Friday, June 17, 2011

Ethanol Fermentation

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‘Fermentation refers to any process by which large organic molecules are broken down to simpler molecules as the result of the action of microorganisms’ . The most familiar type of fermentation is the process by which sugars and starches are converted to alcohol by enzymes in yeasts. To distinguish this reaction from other kinds of fermentation, the process is sometimes known as alcoholic or ethanolic fermentation.

Ethanolic fermentation was one of the first chemical reactions observed by humans .

Chemical equation

In ethanol fermentation NADH passes, its hydrogens atoms to acetaldehyde , a compound formed when a carbon dioxide molecule is removed form prruvate by the enzyme pyruvate decarboxylase.

Equation for ethanol fermentation

‘A solution of sucrose, to which yeast is added, is heated. An enzyme, invertase, which is present in yeast is added and this acts as a catalyst to convert the sucrose into glucose and fructose.,

invertase

C1HO11 + HO == C6H1O6 + C6H1O6


Sucrose Glucose Fructose

• The glucose, C6H1O6, and fructose, C6H1O6, formed are then converted into ethanol and carbon dioxide by another enzyme, zymase, which is also present in yeast

zymase

C6H1O6 == CH5OH + CO


Ethanol

The fermentation process takes three days and is carried out at a temperature between 50C and 100C. The ethanol is then obtained by fractional distillation’ .


Ethanol fermentation in yeast

Enzyme are the main cause of fermentation in yeast. Some of these enzymes of yeast act on the starch to break down the long chainlike molecules into smaller units of sugar. The other enzymes break apart the sugar molecule even more further to from carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol. The series of reactions provides the yeast cells with the energy necessary for their growth and division .


Yeats and their importance to humans

The by-products of fermentation -carbon dioxide and alcohol - have been used by humans for centuries in the production of breads and alcoholic beverages.

After the discovery of ethanol fermentation in yeast , it has been used for a number of things . the fermentation of yeast allows brewer’s to brew wine and beer. The natural sugars present in the beer and wine provide food for the yeast. Allowing it to grow and ferment the alcoholic beverages. The lack of oxygen during fermentation , causes yeast to form alcohol as a by- product due to incomplete breakdown of the sugars .’ in wine making , fermentation ends when the concentration of ethanol reaches approx 1%. Ata this point the eyats cells die as result of ethanol accumulation and the product is ready to be consumed as a beverage’

Ethanol is also produced in the baking of bread. Bakers usually uses live yeast cells adding them with the starches present in flour . ‘Small bubbles of carbon dioxide gas cause the bread to rise and the ethanol evaporates when the bread is baked ‘

Yeast is also used in biotechnology today . ‘yeast have been used to aid in the production of alternative energy sources that do not produce toxic chemicals as by-products. Yeast are placed in huge vats of corn or other organic material. When fermentation takes place, the yeast convert the organic material into ethanol fuel.’ Biotechnologists today are trying to create yeasat strains that will convert ‘even larger organic biomasses (living material) into ethanol more efficiently.’

Websites

www.ott.doe.gov/biofuels/pdfs/457.pdf

http//ces.iisc.ernet.in/curscinew/july10/articles14.htm

http//www.bact.wisc.edu/microtextbook/metabolism/Fermentation.html

http//galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/DC/

http//www.biologie.uni-hamburg.de/b-online/e1/11.htm

http//www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/farabee/BIOBK/BioBookGlyc.html

http//www.ucc.ie/ucc/depts/chem/dolchem/html/comp/ethanol.html

http//www.place.dawsoncollege.qc.ca/~rhanna/Ferment.htm


Scientific Journals

- Saskatchewan Business, March-April 2000, vol no , p 5.

- Yeast. UXL Science. UXL, 1998. Reproduced in Discovering

Collection. Farmington Hills, Mich. Gale Group. October, 2001.

- Prepared Foods, Feb 15 v164 n p6(1).

- Medical Laboratory Observer, July 2000 v i6 p7.

- Environmental Science & Technology Sept 11 v5 n p1644()

Books used


Gale Encyclopedia of Science, June 2001

Nelson 1 , pg 11

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