Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Sugar Metabolism with Yeast (Ethanol)

Figure from experiment 10B from Investigating Biology through Inquiry

Introduction

Yeast are able to metabolize some foods, but not others. In order for an organism to make use of a potential source of food, it must be capable of transporting the food into its cells. It must also have the proper enzymes capable of breaking the food’s chemical bonds in a useful way. Sugars are vital to all living organisms. Yeast can metabolize sugar in two ways, aerobically, with the aid of oxygen, or anaerobically, without oxygen. When yeast metabolizes a sugar under anaerobic conditions, ethanol (CH3CH2OH) and carbon dioxide (CO2) gas are produced. An equation for the fermentation of the simple sugar glucose (C6H12O6) is:

Cannot create image: {\text{C}}_{\text{6}}{\text{H}}_{\text{12}}{\text{O}}_{\text{6}} \to {\text{2}}\ {\text{CH}}_{\text{3}}{\text{CH}}_{\text{2}}{\text{OH}} + {\text{2}}\ {\text{CO}}_{\text{2}} + energy

If sugars are readily available, baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) prefers to metabolize glucose and other sugars anaerobically, through fermentation. This is also known as the Crabtree effect. The metabolic activity of yeast can be determined by the measuring the rate of ethanol production using an Ethanol Sensor inside a fermentation vessel. The rate of ethanol production is a direct indicator of the rate of fermentation.

In the Preliminary Activity, you will use an Ethanol Sensor to determine the rate of fermentation of glucose by yeast.

After completing the Preliminary Activity, you will first use reference sources to find out more about sugars, respiration, and yeast. You will then choose and investigate a researchable question dealing with the respiration of sugars by yeast. Some topics to consider in your reference search include the following:

  • sugars
  • carbohydrates
  • monosaccharides
  • disaccharides
  • polysaccharides
  • yeast
  • enzymes
  • metabolism
  • aerobic respiration
  • anaerobic respiration

Objectives

  • Identify variables, design and perform the experiment, collect data, analyze data, draw a conclusion, and formulate a knowledge claim based on evidence from the experiment.
  • Obtain graphic representations of fermentation rate.
  • Determine fermentation rate by yeast while using different sugars.
  • Determine which sugars can be used as a food source by yeast.

Sensors and Equipment

This investigation features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Investigating Biology through Inquiry

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Buffer Investigations
2Diffusion
3Investigating Osmosis
4Chemistry of Membranes
5Investigating Protein
6ATesting Catalase Activity (O2 Gas Sensor)
6BTesting Catalase Activity (Gas Pressure)
6CTesting Enzyme Activity (Spectrometer)
7Introduction to Biofuels: Enzyme Action
8Analysis of Enzymes using Tyrosinase
9Cellular Respiration
10ASugar Metabolism with Yeast (Carbon Dioxide Gas)
10BSugar Metabolism with Yeast (Ethanol)
11Fermentation with Yeast
12Photosynthesis by Chloroplasts
13Transpiration of Plants
14Plant Pigments
15Heart Rate
16Investigating Dissolved Oxygen
17Investigating Primary Productivity
18Modeling Population Dynamics
19Water Monitoring
20Evolution of Cellobiase in Fungi
21Introduction to Molecular Evolution
22Evolution of Yeast

Investigation 10B from Investigating Biology through Inquiry Lab Book

<i>Investigating Biology through Inquiry</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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