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Yeast Yeast are a tiny form of fungi or plant-like microorganism (visible
only under a microscope) that exist in or on all living matter i.e.
water, soil, plants, air, etc. A common example of a yeast is the
bloom we can observe on grapes. As a living organism yeast needs
sugars, water and warmth to stay alive. In addition, albumen or
nitrogenous material are also necessary for yeast to thrive.

There are hundreds of different species of yeast identified in nature,
but the genus and species most commonly used for baking is
Saccharomyces cereviae. The scientific name Saccharomyces cerevisiae,
means 'a mold which ferments the sugar in cereal (saccharo-mucus
cerevisiae) to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide'. Yeast needs energy
to survive, and has a number of ways to attain that energy.
Fermentation and respiration are two ways The ultimate reaction of
importance in this process is the an-aerobic conversion of simple
sugars to ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide during alcoholic
fermentation as shown below. Although not shown in the fermentation
reaction, numerous other end products are formed during the course of

Simple Sugar → Ethyl Alcohol + Carbon Dioxide

C6 H12 O6 → 2C H3 CH2 OH + 2CO2

The basic respiration reaction is shown below. The differences
between an-aerobic fermentation and aerobic respiration can be seen in
the end products. Under aerobic conditions, yeasts convert sugars to

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MLA Citation:
"Yeast." 17 Mar 2018
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carbon dioxide, water and cellular mass. (Giorilli & Lauri)

Simple Sugar + Oxygen → Carbon Dioxide + Water

C6 H12 O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O

Examining a yeast cell under a microscope will give a greater
understanding of the composition and nature of yeast. The method for
viewing a sample of yeast under a microscope is to disperse a small
amount of yeast in water, causing the water to be slightly clouded,
and then drop a spot of the liquid onto a glass slide. The drop is
then covered and viewed with a 650 x magnification. The individual
cells will take the general form illustrated in Figure 1.

Aerobic respiration is the key metabolic process of producing cellular
energy in eukaryotic and some prokaryotic cell

In the presence of oxygen, yeast carries on aerobic respiration. With
favourable temperatures, (40—45°C), the cells reproduce rapidly as
long as oxygen and sugar are present. As sugar molecules are broken
down, much ATP energy is released. Carbon dioxide and water are
produced as waste products.

In the absence of oxygen, yeast carries on anaerobic respiration, also
known as fermentation. Less energy is released because sugar is only
partially broken down. The products of yeast fermentation are carbon
dioxide and ethyl alcohol. In bread making, the bubbles of carbon
dioxide produced by fermentation make the dough rise. The ethyl
alcohol evaporates rapidly in the heat of the oven. Ethyl alcohol
produced by fermentation is used in making alcoholic beverages and in
many industrial processes.

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