The Effect Of Sugar Substitutes On Yeast Respiration

1531 words - 6 pages

The purpose of this investigation is to test the effects of multiple sugar substances on the respiration of yeast. Most people think of yeast when they think of what makes bread rise, cheese, alcoholic beverages, or other food products. Another type of yeast can also cause yeast infections, an infection of the skin. Yeasts (Saccharomyces) are tiny, microscopic organisms with a thin membrane and are usually oval or circular-shaped. They are a type of single-celled fungi of the class Ascomycetes, capable of processing sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2 ) ; this process is known as fermentation. Fermentation and the products are the main focus points for this experiment being that cellular respiration of yeasts happens via the process of fermentation, which creates by-products of alcohol and CO2. The level of CO2 produced by the yeasts will show how effective each sugar substance is in providing cellular energy for the yeasts.
The name for the process of fermentation comes from ‘fervere’, the Latin word meaning “to boil”. Early observers of the process assigned this name to it because as fermentation occurred in barrels containing crushed grapes, being used to create wine, bubbles were produced making it appear as though the mixture were boiling. Yeasts have been secretly creating alcoholic (fermented) beverages since ancient times in Asia, Egypt, Babylon, and many other early civilizations. However, no one knew what made the process work and what made the creation of such fermented beverages possible. When people think of traditional wine makers, it is not uncommon to picture someone standing in a large bucket mashing up grapes with their feet. These ancient wine makers realized that for some odd reason using their feet made the fermentation process of making the alcoholic drinks work better. It turns out that the wine producers were allowing microorganisms to come off of their feet and enter into the mixture. Those microorganisms are today known as yeast. In the 1600s, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch tradesman, observed the organisms for the first time under microscope lenses, which he developed himself. He was able to observe their structure and shape as well as some other properties. Still, he did not understand that the things he was looking at were alive. Lavoisier, a chemist from France, also interested in the process by which sugar is turned into CO2 and alcohol, started preforming his own experiments with yeasts and through his experiments, formed the conclusion that sugars could be broken down in two separate chemical pathways. One-third of the sugars went through oxidation to form CO2 and two-thirds of the sugars were transformed into alcohol. His experiments were key to the understanding of alcohol production. However, it was not until the late 1800s that Pasteur demonstrated that fermentation occurred without oxygen and that it required living organisms. His definition was that fermentation was...

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