Elevated Temperatures Increase Yeast’s Production of Ethanol

Abigail Shoffner, Audrey Swanson, Sophie Oates, Kate Sander, Meelyn Pandit


The fermentation of yeast and glucose leads to the production of ethanol and carbon dioxide.  The production of ethanol is an important part of today’s brewing industries.  Because this is the case, we wanted to study a way to maximize ethanol production.  We chose to pursue this goal by experimenting with higher temperatures.  We expected to find that the yeast produced the most ethanol at moderately elevated temperatures in comparison to room temperatures because raised temperatures have a positive correlation with reaction rates.  However, we also expected the highest temperature would not lead to increased production of ethanol because extreme temperatures cause stress on the yeast, resulting in death.  We had a control group, a group tested at a moderate temperature, and a group at an extreme temperature. We measured the ethanol present in the chamber throughout a four-minute period.  We found that there was an increase at both the moderate and the extreme temperatures, which did not completely support our hypothesis.  This is most likely due to the short time period of our trials, as the yeast did not have enough time to adjust to the stress of the situation.  


fermentation, ethanol, temperature

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