It Fills Our Stomachs and Grows Our Guts: The Effect of Sugar Type on CO2 Production in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Zechariah Walker, Abbey Mae Wolf, Kira Wicker, kyleigh Brooke Webb, Benjamin Nelson


The bread that covers grocery store shelves and serves as a perfect housing for an afternoon snack would not be quite the same without the contribution of yeast. Among other ingredients in bread dough are two key components: a living, multiplying yeast, and the sugar that it feeds on to release ethanol and carbon dioxide into the bread dough (French 2017). The release of these products of fermentation by the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is of particular interest to the brewing and baking industries. In our experiment, we conducted an investigation on the effects of various sugars on carbon dioxide production over a brief timespan. To guide our research, we questioned how rice sugar, glucose, and sucrose would compare in separate environments. By placing the yeast in identical conditions with the exception of a different type of sugar for each set of trials, we were able to gather data relevant to our question. As the experiment ended, we found that rice sugar allowed for the greatest production of carbon dioxide. This likely resulted from the initiation of fermentation by the glucose molecules in rice sugar followed by the utilization of a more efficient source of sugar in maltose. This is of particular relevance to those in the baking and brewing industries as rice sugar may prove useful in the creation of lighter, more airy breads and smoother ales with a greater efficiency. 

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