Zymology

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Zymology is the study of zymurgy (from the Greek: ζύμωσις+ἔργον, the workings of fermentation), the area of applied science related to fermentation. It deals with the biochemical processes involved in fermentation, with yeast and bacteria selection and physiology, and with the practical issues of fermentation, including brewing, wine making, fermenting milk and other fermented foods. Zymology is also known as zymurgy.

Fermentation[edit]

Fermentation can be simply defined, in this context, as the conversion of sugar molecules into ethanol and carbon dioxide by yeast.


C_6 H_{12} O_6 \Rightarrow 2 CO_2 + 2C_2 H_5 OH

History[edit]

French chemist Louis Pasteur was the first zymologist, when in 1857 he connected yeast to fermentation. Pasteur originally defined fermentation as respiration without air.

Pasteur performed careful research and concluded, "I am of the opinion that alcoholic fermentation never occurs without simultaneous organization, development and multiplication of cells . . .. If asked, in what consists the chemical act whereby the sugar is decomposed . . . I am completely ignorant of it.".

The German Eduard Buchner, winner of the 1907 Nobel Prize in chemistry, later determined that fermentation was actually caused by a yeast secretion that he termed zymase.

The research efforts undertaken by the Danish Carlsberg scientists greatly accelerated the increase in knowledge about yeast and brewing. The Carlsberg scientists are generally acknowledged[by whom?] as jump-starting the entire field of molecular biology.

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