsend). Coca Cola has a pH of 2, which is close to the above compound. Making Phosphoric acid a good buffer for the soft drink because the values are close to each other (Lenntech). A buffer prevents drastic shifts in pH however for the most part they only operate in specific ranges.
Performing Titratable Acids gives the tester the total of all acids excluding carbonic. When doing this test for wine the normal range is 5-8 g/dm3 for most cases. This is found after the removal of Carbon Dioxide, finishing up at end point titration. What is interesting is that different countries have different end points selected. In the United States it is a pH of 8.2 while in...

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