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Encyclopedia > Zymology

Zymology is the science of fermentation. It deals with the biochemical processes involved in fermentation, with yeast selection and physiology, and with the practical issues of brewing. Zymology is occasionally known as zymurgy.



Fermentation can be simply defined, in this context, as the conversion of sugar molecules into alcohol and carbon dioxide by yeast enzymes.


French chemist Louis Pasteur was the first zymologist, when in 1857 he connected yeast to fermentation. Pasteur originally defined fermentation as respiration without air.

Pasteur performed careful research and concluded, "...I am of the opinion that alcoholic fermentation never occurs without simultaneous organization, development and multiplication of cells... ...if asked, in what consists the chemical act whereby the sugar is decomposed... ...I am completely ignorant of it...."

The German Eduard Buchner, winner of the 1907 Nobel Prize in chemistry, later determined that fermentation was actually caused by a yeast secretion that he termed zymase.

The research efforts undertaken by the Danish Carlsberg scientists greatly accelerated the gain of knowledge about yeast and brewing. The Carlsberg scientists are generally acknowledged with kick-starting the entire field of molecular biology.


External links

  • The fundamentals of winemaking: zymology (http://www.makewine.com/makewine/yeast1.html)
  • American homebrewers association (http://www.beertown.org/homebrewing/beginning.html)

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