Getting Salty: Effects of Salt on Yeast Fermentation

Shelby Robinson, Noemi Reyes, Kathryn Puckett, Tristen Roach, Sarah Bounds


Fermentation converts sugar to carbon dioxide and ethanol, and is the energy given to yeast used to chemically break down a substance (French 2016). We hypothesized that higher saline concentrations in a yeast solution will lower the ethanol produced in fermentation because salt deactivates the sugar. The experiment included four different salt concentrations added to a baseline solution as we measured the ethanol produced from the reaction using a Vernier ethanol probe. Our results showed that higher saline concentrations yield lower ethanol production. It is likely that the reason saline decreases ethanol production is because alkaline treatments release more glucose, C6H12O6, in the place of ethanol, C2H6O. The results of the experiment support the original hypothesis in that higher saline concentrations produced lower ethanol percentages.

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