The Chemistry of Life: Fermentation

In the late 1800s, chemists in Europe sought to uncover the chemical basis for alcoholic fermentation in hopes of improving the quantity and quality of beer and wine production. In 1897, the German chemist Eduard Buchner discovered that an extract of yeast cells could be used in vitro (outside a living cell) to convert glucose to carbon dioxide and ethanol under anaerobic conditions. The finding that some yeast proteins could function as chemical catalysts in the fermentation reaction ushered in the modern era of biochemistry.

Copyright WW Norton & Company, Inc., Miesfeld & McEvoy Biochemistry, 2021

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